Asia is the most vulnerable to climate change. Climate change and climatic variability have impacted all sectors; human health, food production, infrastructure, water and ecosystems. Bangladesh with a population of nearly 150 million is one of the densely populated countries of the world (BBS, 2011).
Barisal Division is located at coastal belt. Several studies indicate that the coastal zone vulnerability would be acute due to the combined effects of climate change, sea level rise, subsidence and changes of upstream discharge, cyclone and coastal embankments (BCAS, RA and Approtech, 1994; WB, 2000). Four key types of primary physical effects i.e. saline water intrusion; drainage congestion; extreme events; and changes in coastal morphology have been identified as key vulnerabilities in the coastal area of Bangladesh (WB, 2000). Considering this situation of Barisal Division, adolescent and young people are mobilized to prevent and respond against these vulnerabilities and raised their voices and formed a network named Youth Net for Climate Justice.
The Youth Net for Climate Justice conference was held on 11-12 February 2017. This conference was held in six venues of Barisal district. This conference aims to engage youth in addressing the impacts of global climate change and extreme weather events. Hosted in Barisal, a disaster-prone coastal area in Bangladesh, the conference provides an opportunity for youth to share their experiences of climate change impacts, vulnerabilities and discuss future actions to address these challenges.
The conference is expected to open up opportunities for youths to learn about the impacts of climate change which are affecting the lives of people. Around 500 youths from schools, colleges and universities and different organizations as well as environmental experts participated in the event.
Office of Barisal Divisional Commissioner, Department of Environment (DoE) and UNICEF jointly organized the program with the theme ‘Youth Action Youth Mindset, Safer Environment Green Planet’.
Jebunnesa Afroz, lawmaker from Barisal-5 constituency, inaugurated the event at Barisal Aswini Kumar Hall. Md. Gaus, Barisal divisional commissioner, presided over the inaugural session while AL lawmaker advocate Talukder Md. Younus attended it as the chief guest. Md. Nazrul Islam, regional director of DoE, AH Toufiq Ahmed, regional chief of UNICEF, was present as the special guest.
In his speech, Barisal divisional commissioner Md Gaus said the country is witnessing cyclones, floods, rise in sea levels and river erosion as a result of the harmful effects of climate change.
This conference aims to engage youth in addressing the impacts of global climate change and extreme weather events. Hosted in Barisal, a disaster-prone coastal area in Bangladesh, the conference provides an opportunity for youth to share their experiences of climate change impacts, vulnerabilities and discuss future actions to address these challenges.
This conference will help to build the capacity of youth networks and other stakeholders on climate change issues. It is also an opportunity to advocate with policy leaders and key stakeholders.
In addition to youth engagement, key themes include the following; saline water intrusion, drainage congestion, extreme events, changes in coastal morphology.