Takeaways – Shahidul Haque, Bangladesh Foreign Secretary, on Climate Change and Sustainable Development

September 13, 2017   Reading Time: 3 minutes

Reading Time: 3 min read

Three key takeaways from the round table with Mr. Md. Shahidul Haque –

  1. Climate change has resulted in a loss of 400,000 lives per year, and USD one trillion in damage over the last two decades.
  2. Bangladesh has established a National Climate Change Fund of USD 400 million, and spends 1% of its GDP a year on measures to address climate change.
  3. Bangladesh prefers local funding to global financing mechanisms, and hopes to maximise access to affordable, energy-efficient technologies.


  • H.E. Md. Shahidul Haque, Foreign Secretary of Bangladesh, addressed a Foreign Policy Round Table at LKI on “Sustainable Development and Climate Change: Perspectives from Bangladesh” on 29 August 2017.
  • The roundtable was attended by the High Commissioner of Bangladesh and the Ambassadors of Brazil and Thailand; representatives from other diplomatic missions, the Bangladesh Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Prime Minister’s Office, the World Bank, and the UNDP; and representatives of nonprofits and think tanks.
  • The roundtable was moderated by Dr. Dinusha Panditaratne, Executive Director of LKI.

Takeaways from H.E. Md. Shahidul Haque’s Presentation:

Climate Change and Economics

Adaptation and Mitigation in Bangladesh

Embracing a Future of Green Growth

  • In 2007, Bangladesh has formulated a National Implementation Plan to counter climate change, focusing on agriculture, fisheries, livestock, health, climate-resilient infrastructure, disaster management, and biodiversity.
  • Bangladesh’s Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (intended policies and actions to fulfill the aims of the Paris Agreement) are to reduce GHG emissions in power, transport, and industrial sectors conditionally by 15%, and unconditionally by 5% from ‘business as usual’ levels, by 2030.
  • Bangladesh hopes to increasingly incorporate affordable, accessible, energy-efficient technologies into communities. For example, Bangladesh hopes to access the LDC technology bank in Turkey to facilitate technology transfers on voluntary and mutually agreed upon terms.

Key Points from the Round Table Discussion:

Opportunities from Climate Change

  • Bangladesh’s government has begun investing in solar energy.
  • Bangladesh has begun investing in genome sequencing, in order to develop heat-resistant and flood-resilient seeds.
  • A kilogram of rice, which traditionally requires 3500 litres of water, is now being produced with 1800 litres; this will have a significant impact on water management and GDP.

Climate Change Financing in South Asia

  • Bangladesh prefers to work with local NGOs over global financing mechanisms such as the Global Climate Fund.
  • Bangladesh has engaged with The Netherlands on climate-change related development since 1965, and will collaboratively manage its coastal areas under the Bangladesh Delta Plan 2100.
  • Bangladesh hopes to pursue trilateral climate change funding with Nepal and India, given that floods in the three nations occur concomitantly and impact one another.

Climate Change and Migration

  • The relationship between climate change and migration is inadequately addressed in the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.
  • To address this relationship, 109 countries of the Nansen Initiative have adopted an action plan and applied a platform on disaster displacement. The Nansen Initiative is a consultative process led by Norway and Switzerland to address the needs of displaced persons in the context of disasters and the effects of climate change.
  • Bangladesh has proposed addressing external displacement due to environmental factors (earthquakes, floods, climate change etc.) as a migration issue, which the Secretary General should raise in a zero draft at the 72nd session of the UN General Assembly.  

Click here to listen to H.E. Md. Shahidul Haque’s presentation.

Suggested Reading:

Brammer, H. (2014). Bangladesh’s dynamic coastal regions and sea-level rise. Climate Change Management 1:51-62. [Online] Available at: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S221209631300003X?via%3Dihub [Accessed 1 September 2017].

De Zylva, A. (2017). The Paris Agreement on Climate Change and Sri Lanka. Lakshman Kadirgamar Institute. [Online] Available at: https://lki.lk/publication/the-paris-agreement-on-climate-change-and-sri-lanka/ [Accessed 1 September 2017].

Ministry of Environment and Forests. (2015). Intended Nationally Determined Contributions. Government of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh. [Online] Available at: http://www4.unfccc.int/ndcregistry/PublishedDocuments/Bangladesh%20First/INDC_2015_of_Bangladesh.pdf [Accessed 1 September 2017].

Tirpak, D., Brown, L. and Ronquillo-Ballesteros, A. (2017). Monitoring Climate Finance in Developing Countries: Challenges and Next Steps. World Resources Institute. [Online] Available at: http://www.wri.org/sites/default/files/wri13_monitoringclimate_final_web.pdf  [Accessed 1 September 2017].

United Nations Systems Chief Executives Board for Coordination. (2017). United Nations plan of Action on Disaster Risk Reduction for Resilience: Towards a Risk-Informed and Integrated Approach to Sustainable Development. United Nations. [Online] Available at: http://www.preventionweb.net/files/49076_unplanofaction.pdf [Accessed 1 September 2017].

World Bank. (2017). Bangladesh: Building Resilience to Climate Change. The World Bank Group. [Online] Available at:http://www.worldbank.org/en/results/2016/10/07/bangladesh-building-resilience-to-climate-change  [Accessed 1 September 2017].


  • 2017


  • Myra Sivaloganathan


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