Women in Coast suffer for Climate Change: Climate Adaptation Projects Ignored Women’s Vulnerability – Green Groups in Press Conference

Khulna, 18 June 2012
Vulnerable women of coastal zone are ignored in the approved 83 projects under Climate Change Trust Fund (BCCTF) although the Climate Change Strategy and Action Plan (BCCTF) highly emphasized on gender and women vulnerabilities. So far, only one project has been taken in only Bhola districts which focus on women and children’s risks. As the women are severely victimized by impacts of climate change, major efforts should be given on them.

The speakers said it today in a press conference jointly organized by CLEAN (Coastal Livelihood and Environmental Action Network), Participatory Research and Action Network (PRAN) and Population Action International at Hotel Royal International, Khulna. CLEAN chief executive Hasan Mehedi presented the written speech before the journalists from print and electronic media. Environmental economist Professor Anowarul Quadir, civic leader Advocate Firoz Ahmed, senior Information Officer M. Zaved Iqbal and journalist Gouranga Nandy addressed the journalists among others. 

Women in the coastal zone of Bangladesh are highly affected by climate change. They are in 14 times more risk than the male counterpart, said Mr. Mehedi in his written speech. The women have to walk more than 10-12 kilometers for collecting potable water for their families. Sometimes they are subjected to sexual harassment during water collection, said Gouranga Nandy. Professor Anowarul Quadir said that the women can be affected by several reproductive diseases by taking saline water and working hard during conceive period. He said, food grain production is likely to decrease and women will be the first victim of food and nutrition shortage whereas the women are the inventor of local adaptation technologies in Bangladesh. 
Civic leader Advocate Firoz Ahmed said, the projects can be implemented smoothly by involving women as participant who are entitled to the service delivery. He asked the journalists to highlight the problems of women in the coastal zone so that the Government can realize the situation and incorporate the issues in the adaptation plan. He said, adaptation programmes cannot be successful without involving women in them because women are the main force in rural areas of Bangladesh.
In the written speech, the green groups raised 7 point demands including:
  • Clearly defining the vulnerabilities of women due to climate change
  • Approving projects on gender and reproductive health under Bangladesh Climate Change Trust Fund (BCCTF)
  • Reviewing ongoing projects and incorporate gender and reproductive health by redesigning implementation process
  • Establishing a monitoring system for each and every adaptation projects to ensure proper gender mainstreaming
  • Giving priority to the women-headed family, divorcee, widow and women abandoned by husband in climate adaptation projects
  • Development of a set of indicator to assess the climate adaptation projects from gender-aspects, and
  • Launch population control and reproductive health service program under climate adaptation plans.
Amal Saha of daily Janakantha, Quazi Amanullah of daily Star, Abu Tayeb of NTV, Mallick Sudhangsu of daily Sakaler Khabor, HM Alauddin of daily Purbanchal, Hedait Hossain of daily Jugantor, Kamal Hossain of daily Spandan, Harun-Or-Rashid of daily Anirban, Ehteshamul Huq Shaon of daily Amar Desh, Debnath Ranjit Kumar of daily dakkhinanchal, Abul Hasan Himaloy of daily Samakal, Ahmed Musa Ranju of daily Somoyer Khobor, Mahbubur Rahman Munna of Banglanews.24.com, Shariful Islam Salim and Nasim Rahman Kiron of Humanitywatch was present in the press conference among others.

Video Message from Bangladesh to COP-22

During UNFCCC’s 22nd Conference of Parties (COP-22) in Marrakesh, Morocco, Coastal Livelihood and Environmental Action Network (CLEAN) along with Oxfam in Bangladesh and Campaign for Sustainable Rural Livelihoods (CSRL) organized a video message campaign to the COP-22 leaders demanding Climate Justice for women farmers and the most vulnerable countries like Bangladesh. Here are some of the video messages.
1. Member of Parliament Alhajj Mizanur Rahman Mizan
 
Member of Parliament from Khulna-2 constituency Alhajj Mizanur Rahman Mizan said, as the people of coastal Bangladesh are the most severe victims of climate change, we are entitled to receive only compensation from the developed countries, not loan. Our prime minister raised the issues in UN and Bangladesh Parliament several times. We want to build resilience of the vulnerable people by using those reparation funds. He also demanded not to include loan providing institutions in climate finance.
2. Environmental Economist Professor Anowarul Quadir

