Experts seek action on disaster, climate change

- POST REPORT, Kathmandu

Nov 11, 2014-

Parliamentarians, civil society leaders, academicians and government officials from Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka have urged leaders participating in the upcoming 18th Saarc Summit to reaffirm their commitments for a coordinated regional response to meet the interdependent challenges of climate change, disasters and food insecurity as delay in implementing the already signed agreements would risk the lives of millions of South Asians.

They were speaking at a two-day Regional Policy Forum on Disasters, Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security which concluded in Kathmandu on Tuesday. The event was organised by Oxfam and its partners.

The regional organisation signed agreements to establish Saarc Food Bank and Seed Bank in 2004, the Thimphu Statement on Climate Change in 2010, Agreement on Rapid Response to Natural Disasters and the Saarc Comprehensive Framework on Disaster Management in 2011.

Experts, however, said the agreements should be implemented and made legally binding. The speakers shared best practices from respective countries but were of the view that the coordination at regional level is somehow weak. “There are enough treaties and agreements in place - it is now time to implement commitments,” said Lillian Mercado, Oxfam deputy regional director.

Dr Atiq Rahman, executive director at the Bangladesh Centre for Advanced Studies, referred to climate change as one of the greatest threats to human rights and termed it an issue of “climate justice”. Addressing the programme, Constituent Assembly Chairman Subas Nembang said, “We need to change our behaviour. Let’s not get to the point of no return.”

Deputy Speaker of the Bangladesh Parliament Advocate Fazle Rabbi Mia made a commitment to raise awareness amongst fellow parliamentarians and other government officials to prioritize regional cooperation on these issues.

Published: 12-11-2014 09:25

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