Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has said the Climate Vulnerable Forum (CVF) emerged as a legitimate voice for most climate-affected countries under Bangladesh's presidency, hoping it would continue to push developed countries to deliver their commitments under the Paris Agreement.
"The CVF is now a significant presence in the international climate setting. It has emerged as the legitimate voice for countries most affected by climate change (under Bangladesh's presidency. The rise in CVF membership is proof of that," she said.
The prime minister was addressing virtually the handing over ceremony of the CVF Presidency this evening from her official Ganabhaban residence here. At the function, she formally handed over the CVF Presidency from Bangladesh to Ghana.
President of Ghana Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, Bangladesh Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen, Minister of Environment, Forest and Climate Change Md. Shahab Uddin, Foreign Minister of Ghana Shirley Ayorkor Botchway, Chair of the Global Commission on Adaptation Ban-Ki Moon also addressed the event virtually.
Thematic Ambassador of the CVF and Chairperson of the Bangladesh National Advisory Committee for Autism and Neurodevelopmental Disorders Saima Wazed delivered a video message at the ceremony.
Prime Minister's Special Envoy to focus on CVF Priorities Abul Kalam Azad presented the CVF Presidency Report through PowerPoint.
Sheikh Hasina said, "I believe our Presidency's most important legacy will be to shift the narrative from climate vulnerability to resilience and prosperity."
In Bangladesh, she said that they are developing the "Mujib Climate Prosperity Plan", adding, "We believe it can provide a template for other vulnerable countries in their context."
She also mentioned that 1.5 billion people in CVF member countries are faced with climate emergencies.
"Despite the ongoing geopolitical tension, we cannot allow the world to take away its attention from the looming climate crisis. The developed countries must deliver on their commitments on financing and technology under the Paris Agreement," she said.
Under Ghana's leadership, "We shall continue to press for our unmet demands with CVF's trademark moral force and reasoned arguments", she said.
The prime minister said it is with great pleasure Bangladesh passes on the CVF Presidency to Ghana.
"I thank President Nana Akufo-Addo for his kind presence on this occasion. I wish the Ghana Presidency all success!" she said.
She also mentioned taking over the CVF presidency of Bangladesh in 2020 for the second time.
The prime minister said, "We managed to steer the Forum's work through the COVID-19 pandemic. We feel relieved that we could achieve most of our objectives and more. From the outset, our Presidency remained focused on COP26 outcomes."
Despite the pandemic, the CVF under Bangladesh's presidency held the world's attention to the climate crisis and launched the Midnight Survival Deadline for countries to raise their climate ambitions, she stated.
"We urged them to submit their NDCs by 31 December 2020. Some 70 nations responded to our call. We also created the CVF-V20 Joint Multi-Donor Fund to support members in their climate action. Bangladesh and Marshall Islands provided the seed funding," she said.
In 2021, she said they held the Climate Vulnerable Finance Summit which pressed for a Delivery Plan for the 100 billion US dollar climate finance in the next five years.
"We got it realised in Glasgow," she said, adding that the Dhaka-Glasgow Declaration is a summary of CVF's core demands and commitments.
The prime minister said, "We renewed our call for high-emitting countries to keep the 1.5°C (Celsius) pledge alive and raise their climate ambitions annually. We secured a commitment for increased adaptation financing and international dialogue on loss and damage."
She said they are proud of the work done by the CVF's five Thematic Ambassadors appointed during Bangladesh's term.
The premier said, "We have high hopes from the mandate-holder for climate change and human rights. We shall maintain our advocacy for displacement and migration caused by climate change. The CVF-V20 Parliamentary Group has a critical role to play in building public opinion for climate action."
She expressed her confidence that CVF leadership will be in steady hands under President Akufo-Addo's watch and as a member of the Troika, Bangladesh will continue to extend all necessary cooperation to Ghana.
The prime minister fondly recalled her engagements with the late Kofi Annan, former UN Secretary-General, saying, "I am sure he would have been happy to see this connection through the CVF between Bangladesh and Ghana."
She said, "We are extremely grateful to the CVF and GCA Secretariats for their tireless work during our Presidency. We acknowledge the trust reposed on us by our Troika members, Ethiopia and the Marshall Islands. We owe it to the COP26 Presidency for giving sufficient space to CVF."
The prime minister also appreciated the role played by his cabinet colleagues and their respective ministries.
"I also recognise the support given by some of our Members of Parliament and academic experts. I thank in particular my CVF Special Envoy for a job well done," she said.