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International Parliamentary Meeting on climate change commences in Dhaka / Delegates call for concrete exploits towards reversing negative climate effects

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ARUSHA, Tanzania, March 14, 2012/African Press Organization (APO)/ -- The International Meeting of Parliamentarians on Climate Change opened in Dhaka, Bangladesh today, with a call for concerted efforts towards formulating global responses to the effects of climate change.

The three-day convention dubbed 'the International Meeting of Parliamentarians on Climate Change: Durban and Beyond' was opened by the Prime Minister of the People's Republic of Bangladesh, H.E. (Ms) Sheikh Hasina. In her remarks, the Prime Minister termed as vital the need to institute concrete mechanisms for transfer of green technology to developing countries for mitigation against climate change.

The Prime Minister termed the challenges occasioned by global warming and other climate change effects as real and an existential threat to humanity.

'Analysts in Bangladesh indicate that a mere rise by a meter in sea level, would submerge a fifth of the land mass in the country displacing about 20 million people. It would lead to mass movement to the cities causing developmental and security problems. The same challenges if not more, seem true for the various countries and regions represented here today', the PM noted.

'The time is therefore, ripe to discuss creation of appropriate frameworks to address needs of the populations', she added.

The Prime Minister urged Parliamentarians to take into consideration the concerns and needs of the vulnerable groups in policy making and planning.

'I am confident that as people's representatives, we shall not be found wanting when it comes to protecting the people whom we represent and securing the future of humanity and our planet”, she said.

In this regard, Rt. Hon Hasina called on the global community to sustain all efforts including fundraising to make the Global Climate Fund operational during the next seventeen year period (2013-2030) deemed as a phase likely to witness the gravest effects of climate change ever.

Over 30 participants from Asia and Pacific, Africa, the Americas and Europe are in attendance. EALA is represented by the Speaker, Rt. Hon Abdirahin Abdi. In attendance also is the EALA Senior Public Relations Officer, Bobi Odiko. Hon Hamad Mohammed, MP, Zanzibar House of Representatives is representing the United Republic of Tanzania while Hon Alex Bakunda Byarugaba and Hon Ssali Baker are representing the Parliament of Uganda.

The Bangladesh Premier urged delegates to put equal emphasis in their national and regional agenda by ensuring social development and economic prosperity spur without compromising the environmental integrity and called for Public-Private Partnerships (PPP) in the areas of financing, technology and capacity development support.

Rt. Hon Hasina further emphasized the need for sustainable development and gravity towards instituting green development that is in tandem with poverty eradication efforts.

'As for Bangladesh, we shall always act responsibly on greenhouse gas emission and make our voluntary contribution. Irrespective of our development needs, we shall remain within the per capita emissions of the development countries', she remarked.

Former United States Vice President and Nobel Peace Prize winner, Al Gore hailed the Least Developed Countries (LDCs) for their efforts towards reversing the effects of climate change.

'Climate change is a reality with the sea levels rising, food supplies threatened and storms intense. However, let me laud the heroic efforts taken by nations to reverse the trend', the former VP said in a video message relayed to the participants.

Delegate after another at the meeting termed climate change a global phenomenon with impacts often felt at local and specific contexts and reiterated the essence for solutions at all levels.

In his presentation, Hon Alex Byarugaba, MP from Uganda, termed knowledge an essential and critical factor in reversing the largely negative impacts of climate change. He noted that the EAC region was now realizing an increase in temperatures across board, melting of glaciers on Mt. Ruwenzori and Mt. Kilimanjaro among others and changes in weather intensity and frequency, including droughts, heat waves, floods and landslides.

'We are at crossroads with regards to climate change and as Parliamentarians, we must enhance our roles – that of influencing and convincing the populations, legislation and oversight to prevent any further distresses, Hon Byarugaba remarked.

The meeting 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 thus presents an occasion to identify issues for Parliamentarians to advocate with their governments in preparation for the RIO +20 conference.

According to the organizers, the meeting 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.

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).