HPM Sheikh Hasina seeks bold steps towards climate change crisis


Published on September 21, 2021
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Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has sought global leaders' bolder steps over the climate change crisis amid speculations about particularly US pledges towards the issue in the 76th UN General Assembly (UNGA) debate.

In a closed-door meeting of world leaders ahead of the weeklong UNGA debate, the Bangladesh premier renewed her call for strict implementation of the Paris Agreement to keep the global temperature rise below 1.5 degrees Celsius.

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson hosted the meeting jointly with UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres in New York on Monday (New York local time).

Sheikh Hasina reminded the advanced nations that despite having slightest contribution to global green house gas emissions, Bangladesh and other climate vulnerable countries were exposed to its worst wraths as she asked their leaders to address the issue with enhanced financing to save the planet.

Johnson as well urged them to pledge more money towards supporting developing nations move away from fossil fuels, particularly pointing to the United States, saying getting a commitment from President Joe Biden would "make a huge difference".

The UK premier acknowledged the vulnerable countries concerns but said the world would have to wait to hear from Biden about whether the US would pay its fair share in climate finance especially to protect the climate vulnerable and undeveloped nations to face the crisis.

"We heard some promising commitments from our friends in Sweden, Denmark, Italy, and others in the EU . . . but the United States is crucially important," the UK premier told newsmen emerging from the meeting.

He added: "We've all heard lots of pledges, lots of positive noises. Let's see where we get to. We're not counting our chickens."

Biden did not attend the global leaders' closed-door meeting on climate change though his climate envoy John Kerry was in attendance while the US president is expected to address the UNGA on Tuesday.

More than a decade ago in the 2015, Paris Agreement leaders from the developed world agreed to start transferring US$100 billion to the Global South every year by 2020.

But the goal was missed while the US was particularly criticized for failing to transfer any money under the Trump administration.

The climate crisis is expected to largely dominate the UNGA general debate this week alongside the COVID and Afghanistan's future.

The United Nations earlier this week said the 76th UNGA as a potential pivot point to address the climate issue and the COVID-19 pandemic.

"The choices we make will either secure human, economic and environmental health for generations to come, or reinforce old patterns that are destroying nature and driving societal division," read the official overview of the week's agenda.

The UN General Assembly hosts a much-watched debate of world leaders each year but for the first time in the assembly's seventy-five-year history, leaders of member states did not gather in person due to the coronavirus pandemic last year.

Many of them were joining it through the virtual platform this year as well in the session of the main UN policy-making organ with 193 member states having an equal vote.

More than 100 world leaders, however, are heading to New York for the annual high-level United Nations gathering and meetings on the UNGA sidelines.

The UNGA also appoints the UN Secretary-General on the recommendation of the Security Council, elects the non-permanent members of the Security Council and approves the UN budget while the assembly meets in regular sessions from September to December each year, and thereafter as required.

It discusses specific issues through dedicated agenda items or sub-items, which lead to the adoption of resolutions.