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Bangladesh to host global parliamentary conference on climate change / EALA Speaker in attendance

By East African Community (EAC)

ARUSHA, Tanzania, March 12, 2012/African Press Organization (APO)/ -- The global state of climate change comes into scrutiny next week in Dhaka, Bangladesh at a conference called by Parliamentarians to review its significant consequences.

The conference dubbed 'Meeting of Parliamentarians of Countries Most Vulnerable to Climate Change: Durban and Beyond', takes place on March 14-16, 2012. The conference is organized by the Parliament of Bangladesh and the Standing Committee of the Ministry of Environment and Forests in Bangladesh in conjunction with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

The Conference is to be opened by the Prime Minister of Bangladesh, H.E. Ms. Sheikh Hasina. Members of Parliaments from 30 countries in Asia and Pacific, Africa, America and Europe are expected to be in attendance.

The Speaker of the East African Legislative Assembly, Rt. Hon Abdirahin Abdi is expected to participate in the conference and to moderate a session on the role of Parliamentarians in influencing regional and international agenda. Other key guests on the programme include Hon. Abdelwahad Radi, President of the Inter-Parliamentary Union, the Secretary General of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association, Dr. William Ferdinand Shija and the Speaker of Bangladesh Md. Abdul Hamid.

The conference which takes place against a background of harsh climatic conditions occasioned by effects of global warming, follows the Durban Conference of Parties (COP 17) held in December last year.

It shall among other areas, discuss the concepts of climate change and political impact and implications for Parliamentarians. At the same time, the Bangladesh meeting sets the pace for the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (RIO +20) scheduled to take place in June 2012 which lays emphasis on green economy in the context of sustainable development and poverty eradication. The Dhaka meeting will thus present an occasion to identify issues for Parliamentarians to advocate with their governments in preparation for the RIO +20 conference.

According to the organizers, the conference hopes to create a platform for Parliamentarians of the most vulnerable nations, in order to form and articulate a collective voice and agenda for climate change mitigation/adaptation strategy and disaster risk reduction, nationally, regionally and internationally.

Climate change is a cross-cutting issue, affecting not only the environment but society, food supply, socioeconomics, natural resources and disaster risk reduction efforts.

The effects of climate change are most severely manifested through the increase in frequency and intensity of natural disasters, the exposure of new areas to climate-induced disasters and the failure of indigenous knowledge to cope with these emerging scenarios. As such, lawmakers in all vulnerable nations find these issues highly relevant to the climate change discussion.

The three day conference is expected to take an integral approach and will analyse links between climate change, global peace, sustainable development and achievement of Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

The EAC region is already critically focusing on climate change. The Community is in the process of implementing three policy documents approved by the EAC Heads of State Summit in April 2011 namely; the EAC Climate Policy (2011); the EAC Food Security Action Plan (2011-2015) and the Heads of States Summit Declaration on Food Security and Climate Change.

The EAC only recently considered the outcomes of the COP17 during the Extra-Ordinary Meeting of the Sectoral Council on Environment and Natural Resources that was held on February 1-3, 2012 in Arusha.