খুলনায় জলবায়ু পদযাত্রা, আন্তর্জাতিক জলবায়ু আদালত গঠনের দাবি

Narailkantha.com
নভেম্বর ২৭, ২০১৫
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নড়াইল কণ্ঠ ডেস্ক : উন্নত বিশ্বকে আইনগতভাবে গ্রীনহাউজ গ্যাস নির্গমনে বাধ্য করার জন্য স্বাধীন আন্তর্জাতিক জলবায়ু আদালত গঠনের দাবি জানিয়েছে পরিবেশবাদী সংগঠনসমূহ। শুক্রবার (২৭ নভেম্বর) খুলনা পিকচার প্যালেস মোড়ে সামনে জলবায়ু পদযাত্রা শেষে আয়োজিত সমাবেশে বক্তারা এ দাবি তোলেন। ফ্রান্সের রাজধানী প্যারিসে অনুষ্ঠিতব্য আসন্ন জলবায়ু সম্মেলনে ন্যায্য ও আইনগতভাবে কার্যকর চুক্তির দাবিতে উপকূলীয় জীবনযাত্রা ও পরিবেশ কর্মজোট (ক্লিন), গান্ধী আশ্রম ট্রাস্ট, নোয়াখালী রুরাল ডেভেলপমেন্ট সোসাইটি (এনআরডিএস), পার্টিসিপেটরি রিসার্চ অ্যান্ড অ্যাকশন নেটওয়ার্ক (প্রান), প্রান্তজন ও গ্লোবাল কল টু অ্যাকশন এগেইনস্ট পোভার্টি (জিক্যাপ)-এর যৌথ উদ্যোগে উপকূলীয় অঞ্চলব্যাপী এ পদযাত্রার আয়োজন করে।

ক্লিন-এর প্রধান নির্বাহী হাসান মেহেদীর সভাপতিত্বে অনুষ্ঠিত সমাবেশে বক্তব্য রাখেন পরিবর্তন-খুলনার নির্বাহী পরিচালক নাজমুল আযম ডেভিড, বাংলাদেশ মানবাধিকার ইউনিটির সভাপতি শেখ আব্দুল হালিম, জন উদ্যোগের সদস্য সচিব মহেন্দ্রনাথ সেন, ছায়াবৃক্ষের মাহবুব আলম বাদশা, ক্লিন-এর আকবর হোসেন ঋদ্ধ, সূবর্ণা ইসলাম দিশা, রাজিবুল ইসলাম, মাঈনুল ইসলাম সাকিব প্রমূখ।

সমাবেশে বক্তারা বলেন, শিল্পোন্নত দেশগুলো ১৯৯৭ সালে প্রণীত কিয়োটো প্রোটোকল না মানার কারণে বাতাসে কার্বনের ঘনত্ব ৪০০ পিপিএম (পার্টস পার মিলিয়ন) ছাড়িয়ে গেছে। ক্রমেই বেড়ে যাওয়া উষ্ণতার কারণে বাংলাদেশের মতো উপকূলীয় দেশগুলো চরম সঙ্কটের মুখে পড়ছে। ঘনঘন ঘূর্ণিঝড়, জলোচ্ছ্বাস, বন্যা ও নদীভাঙনের কারণে প্রতিদিনই হাজার হাজার মানুষ বাস্তুচ্যুত হয়ে যাচ্ছে। বিজ্ঞানীরা আশঙ্কা করছেন, ২০৫০ সাল নাগাদ শুধুমাত্র উপকূলীয় অঞ্চল থেকে ২ কোটিরও বেশি মানুষ উদ্বাস্তু হয়ে যাবে। এ অবস্থায় দ্রুততম সময়ের মধ্যে কার্বন নির্গমন কমিয়ে আনতে হবে যাতে ২১০০ সাল নাগাদ বিশে^র গড় তাপমাত্রা বৃদ্ধির পরিমাণ শিল্পযুগপূর্ব সময়ের তুলনায় ১.৫ ডিগ্রির চেয়ে বাড়তে না পারে। কিন্তু প্রস্তাবিত খসড়া চুক্তিতে দূষণ কমানোর কোনো মাত্রা নির্ধারণ করে দেয়া হয় নি। এছাড়া দূষণকারী দেশগুলো যে পরিমাণ নির্গমন কমানোর সংকল্প প্রকাশ করেছেন, তাও বাধ্যতামূলক নয়। ফলে আশঙ্কা করা হচ্ছে যে, ২১০০ সাল নাগাদ তাপমাত্রা বৃদ্ধির পরিমাণ ৪.৭ ডিগ্রি ছাড়িয়ে যাবে। এ আশঙ্কা সত্য হলে বাংলাদেশের খাদ্য উৎপাদন গড়ে ২০ শতাংশ কমে যেতে পারে যা চরম খাদ্যসঙ্কট সৃষ্টি করবে।

