Spotlight: Bangladeshi experts eye greater role for APEC in combating climate change, food security

Source: Xinhua| 2017-11-03 22:53:41|Editor: Mu Xuequan
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by Naim-Ul-Karim

DHAKA, Nov. 3 (Xinhua) -- The Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) should make more positive contributions in combating climate change and food security specially this year as the focus of the current U.S. administration is shifting, Bangladesh environmental watchers have noted.

They stressed that 21 APEC economies, which account for approximately 60 percent of world energy consumption, should display more leadership dynamism in solving a series of climate change induced challenges facing the world.

Dhaka University's Dean of the Faculty of Earth and Environmental Sciences ASM Maksud Kamal told Xinhua that APEC is a very strong platform to deal with issues like climate change and food security in a changing world.

The Disaster Science and Management professor said hydrometeorological disasters have caused frequent and increasing losses in recent years.

Against this backdrop, developing countries like Bangladesh need enough resources and green technologies for adaptation and mitigation of climate change.

Kamal said climate-induced calamities will inflict far more suffering on poor people in countries vulnerable to floods, drought and diseases because of their feeble resilience to address climate change impacts.

The professor expected climate change and food security will be on the agenda for the coming 2017 APEC Economic Leaders' Week in Vietnam.

Running on Nov. 6-11 in Da Nang, the Economic Leaders' Week is the culmination of Vietnam's year-long hosting of APEC meetings.

Qumrul Islam Chowdhury, chairman of the Forum of Environment Journalist Bangladesh (FEJB), expressed the hope that APEC now can play a role to address climate change and food security concerns.

"It is true that countries like Bangladesh which are climate vulnerable need more resources for the mitigation and adaptation measures," he said.

Chowdhury said climate change is posing a serious threat to agriculture in Bangladesh and elsewhere.

Therefore, he said, food security is equally important for the countries which are regularly stricken by annual flooding, shortage of water during dry seasons, cyclones, storm surges, along with changing groundwater aquifer situations.

Given the current U.S. administration's policy on climate change, APEC can do many things on climate change, Muhammad Mahmood, former head of the School of Economics and Finance of Victoria University of Bangladesh, told Xinhua.

MS Siddiqui, a professor at Dhaka's Daffodil International University, said the APEC region's natural resources are under stress from over-consumption, land and marine habitat degradation, fresh water scarcity and loss of biodiversity.

"APEC members need to share best practice and experience in promoting sustainable rural-urban development. The Action Plan on Rural-Urban Development to Strengthen Food Security and Quality Growth is a positive step to achieve food security and address the impact of climate change," Siddiqui said.

The experts highly appreciated China for calling on APEC members during the Lima summit last year to boost sustainable, inclusive, green and interconnected development, saying it is high time for China to play its role in injecting new impetus into the Asia-Pacific and global economic growth.

Munshi Faiz Ahmad, chairman of the Bangladesh Institute of International and Strategic Studies, told Xinhua that the Lima summit was exposition of China's greatness and commitment to its responsibility to stand by the less affluent section of the society all around the world.

The implementation of the proposal made by China in Peru will usher in a new era for further economic boom of countries like Bangladesh.

He said all the major parties must continue their efforts for a new kind of economic globalization to ensure equity and justice and steer it toward a more inclusive and mutually beneficial direction.

He said such economic globalization will immensely help achieve UN Sustainable Development Goals to end poverty, fight inequality and injustice, and tackle climate change and ensure food security for all.

APEC which promotes free trade throughout the Asia-Pacific region was established in 1989 in response to the growing interdependence of Asia-Pacific economies and the advent of regional trade blocs in other parts of the world.