April 14, 2021, 7:59 am

Diplomatic correspondent

2021-04-08 09:15:13 BdST

US climate envoy John Kerry due in Dhaka Friday

John Kerry, the United States Special Presidential Envoy for Climate, is scheduled to arrive in Dhaka on Friday on a brief visit during which Bangladesh will convey its priority issues on the climate front.

Kerry, now in India on a four-day visit, will hand over the US President’s invitation to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in person to attend the "Leaders Summit on Climate" to be held on April 22 and 23 virtually.

Kerry is looking forward to "meaningful discussions" with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen and others during his stay in Dhaka on how to tackle the climate crisis.

"In Dhaka, Special Presidential Envoy Kerry will meet representatives from the government of Bangladesh and key development and international partners," a State Department spokesperson said.

As the president of the Climate Vulnerable Forum and the Vulnerable Twenty Group of Finance Ministers, the spokesperson said, Bangladesh plays a leading role in combating climate change.

Marcia Bernicat, US senior official for economic growth, energy and the environment, has said Bangladesh’s leadership in addressing climate change offers the United States – and the world – a great partner to tackle this climate crisis. 

As president of the Climate Vulnerable Forum and the Vulnerable Twenty Group of Finance Ministers, she said, Bangladesh can make irreplaceable contributions towards a successful COP26. 

As a climate vulnerable country, Bernicat said, Bangladesh will require significant climate adaptation and resilience, especially in view of its increasingly ambitious climate goals. 

US companies are well placed to deliver many of the solutions Bangladesh will need to sustainably grow its economy, she said.

“Yes, we’re happy that he’s coming. We worked with him before, too,” Foreign Minister Momen told newsmen.

US President Joe Biden has invited 40 world leaders, including Prime Minister Hasina, to the “Leaders' Summit on Climate” that he will host. The virtual summit will be live-streamed for public viewing.

The “Leaders Summit on Climate” will underscore the urgency – and the economic benefits – of stronger climate action. It will be a key milestone on the road to the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26) this November in Glasgow.

“We’ll be happy to convey our priority issues. We’ll also share the steps that Bangladesh has taken so far,” Momen said.

He said Bangladesh believes that adaptation is not enough and there has to be mitigation and Bangladesh needs support as promised by others. “It should be Kerry’s special target.”

Momen said Bangladesh did not create the problem and those responsible countries should share responsibility of rehabilitating and protecting people from the river erosions.

President Biden has emphasised the challenge of climate change, stating, “The United States and the world face a profound climate crisis and by placing climate change at the centre of our foreign policy, diplomacy, and national security.” 

During his recent meeting with Presidential Envoy on Climate John Kerry, Momen discussed the global issue of climate change, and the possible US-Bangladesh collaboration in this connection.

The Foreign Minister recollected the vital contribution of Kerry towards the Paris Agreement on Climate Change and welcomed the decision of the US to return to the Paris Agreement.

He described various actions taken by the government of Bangladesh under the prudent leadership of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on mitigation, adaptation and resilience.

Momen also briefed John Kerry on all current and future activities of the Climate Vulnerable Forum (CVF) and the Global Centre on Adaptation (GCA) regional office in Dhaka.

Kerry recognised the extraordinary challenges faced by Bangladesh due to climate change and frequent natural disasters.

Agreeing that the international financial institutions could do more for the issue of climate change, he also opined that displacement due to climate change would be a vital security issue for everybody.

They agreed to work closely in the COP26 and other multilateral platforms in order to fulfil commitments under the Paris Climate Agreement and even go beyond Paris.

President Biden took action on his first day in office to return the US to the Paris Agreement.

Days later, on January 27, he announced that he would soon convene a leaders’ summit to galvanise efforts by the major economies to tackle the climate crisis.

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