অপরদিকে, গ্রীন ক্লাইমেট ফান্ড ও অভিযোজন তহবিলসহ জলবায়ু পরিবর্তন মোকাবেলায় উন্নত দেশগুলো পর্যাপ্ত অর্থায়নের প্রতিশ্রুতি দিলেও এখন এ নিয়ে গড়িমসি করছে এবং স্বল্পশর্তের অর্থায়নের নামে সুদযুক্ত ঋণ ও আন্তর্জাতিক ব্যাংকগুলো থেকে বিনিয়োগের কথা বলছে। এ ধরনের ঋণের মাধ্যমে গরিব দেশগুলো নতুন নতুন দেনায় জর্জরিত হলেও ধনী দেশগুলোর ঋণবাণিজ্য বৃদ্ধি পাবে। বাংলাদেশের মতো স্বল্পোন্নত ও ঝুঁকিপূর্ণ দেশগুলো জলবায়ু দুর্যোগের জন্য দায়ী না হয়েও শুধুমাত্র টিকে থাকার জন্য এসব ঋণ নিতে বাধ্য হবে। বক্তারা জলবায়ু-সংক্রান্ত সকল প্রকার ঋণ বাতিলের দাবি জানান।

বক্তারা প্যারিস সম্মেলনে আইনি বাধ্যবাধকতাসম্পন্ন সার্বজনীন চুক্তি প্রণয়ন, আন্তজার্তিক জলবায়ু আদালত গঠন,  ‘জলবায়ু বাস্তুচ্যুতদের উন্নত দেশগুলোতে সম্মানজনক অভিবাসনের অধিকার প্রদান, জলবায়ু চুক্তিতে অংশীদারিত্ব, ন্যায্যতা ও সুবিচার প্রতিষ্ঠা, জিসিএফ, অভিযোজন তহবিলসহ অন্যান্য তহবিলে পর্যাপ্ত অর্থায়ন নিশ্চিত করা, জলবায়ু পরিবর্তনের ঝুঁকি মোকাবেলা খাতে সকল ধরনের ঋণের সুযোগ বন্ধ করা, জলবায়ু তহবিলের ব্যবহারে স্থানীয় জনসংগঠনের অংশগ্রহণের সুযোগ তৈরি, ইতোমধ্যে সংঘটিত ক্ষয়-ক্ষতি পূরণের জন্য অতিরিক্ত ‘ক্ষতিপূরণ’ প্রদান এবং সরকারি-বেসরকারি সমন্বয়-সাধনের মাধ্যমে বাংলাদেশের কণ্ঠ জোরদার করাসহ নয় দফা দাবি উত্থাপন করেন।

