Second Gobeshona Seminar 22nd July: Examining UNFCCC Adaptation Negotiations

The Seminar was opened by special guest Mr. Benajir Ahmed, Chairman of the Board of Trustees at NSU. He spoke briefly about his background working for the UN and a Japanese project he was part of in 1981. The project focussed on environmental issues in Bangladesh and distributed saplings country wide to enhance greenery and protect the ecosystem. He spoke also about the necessity of the government’s recent attempts to make cities more “moral” and prioritise climate change as a top priority.

The first talk was given by Dr.Mizan Khan, Professor in the Department of Environmental Science and Management at NSU and a lead negotiator for the LDCs, on ‘The Politics of Adaptation in the UNFCCC Negotiations”, based on his recent book, “Toward a Binding Climate Change Adaptation Regime: A Proposed Framework.” His talk focused on why the discourse on adaptation needs to change, and why it remains “weak”. He finished by stressing that “instead of further procrastination, we the PVCs have to change the discourse”.
The second talk was given by Mr. Quamrul Chowdhury, Chair of the Federation of Environmental Journalists and another lead negotiator for the LDCs, on ‘Climate Adaptation Negotiations under the UNFCCC: The Perspectives and Role of LDCs’. He described adaptation as “loose” and “flexible” making it hard to measure, a therefore possibly being a reason for the prioritisation of mitigation. He gave a background and breakdown of negotiations over previous COPs. He spoke of the various LDCs that are leading climate change and adaptation research. These countries have the most experience of adaptation to climate change and are most vulnerable, but they are also the leaders in research and development in the field. 

Questions were taken and closing remarks made by the speakers and guests. In responding to a question, Dr. Mizan Khan stated support for the ‘polluter pays’ principle but argued that LDCs should have different responsibilities to MDCs. He argued that the problem of mitigation needs to be solved first as it is “the ultimate challenge”.
Dr. Saleemul Huq spoke about Gobeshona itself and the annual climate change conference which will be held in January 2015. Subsequently, Dr. Ainun Nishat emphasised the need for young researchers to be clear on definitions of terms such as ‘adaptation’ and ‘mitigation’ in order to produce accurate and relevant research. Finally, Professor Amin U. Sarkar, VC of NSU, closed the seminar by discussing of the need for people to be on the same page about climate change: “is it global warming or global cooling?” He stressed that the key to making meaningful changes is by working together to find solutions using the resources available and renewable energy. 

Written by: Rushda Khandker, Intern – Gobeshona, ICCCAD August Newsletter 2014