Experts for a new protocol on climate refugees, UN-WHS on May 23 in Turkey

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Dhaka, May 9, (Anisur Rahman Khan): Around 20 million people will become refugees by 2050 in Bangladesh as a result of climate change. Local experts have urged the government to place the issue before the UN World Humanitarian Summit (WHS) in right earnest.

As Bangladesh would be one of the countries that will be hit the worst due to global climate change, it must strongly raise its voice on the issues of climate-induced displacement and humanitarian perspectives in the international arena, the experts said while talking to themorningbellbd.com on Monday.

 The two-day UN World Humanitarian Summit (WHS) will be held from May 23 to 24 in Istanbul, Turkey.

Ministers for disaster management and relief of around 140 countries are expected to attend the summit. The summit will primarily focus on how to solve climate-induced displacements on humanitarian grounds.

Led by disaster management and relief minister Mofazzal Hossain Chowdhury, a five-member delegation, including the foreign secretary, is expected to attend the summit.

“The government has to adopt an agenda for the Istanbul summit. We have demanded that the government place the agenda for a new UN protocol for climate-induced displacement before the summit,” Rezaul Karim Chowdhury, executive director of Coastal Association for Social Transformation Trust (COAST), told this correspondent.

Quoting the International Panel of Climate Change (IPCC) and other study reports, Chowdhury said the number of climate-forced migrants has been increasing, and would be around 200 million by 2050 in low-lying developing and island countries across the world. Of these, 20 million people would be from Bangladesh.

Developed countries are responsible for high carbon emissions and they must assume the responsibilities of climate-induced displacements, he added.

According to the United Nations secretary general’s report, titled ‘One Humanity: Shared Responsibility’ (February 2016), it has set five core responsibilities—(i) creating political leadership to prevent and end conflicts, (ii) upholding the norms that safeguard humanity, (iii) leaving no one behind, (iv) changing people’s lives—from delivering aid to ending need, (v) and investing in humanity.

In Section 88, it has been clearly mentioned that it is necessary to prepare for cross-border displacements owing to disaster and climate change. At WHS Istanbul, there will be a high-level roundtable related to this, with the title of ‘Natural disasters and climate change’.

Commitments of political leaders, including civil societies, both in developed and developing countries, are required, emphasised Chowdhury. “As it is a matter of human displacement, where humanity is a casualty and global harmony is at great risk, we must find out ways to resolve the problem on a sustainable basis. We need to invest in humanity,” he said.

Palli Karma-Sahayak Foundation (PKSF) chairman Dr Qazi Kholliquzaman said Bangladesh has the capacity to solve the problem on its own, but it has to continuously raise the issue at the international level.

“The government delegation will place the issue of climate-induced displacement before the WHS summit, as Bangladesh is hardly responsible for the impacts of climate change,” Shah Kamal, secretary of the disaster management and relief ministry, told this correspondent.

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