Khulna Declaration to Protect Lives and Livelihoods of Southwest Coastal Region

Saturday, 10 July 2010, 25 Asharh 1416
Khulna, Bangladesh
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We, more than two hundred representatives from different sectors of the society including members of parliament and representatives from local government, political parties, researcher, teacher, women rights movement, socio-cultural organization, students’ organization, development organization, small and marginal farmer and forest and indigenous communities of southwest coastal region of Bangladesh,
Gathering today on tenth of July Two thousand Ten AD in the eve of ‘Southwest Coastal Conference on Impact of Climate Change on Coastal Livelihood: Perspective Cyclone Aila’ at Khulna Divisional City,
Recalling the potentials of world heritage the Sundarbans Mangrove Forest, fertile alluvial land, billion tons of sediments, disaster-tolerant local rice varieties, rivers and canals like arteries and rich traditional cultural practices;
Concerned for the vulnerabilities of the rural livelihoods such as small and marginal farmer, agricultural labour, fisherman and other natural resource dependant people of Southwest region due to frequent and intensive natural disasters including cyclone Aila, adverse impact of climate change and environmental degradation and unwise development initiatives;
Emphasizing on emergence of short, mid and long term initiatives as because the livelihood and ecological problems becomes complicated for climate change induced vulnerabilities and adverse impacts of infrastructural mega projects financed by the Multinational Development Banks (MDBs), Transnational Corporations (TNCs) and ‘Donor Organizations’ from developed countries;
Solely proclaiming these 21-point demands as Khulna Declaration and urging the Government of Bangladesh to implement this declaration for sustainable rural livelihoods of southwest coastal region of Bangladesh:

  1. Allocate sufficient financial resources immediately for reconstruction of cyclone Aila damaged embankments. Finalize working schedule, tender notice and other necessary activities within September 2010 to complete reconstruction of the breached embankments within December 2010. Take alternative measures to complete this task considering failure of Bangladesh Water Development Board (BWDB) in last year;
  2. Identify and repair all weakened coastal embankments of southwest coastal region in priority basis. Inter alia ensuring transparency and accountability of BWDB is must to complete this task;
  3. Depositing sedimentation in cultivable wetlands of southwest coastal region is must to meet the challenges of land subsidence, sea level rise and wide-spread water logging. To achieve this end, implement Tidal River Management (TRM) in this region as an integral part of the embankments;
  4. Update the Embankment Protection Act 1952 and adopt seven years jail for making hole in, illegal cut or any other damage of the embankments. Simultaneously, ensure local small and marginal farmers participation in embankment management;
  5. Increase the height of coastal embankments southwest region to eight mitres like southeast and use geo-fibre and iron-net to make it capable of protecting cyclone and tidal surges. Construct roads and highways on the embankments to ensure proper and regular use of them;
  6. Stop leasing of riverbanks create environments of planting mangrove forest at outside of the embankments. Stop leasing of state-owned canals and water bodies within the polder. Protect these common resources to use for freshwater reservoir for irrigation for agricultural production, and for natural fish varieties;
  7. Provide agricultural tools including fertilizer, seeds and irrigation support to the cyclone Aila affected small and marginal farmers. At the same time, promote local saline and disaster tolerant varieties by banning distribution of hybrid and Genetically Modified (GM) seeds which have come from unknown sources;
  8. Provide adequate scholarships and free educational materials to the cyclone Aila affected students to ensure their smooth primary, secondary and higher education;
  9. Change the mindset of Cordon Approach of implementing cross dams, river training, flood control and water development, and adopt a different Embankment Management Policy with attitude of sedimentation and water management. Simultaneously, crash the upstream dams to ensure freshwater in the coastal river and canals;
  10. Ban the brackish water shrimp cultivation in the agricultural land of coastal region considering its adverse long term socioeconomic and environmental impact.
  11. Immediately finance and undertake socioeconomic development projects for climate victims including cyclone Aila induced refugees;
  12. Create joint and continuous international pressure on the developed industrialised countries to reduce greenhouse gases (GHGs) emission and ensure reparations for capacity building to reduce vulnerabilities of climate induced disasters;
  13. Assess environmental impacts and take local people’s opinion considering negative impacts of climate change before undertaking Asian Development Bank (ADB), World Bank (WB), International Monetary Fund (IMF) and other IFIs financed mega project in the coastal zone;
  14. Establish an Adaptation and Mitigation Centre in southwest coastal region considering frequency and adversity of disasters in this region. At the same time, construct one cyclone shelter for every one thousand people in the disaster-prone areas;
  15. Provide support to the poor people for constructing disaster-tolerant, environment-friendly and long-lasting houses in southwest coastal region. To this end, undertake an Integrated Settlement Plan for this region. Simultaneously, undertake sustainable measures for safe drinking water and sanitation considering increased salinity and tidal surge;
  16. Protect illegal wood extraction, forest bandits and corruption to protect world’s largest single track mangrove forest, the Sundarbans;
  17. Stop refusing traditional rights of forest peoples of the Sundarbans in the name of conserving biodiversity after disasters like cyclone Aila. At the same time, stop using the Sundarbans as a Carbon Reservoir for corporate Carbon Trading in the name of Climate Change Mitigation;
  18. Excavate and dredge dead rivers of the region and smash the entire infrastructure which are creating barrier to drainage. Keep at least fifty mitres water channel in every kilometre of roads and highways;
  19. Do not allow any international debt-trade or profit-driven trade aggression to take chance of disaster, extreme salinity, climate-tolerant seed, Clean Development Mechanism (CDM), green technology, water scarcity etc.;
  20. Reactivate Coastal Development Board (CDB) and implement the recommendation of Integrated Coastal Zone Management Plan (ICZMP) for sustainable development of coastal zone;
  21. Amend the National Water Policy and Agricultural Policy to incorporate specific measures for reducing vulnerabilities of coastal zone;

