Former UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon branded Bangladesh as the “best teacher” in climate adaptation noting that what the people and government of Bangladesh have achieved in the practice of adaptation is nothing short of miraculous.

Report By Humayun Kabir, From Bangladesh.

“Let’s all be inspired by the examples Bangladesh government and its people have shown in addressing climate change,” Former UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said thanking the Bangladesh leadership for wisely and effectively adapting to this climate change.

He made the remarks while addressing the inaugural session of the ‘Dhaka Meeting of the Global Commission on Adaptation’ at Hotel Intercontinental.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina inaugurated the event. Marshall Island President Dr Hilda Heine, World Bank CEO and Global Commission on Adaptation (GCA) co-chair Dr Kristaline Georgieva, Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen and Environment, Forests and Climate Change Minister Md Shahab Uddin also spoke.

Highly appreciating Bangladesh’s efforts, Ban Ki-moon said they are in Dhaka to learn from Bangladesh’s experiences and vision and send the message out across the world.

Bangladesh is thus the best teacher to learn from about adaptation,” said Ban Ki-moon, the current of the Commission.Bangladesh is one of the most vulnerable countries due to climate change.

Citing reports, Ban Ki-moon said some 17 percent of Bangladesh will go under water by 2050 if sea levels rise by just one metre.“We’ll work together (globally) to accelerate climate change adaptation around the world,” he said appreciating the political will and leadership shown in Bangladesh.

Ban Ki-moon said he had a very good discussion with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina before the inaugural session of the meeting. “We would like to establish an adaptation centre in Dhaka.”He mentioned that he was in China 10 days ago where they established an adaptation centre in Beijing.

Another reason to hold this meeting in Dhaka, he said, is to speed up action on adaptation.“Communities all over the world need help. There’re many countries who are just as vulnerable as Bangladesh, but which have not the ability to build resilience on their own,” Ban Ki-moon said.

He also cited Bangladesh’s long-term plan for the resilience of the delta, Delta Plan 2100, with the help of Netherlands. “We need to share this adaptation practices. We can urgently and cost-effectively find ways to support communities affected by climate change. We can help them survive and thrive. Adaption is a smart investment.”Ban Ki-moon said the climate change is approaching much faster than one may think of and there is no time to lose.

He said the Commission will publish its flagship report noting that the report will be a different, action-oriented. “I can assure you that.”Ban Ki-moon mentioned the 1970s when a cyclone killed half a million people. “Now you’ve effective adaptation system. You can save property and human lives. This is adaptation in action. This is why we’re here to learn from you and send message far and wide from Dhaka,” Ban Ki-moon said.

He mentioned that there were only 12 fatalities during Cyclone Fani in Bangladesh. “Thanks to the more accurate weather forecasting, community-based early warning system and cyclone centres — 1.6 million people were moved to safety…”

In 2009, Bangladesh became the first country in the world to create national adaptation programme of action.The Dhaka Meeting will prepare a set of recommendations on climate change adaptation for the UN.Climate change is the defining issue of time and now is the defining moment to do something about it, according to UN.There is still time to tackle climate change, but it will require an unprecedented effort from all sectors of society, it says.

To boost ambition and accelerate actions to implement the Paris Agreement on Climate Change, UN Secretary-General António Guterres will host the 2019 Climate Action Summit on September 23 to meet the climate challenge.The Summit will showcase a leap in collective national political ambition and demonstrate massive movements in the real economy in support of the agenda.

Together, these developments will send strong market and political signals and inject momentum in the “race to the top” among countries, companies, cities and civil society that is needed to achieve the objectives of the Paris Agreement and the Sustainable Development Goals, according to the UN.

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