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Climate change, environment and development

AT the UN Millennium Summit held in September 2000, world leaders came together to establish the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), a set of eight objectives, each with their respective targets, to be achieved by the year 2015. These were: eradication of extreme poverty and hunger; obtaining universal basic education; promotion of gender equality and autonomy of woman; reduction of child mortality; improvement of maternal health; fighting AIDS/HIV, malaria and other illnesses; guaranteeing environmental sustainability and establishing a global alliance for development.

The fall of the Berlin Wall, twenty years ago, had already marked the start of a new era of globalization that is gradually shifting global economic power from west to east. But this process has also accelerated the tension between growth and sustainability.

In our country, an urgency to meet the basic needs of the population such as achieving food security, access to electricity, access to water and sanitation, health, education etc. is there but environmental issues are often relegated to second place. Environmental sustainability is often presented as an obstacle to development — as restricting, for example, the development of certain productive activities requiring the use of more expensive technologies and imposing limits on the exploitation of resources. These arguments are also likned to suppose limitations imposed by rich countries in order to perpetuate their domination over countries that seek to develop themselves.

This dichotomy is of course not worthy, as it is simply imprudent to isolate environmental and social issues from development. It is impossible to guarantee the right to healthy life if the air and water are polluted; it is impossible to guarantee food security if the productive lands are degraded or eroded due to unsustainable practices or the use of agro-toxic chemicals; there is no long term productive project if there is not a rational use of the resources available.

A long term perspective is essential if we hope to make real and lasting progress in addressing the challenge of climate change, urbanization and demographic boost.

Science and technology are crucial tools in tackling many problems, including today’s climate challenges. Science helps us to understand where the real problems lie and provides industry with a stream of innovations required to solve them. But the transmission of ideas into solutions is sometimes inadequate and requires support, especially political will. Again, if we convert the challenge into market opportunities, we will create a scientifically dynamic as well as environmentally friendly industrial world. For this some suggestions are contemplated below:
* Provide clear support for difficult but necessary long term initiatives to tackle climate change challenges.
* Work with the public sector to ensure sufficient financing of potentiality viable technology.
* Work more closely with researchers or research organizations to improve the connection between invention and innovation.
* Be transparent about the risks and benefits of technologies.
* Remain analytical and open about the consequences and risks of new technologies
* Make sure performance incentives encourage researchers to spend time in communicating with the public.
* Focus on the gaps in utilizing existing technologies effectively such as smart grids, solar energy and others.
* Preserve a room for basic curiosity driven research
* Improve incentives for young researchers to intensify their exchange with industry
* Provide a clear, ambitious and long term policy framework for targets and regulations.
* Play leading role on behalf on Most Vulnerable Countries (MVCs) in reducing the global carbon footprint.
* Find new ways to co-finance demonstration projects designed to commercialize potentially important technologies
* Engage mass people with the attractive side of shifting to environment friendly and low carbon economy activities.
* Ensure that basic research receives adequate funding so that it can come up with breakthrough innovations.
* Go on with the existing National Adaptation Programme of Action (NAPA) and Bangladesh Climate Change Strategy and Action Plan (BCCSAP) for continuous adaptation and mitigation activities.

We have to think globally, to act nationally. Environment friendly policy and regulations that take into consideration population growth, natural hazards, agriculture, water, and land issues, forestry, fishery, environmental awareness and education as well as climate change issues, technological choices and advances in an integrated approach are the need of the hour to successfully pursu sustainable development bracing the climate change impacts.

Writer Mohammad Mizanur Rahman is a botanist and researcher. E-address:

This article is quoted from The Daily Star, Bangladesh. The original article was published on 2010.03.14.

This article is uploaded by Majbritt Thomsen, administrator on ‘Views On Tourism’.

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Posted in Bangladesh, Best practice, Cooperation and network, Development, Performance and management, Policy, Sustainability.

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