We again urge to the Government of Bangladesh to implement these demands of Khulna Declaration and to promote sustainable rural livelihoods of coastal disaster affected people.

Southwest Coastal Conference on Impact of Climate Change on Coastal Rural Livelihood

10 July 2010, Saturday
Divisional Museum Auditorium, Khulna, Bangladesh
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Even after more than 14 months of cyclone Aila the the affected 11 Unions of 3 Upazilas under Khulna and Satkhira Districts of Southwest Coastal Region of Bangladesh are still under water as the breached coastal embankments yet to be repaired. More than 125 thousand people are still living on the embankments while more than 87 thousand people had to become climate refugees because they lost their houses, possessions and traditional livelihoods. The areas are shifting to abandoned land as the trees and other environmental elements are degrading due to extreme saline water which remains in the localities since 25th May 2009, the date of Aila hit the areas. Water and Sanitation system of the areas are totally collapsed and thousands of people are crying for safe drinking water rather than food or shelter.
With support from Campaign for Sustainable Rural Livelihoods (CSRL) local people organized several movements under Aila Durgato Sanghati Mancho (Aila Victims Solidarity Committee) and Aila Biddhosto Bandh Nirman Gonosangram Parisad (Mass Movement Committee for Reconstruction of Aila damaged Embankments) when the government failed to reconstruct damaged embankments within December 2009. They organized Press Conference, Submission of Memorandum, Signboard Set-up, Sit-In Program, Human Chain, Dialogue with Policy Makers, Procession, Barricade, Child Rally, Student Movement, Journalists’ Demonstration, Celebrity Visit and Regular updating letter to the Cabinet. Ally organization Nagorik Sanghati also organized several programs including Human Chain, Intellectual’s Visit to the affected areas and media mobilization on the same demand.
After continuous movement in local and national level the BWDB issued Working Order in February 2010 but the reconstruction did not start in time. In the mean time monsoon came and water level started to rise. The contractors started reconstructing in Mid March but they did not follow the approve design, use inappropriate materials and construct in shorter in height and thickness. As a result the embankments collapsed again in the monsoon and people were again in peril.
The Food and Disaster Management Minister, Water Resource Minister and Parliamentary Standing committee said sorry to the people several times. The parliamentary committee formed a probing body to investigate inner cause of this failure and declared punishment of the Bangladesh Water Development Board (BWDB) officials if they fail to reconstruct the embankments before 14th April 2010. But the situation remains unchanged even after strict order of the Prime Minister of Bangladesh on 7th April 2010.
In the mean time, the Government of Bangladesh has allocated some 2,500 billion taka for reconstruction and maintenance of the embankments. Additionally, it is heard that the World Bank (WB) and Asian Development Bank (ADB) is coming forward to invest money for mega-projects on embankment maintenance from their climate change related funds. Due to bitter experience of Coastal Embankment Project (CEP) of 1960s and Khulna-Jessore Drainage Rehabilitation Project (KJDRP) of 1990’s the coastal people are anxious about the future impacts of present initiatives.
The Southwest Coastal Conference is to seek a common position of Policy makers, Local Government leaders, Politicians, Academicians, Development Activists, Social movement leaders, Students and common peoples on Coastal Development with due consideration to climate change adaptation and mitigation and environmental equilibrium. The conference is also to sensitize the policy leaders to take adequate measures to reconstruct Aila damaged embankments immediately.

