Sohanur Rahman,NGO Editor ::
The Bangladesh Parliament passed a bill called Planetary Emergency Declaration back on Wednesday, 13th November 2021. Bangladeshi youth are now demanding its implementation and enhance climate education the curriculum.
On 24th September, the 611th day of this declaration, “Intergenerational Dialogue on Implementation of the Bangladesh Planetary Emergency Declaration” was held. The dialogue was chaired by Prof. Ainun Nishat, Professor Emeritus, Centre for Climate Change and Environmental Research and was moderated by Aruba Faruque, a 15-year-old climate activist and launcher of the petition to implement the Bangladesh Planetary Emergency Declaration and incorporate climate education in the school curriculum. Sohanur Rahman, Coordinator of Youthnet for Climate Justice, Prof.Anu Muhammad, Central Member of the National Committee to Protect Oil, Gas, Mineral Resources, Power and Ports, Syeda Rizwana Hasan, Chief Executive of Bangladesh Environmental Association, Orla Murphy, Country Director of Plan International Bangladesh, Onno van Manen, Country Director of Save the Children in Bangladesh, Prof. Rashed Al Mahmud Titumir, Chairperson of IUCN Bangladesh national committee, Reefat Bin Sattar, Programme Development Quality Director, Save the Children in Bangladesh, Rafsan Jani Showrav, Youth Advisory Panel Member of Plan International Bangladesh, Nazmul Ahsan, Manager, Young People, ActionAid Bangladesh took part in this dialogue as panel speakers.
At the opening, petitioner Aruba Faruque said, “Even though the time to sign the petition is over today, our movement for the implementation of Planetary Emergency is not over now. We will continue our movement in the future as long as this Planetary Emergency Declaration is being implemented.”
Sohanur Rahman, the Coordinator, Youthnet for Climate Justice, then highlighted the background of the Bangladesh Planetary Emergency Declaration and how the demands of the youth were declared as Planetary Emergency in the Parliament. But he regrets that the government has not taken any steps to implement the Planetary Emergency Declaration and since then the government has been involved in various biosphere-based projects. According to him, “It is sad but right that the Bangladesh government has undertaken 20 coal power plant projects even after declaring a planetary emergency. Most of them are located in coastal areas like Zaman Barguna, Matarbari, Rampal.” “We are making it clear that we cannot build a Bangladesh coal dumping station. Then the global coal price will go up.”
Anu Muhammad highlighted the local problems of the various fossil fuel-based power plants of the government. He thinks development projects are destroying our forests and people are not really getting the benefits. Noting the importance of recyclable energy in Bangladesh, he said, “It is very easy for Bangladesh to transit recycled energy because in Bangladesh wind energy, solar energy, waste are absolutely infinite resources. It is possible to generate electricity using them.”
Nazmul Ahsan, Manager, Young people, Action Aid Bangladesh, thinks that many people have been inspired by Aruba’s activities in the climate justice movement. According to him, the voice of our youth should be taken to the stage to realize climate justice.
Professor Rashed Al Mahmoud Titumir, Chair, IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) National Committee in Bangladesh thinks that in this critical time, it is like awakening the youth to come true about climate change. On Aruba’s petition, he said, “Young people are speaking out for their rights. As much as I support your initiative, I think we all need to show more loneliness with these initiatives.” He also discussed the importance of conserving biodiversity and ecosystems.
Onno Van Manen, Country Director of Save the Children Bangladesh, said, “Policymakers need to take the time to listen to the next generation because future generations have a greater risk of climate change than the current generation.”
Orla Murphy, Country Director of Plan International Bangladesh was also present at the dialogue. “Now is the time to take action. I am often given the opportunity to speak. But what I want to hear is what young people expect from us,” she said. She set a unique example by pointing out the valuable time of his speech to another young representative of the panel, Rafsan Jani Showrav.