Rohingyas eating up Bangladesh forests | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, February 25, 2019 / LAST MODIFIED: 04:47 AM, February 25, 2019

Rohingyas eating up Bangladesh forests

Says foreign minister

Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen has said over 1.2 million Rohingyas of Myanmar, who fled Rakhine and are sheltered in Bangladesh, are unfortunately eating up much of Bangladesh's forests and creating an environmental disaster.

Bangladesh has already been considered as a role model in the management of natural disasters and has achieved a “commendable success” in mitigating and adapting with climate change-related challenges, he said.

Addressing the annual thematic meeting of the Platform on Disaster Displacement (PDD) at Hotel Intercontinental Dhaka, Momen said Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, who was awarded the Champion of the Earth for her farsighted initiatives to address the challenges of climate change, established two climate funds and initiated dredging of rivers and green afforestration.

“But the lone effort of Bangladesh is not enough. The government is open to any initiative at the regional and global level, including BIMSTEC, Saarc, Delta Coalition, Climate Vulnerable Forum and the Indian Ocean Rim Association,” he said, adding, “Bangladesh is a champion in promoting climate issues at the global level.”

The minister added that displacement due to either slow or sudden onset disasters is a global problem.

As natural disasters are occurring more frequently with higher ferocity and intensity, and causing forcible displacement of people across nations as well as it is a global issue, he said it is imperative to design and develop corrective actions globally to lessen its devastating impacts.

More than 150 participants, including those from the PDD's Steering Group, regional and international organisations and UN agencies, attended the day-long event.

The theme of the event is “Striving together for addressing displacement due to slow and sudden-onset disasters”. Bangladesh, as the current chair of the PDD, hosted the event in collaboration with International Organisation for Migration.

Discussants said the world sees a high frequency and intensity of disasters -- both natural and man-made -- which are causing large scale displacement of the people within the periphery and beyond the borders of countries.

The rate of people's displacement owing to the impacts of climate change and environmental degradation is increasing every day, they added.

Speaking at the concluding session, State Minister for Foreign Affairs Shahriar Alam

mentioned various short and long terms adaptation measures and said the government of Bangladesh mobilised fund from its own resources to counter and adapt with the impacts of climate change which had been acclaimed by the global community.

State Minister for Disaster Management and Relief Mohammad Enamur Rahman, Prime Minister's Principal Secretary Nojibur Rahman, UN Resident Coordinator Mia Seppo, France Ambassador in Dhaka Marie-Annick Bourdin, Bangladesh Ambassador in Geneva Shameem Ahsan, climate experts Atiq Rahman and Saleemul Haque, UNHCR Country Representative Steven Carlis, among others, spoke on the occasion.

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