Climate Justice Week calls for cut in carbon emission

APMDD | 12 November 2012
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Climate Justice Campaign coordinator Hasan Mehedi is addressing the journalists in Press Conference of Cliamte Justice Week

 Several environment organisations on Sunday announced weeklong programmes to observe Climate Justice Week-2012 to recall the deaths and damages caused by cyclonic storms Sidr and Aila. CLEAN (Coastal Livelihood and Environmental Action Network) in collaboration with Campaign for Sustainable Rural Livelihoods (CSRL), Climate Finance Governance Network (CFGN), Oxfam and Oxfam-led global campaign GROW observed the week in November 11-17 with more than 100 organisations of 23 districts.

The districts are Bagerhat, Barguna, Barisal, Bhola, Kushtia, Chittagong, Comilla, Cox’s Bazar, Dhaka, Feni, Gaibandha, Jessore, Khulna, Kishoreganj, Narail, Natore, Noakhali, Patuakhali, Pirojpur, Rangamati, Satkhira, Sunamganj and Sylhet. The programmes included media campaign, mass rallies, human chains and cultural functions in 23 districts, said convenor of CFGN Shamim Arfeen at a press conference at Khulna Press Club.
Coordinator of the campaign Hasan Mehedi, civil right leaders Advocate Feroz Ahmed and Shamima Sultana Shilu were present in the press conference. The organisations are observing the week because the developed countries are trying to evade their responsibility to reduce carbon emission when they are liable for the devastating global warming, said convener of CFGN Shamim Arfeen.
He also blamed the developed countries for delaying delivery of adequate finance for adaptation. The green organisations of 23 districts have announced nine-point demands which include reduction of emission, stopping of debt-business of multilateral development banks by using climate-crisis, ensuring transparency, equity and justice in climate finance, allowing climate-forced migrants in developed countries, include population and reproductive health in climate adaptation, ensuring new and additional fund for most vulnerable countries, keeping World Bank out of climate funds and ensuring local ecology-based adaptation, it was informed in the press conference.

Green groups call for formation of global climate court

BSS News | Khulna, Nov 27, 2015 (BSS)
People’s Climate March in Khulna organized by CLEAN and NRDS | 27 November 2015
Bangladeshi green groups have called for forming an international climate court to compel Annex-1 countries in reducing drastic emission cut. They also demanded making a legally bound agreement in Climate Conference (COP21) in Paris on December 29-11.

The groups jointly presented a nine-point demand for climate justice in a demonstration after “People’s Climate March” in Khulna city today.

Coastal Livelihood and Environmental Action Network (CLEAN), Gandhi Ashram Trust (GAT), Noakhali Rural Development Society (NRDS), Participatory Research and Action Network (PRAN) and Prantojon organized “Climate March” in Coastal Zone of Bangladesh under the umbrella of Global Call to Action Against Poverty (GCAP).

Human Chain after the People’s Climate March organized by CLEAN and NRDS on 27 November 2015
Presided over by CLEAN chief executive Hasan Mehedi, the demonstration was addressed by Paribartan-Khulna executive director Nazmul Azam David, Bangladesh Human Rights Unity president Sheikh Abdul Halim, Janaudyog member secretary Mohendranath Sen, and Chhayabrikkho executive director Mahbub Alam Badsha, among others.

The speakers said carbon density in atmosphere already crossed 400 ppm as Annex-1 countries did not follow Kyoto Protocol. Due to increasing temperature, thousands of people of Bangladesh are being displaced every day.

More than 20 million people are likely to be displaced by 2050 as per projection of different research findings. A drastic cut in emissions is needed urgently to limit temperature rise within 1.5 degrees centigrade and to reduce vulnerability of the people, they added.

They said: “But developed countries are not agreed to come under a legally bound agreement and draft text of Paris Conference doesn’t have any element to oblige them. If the temperature rises as now, vulnerable countries like Bangladesh are very likely to face serious shortage of staple food by 2050.”