The 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference, also called COP26, began at the Scottish Event Campus in Glasgow on October 31. The event brought global leaders together to speed up action towards the goals of the Paris Agreement and the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change.
WHY IS COP26 SIGNIFICANT: COP26 aims at creating an opportunity for parties to evaluate how far they have come in meeting preliminary Paris Agreement emission targets, and to set new aims for the next five-year cycle. The event presents a critical opening to reflect on what has been achieved, and importantly what more needs to be achieved, five years on from the Paris Agreement. The entire world is diligently watching how much of their hope on reducing climate vulnerabilities is being addressed through obligatory actions.
IMMENSE POTENTIAL BUT THREATENED DUE TO CLIMATE CHANGE:
Bangladesh is one of the most vulnerable countries due to climate change. The Ocean and humans are interrelated. No matter where we live, the ocean effects us all. The ocean is used in almost all phases of our daily lives. The ocean delivers food, medicines, and mineral and energy resources. The ocean economy is estimated to be worth USD $24 trillion, and as investors and policymakers increasingly turn to the ocean for new opportunities and resources, this economy has been predicted to be twice in size between 2010 and 2030.
If we utilise blue economy appropriately, it has the potential to contribute around 4 per cent to Bangladesh's GDP. This will have important outcome for the country's economic development in terms of poverty mitigation, ensuring food and nutrition safety, and fighting the impacts of climate change.
The sea is endowed with enormous and valuable natural possessions, living and non-living. Fisheries sector contributed 3.57 per cent to national GDP and 25.30 per cent to the agricultural GDP and 1.5 per cent to foreign exchange earnings by exporting fish and fish products in 2017-18. Fish provides 60 per cent of national animal protein consumption. Fisheries sector also plays a vital role in rural employment generation and poverty alleviation.
CLIMATE CHANGE EFFECTS ON OCEAN ECOSYSTEMS: Climate change's life-threatening effects include increased warming trend, cyclone, sea level rise, droughts, erosion, tidal surge, saline water intrusion, flood, and change in precipitation trend and ocean acidification. These dangerous actions also may cause species migration, coral belching storm surges and beach erosion, altered species life style, disruption in marine food chain. Hence, it is a crucial need to build marine ecosystem's resilience to climate change to get the concentrated benefits from ocean. Moreover Climate Change causes a high risk to the mangrove forests, Screw pine (Pandanus), seaweed, sea-algae, turtle, mollusks, sea fish, and seabirds.
WHAT CAN BE DONE: Sustainable management, preservation and restoration of coastal and marine ecosystems are vital to support the continued provision of carbon sequestration and other ecosystem services on which people depend. There's a lot that we can do to tackle climate change.
⦿ Formulate policies and ensure the application of viable practices in all industries that impact the ocean and coasts, including fisheries and the tourism industry.
⦿ Conduct scientific research. This will help continued monitoring and investigates of the effects of climate change, with the knowledge gained used to design and implement suitable and applicable mitigation and adaptation strategies.
⦿ Ensure obligations of major carbon producing countries to limit carbon emission. Increase climate fund urgently to support climate vulnerable countries.
⦿ Put emphasis on clean, renewable energy from the sun and the wind. Focus on nature-based solutions to tackle the climate crisis by absorbing and storing carbon, or helping people to familiarise with the impacts of climate change.
⦿ Adopt climate smart and resilient initiatives to conserve the ocean and biodiversity. Allocate adequate resources to find sustainable solutions
We can make all kinds of the promises but nothing will happen until we make them happen. Actions must start now. Global leaders must start implementing the measures to meet the targets made in the Paris Agreement.
Asaduzzaman Rassel works as Communications Specialist, USAID/ECOFISH-II Activity, WorldFish Bangladesh.