Statement from the Foreign Minister of Bangladesh A. K. Abdul Momen for the BCSC 2020

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"Good afternoon. At the offset, I on behalf of my government, the government of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh, thank the organisers of the Berlin Climate and Security Conference 2020. This is a very special year due to the Covid-19 pandemic, and we cannot physically get together to meet, greet and to listen to each other in an auditorium.

Excellencies, we observe that the Covid-19, or Corona pandemic, was not selective of any race, colour, group, rich or poor nations. The mighty powers and sophisticated weapons of the developed countries could not help saving lives. This pandemic is an eye-opener for all of us to review and reflect that, if global warming goes up above 1.5 ºC, then it’s not only Bangladesh, Maldives or Kiribati that will suffer. Its claws may inundate the financial harbour Boston, the learning centres of Harvard or MIT, and the resorts of Florida – many cities and towns that we are so proud of may not exist at all for our future generations.

Excellencies, in times of climate change, Bangladesh is one of the most vulnerable countries in the world, and in terms of security risks, it tops the list. The reason is, if there is one meter rise of the sea level due to inappropriate use of resources, nearly one fifth of the country will go under water, displacing nearly 30-40 million people.

Already, due to erratic climatic change and river erosion, thousands of people are being uprooted from their sweet homes, from their traditional jobs, and crowding into the towns and cities creating slums. When millions will be uprooted, it will surely create security risks – not only for Bangladesh, but also for the region and the world. Naturally, to avoid such security risks, it is imperative to put focus on mitigation, adaptation, laws and, of course, on climate migrants and displaced people due to climatic changes.

Let me share one story: A few years ago, 16 attorney generals of the US filed a case against cigarette companies stating that, due to cigarettes, the hospitals bills of the [United] States have gone up due to cancer. Therefore these manufacturers must pay for their increased costs. The federal US court judges gave the verdict in favour of the attorney generals. Following this, should it not be the responsibility of the countries that are responsible for global warming to help rehabilitate and reintegrate these displaced people in their development process?

Excellencies, currently Bangladesh is the president of the CVF, a forum of 48 climate-vulnerable countries of the world. The climate issue is not totally a development issue, not totally is it a security issue, it is an existential issue, and this needs to be handled and managed by proactive cooperation and partnerships of all countries. We must follow through with the Paris Agreement. We must implement it for the global security, stability and, of course, for the welfare of the people of this planet Earth. May I therefore appeal to you: we must work together, in collaboration and in partnership, to save this planet Earth from destruction. We must work together to ensure security and peace across nations.

The UN Security Council cannot debate this issue any longer. Let them take bold decisions in consultations with relevant stakeholders for a better world. May I remind that evading this issue for a longer period by the UN Security Council is likely to increase the potential of serious security and stability problems for many countries and the world. Therefore, they must rise to the occasion and help implement the Paris Agreement and arrange the necessary resources to face the challenges of climate change.

I thank you all, God bless the planet and the humankind."
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