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Saber urged dev nations to keep climate pledges

Staff Reporter:

Environment, Forest and Climate Change Minister Saber Hossain Chowdhury yesterday said the world
must act, and commitments of rich nations must be fulfilled to address climate change impacts.
“Climate change is underfunded. Each time there are pledges by developed nations, they remain unful
filled. In Bangladesh, we have plans and locally-led adaptation to engage communities. However, without
funding, our efforts are limited,” he said.
The minister said this while addressing the Climate & Health Finance Dialogue held in Geneva, Switzer
land last night, according to a message received here yesterday.
In the current fiscal, Saber Chowdhury said the government of Bangladesh allocated US$ 3.5 billion for
adaptation, including health. “Our annual requirement is about US$ 9 billion. So, where will the money
come from?” he questioned.
In his speech, titled “Country-driven Climate-Health Actions and Financing Needs,” he underscored the
critical intersection of climate change and public health, emphasising the immediate need for robust,
country-specific actions and financing mechanisms.
The environment minister stressed the importance of global solidarity, pointing out the significant trust
deficit that hampers collective action.
“We cannot trust each other because promises and commitments are always unmet. We cannot allow cli
mate change to worsen. If we continue to pump emissions into the air while discussing adaptation and
resilience, we must recognise that resilience and adaptation have their natural limits. Unless we control
our emissions, we will face even deeper challenges,” he said.
Saber Chowdhury highlighted the immense pressure that climate-induced events, such as heatwaves,
place on health systems, forcing countries like Bangladesh to prioritise between critical issues like cli
mate change, health, education and development.
“Bangladesh faces a spectrum of events. With the Hindu Kush Himalayas to the north and the Bay of
Bengal to the south, we are squeezed between melting glaciers and rising sea levels. Additionally, we
face numerous challenges in between, with many agreements, commitments and pledges,” he explained.
The minister pointed out that the impacts of climate change extend beyond health, affecting water re
sources, nutrition, food security and women’s health. Salinity intrusion, for instance, causes severe health
issues for women, including kidney problems, respiratory issues and hypertension.
“The whole approach to ‘One Health’ – addressing the interconnection of animal, human, and environmen
tal health – is now threatened. It’s a steep challenge, but it is necessary for implementation,” he empha
Saber Hossain Chowdhury detailed Bangladesh’s proactive measures through its new National Adaptation
Plan, which addresses health risks and considers slow-onset events like rising sea levels, salinity intru
sion, melting glaciers, biodiversity loss, and the increasing intensity and frequency of natural disasters.
“We are following our new National Adaptation Plan, addressing health risks.
We must consider slow-onset events, such as rising sea levels, salinity intrusion, melting glaciers, biodi
versity loss, and the increasing intensity and frequency of natural disasters. We need to manage all of
these challenges,” he said.
The minister’s address was a compelling reminder of the urgent need for global action and adequate fi
nancing to combat the intertwined challenges of climate change and public health.

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