Bangladesh: a global warming “impact hotspot” - projections, perspectives, and posible responses to climate change
Bangladesh is one of the areas of the world most vulnerable to climate change, with sea levels rising faster than the global rate. Estimates suggest that up to 20 million Bangladeshis in low-lying areas could lose their homes by 2050.
Badrul Alam, was elected President of Bangladesh Krishok Federation (BKF), the largest peasant federation in Bangladesh. He has served on the international leadership of La Via Campesina representing the BKF. He is also a leader of a revolutionary socialist organisation in Bangladesh collaborating with the Fourth International. The BKF are heavily involved in campaigning against climate change. They have organised a series of climate caravans to take the message out to large numbers of people both across Bangladesh itself and more widely to other parts of Asia.
Like comrades in the Philippines, a central part of that work is the promotion of food sovereignty as a sustainable alternative to agribusiness – hence their relationship with Via Campesina, the international peasants movement. They were also involved in work around the Rana Plazza disaster – many of the super-exploited women workers in Dhaka are climate refugees forced to leave the rural villages from which they come by rising sea levels and salinification.
Badrul Alam is touring Britain for two weeks at the beginning of March to talk about these issues. As extreme weather has been hitting Britain over recent weeks the tour could hardly be more timely:
Central London meeting: Tuesday 4 March
7:30 pm, 62 Marchmont Street,
WC1N 1AB, Kings Cross tube
Badrul Alam, President of Bangladesh Krishok Federation, the country’s largest peasant federation.
Ashok Kumar, recently organiser for the International Union League for Brand Responsibility in Bangalore.
Derek Wall, founder of Ecosocialist International and Green Left, International Coordinator of the Green Party.
Organised by Socialist Resistance
On 22nd October 2013 eighteen right based civil society, labor and farmer organizations in a press conference in the capital urge government to consult and public its position on WTO (World Trade Organization) Ministerial 9 to be held during 3 to 6 December 2013 in Bali, Indonesia. The speakers in the press conference also say that WTO proposed trade in services agreement (TISA) and Agreement on Trade Facilitation (TF) in fact will jeopardize basic human rights of accessing essential public services like water, health and education and this is how it undermines post 2015 development agenda of poverty eradication and sustainable development.
The press conference held in the National Press Club in Dhaka today is moderated by Mustafa Kamal Akanda of EquityBD and other speakers are Badrul Alam of Bangladesh Krishok Federation (BKF), Mohammed Ali of Bangladesh Trade Union Centre (BTUC), Sayed Jahangir Hasan Masum of Coastal Development Partnership (CDP), Shamima Akhter of ASOW. Barkat Ullah Maruf of EquityBD presents the written statement on behalf of the groups.
Other members of the groups are Jatiya Sramik Jote, Online Knowledge Society, United People Trust, Udayan Bangladesh, Unnayan Dhara Trust, Media Forum on Trade and Development, Shariatpur Development Organization, Kishani Shova, Nature Campaign Bangladesh, Bangladesh Bhumihin Shomity, VOICE, Huminity Watch and SA Foundation.
On behalf of the group Barkat Ullah Maruf says in the written statement, in fact the proposed TISA and TF will facilitate the big multinational companies of the developed countries and enhance net outflow of hard earned currencies of the developing countries and LDCs. Agreements like those two will also reduce government’s internal revenue mobilization due to import liberalization and import tariff withdrawal which, in turn, will hinder governments of LDCs to provide essential public services to its people.
Mohammed Ali, the Vice President of BTUC and railway labor leader mentions that being forced by the modalities of aids and different multilateral agreements the government is promoting corporatization in the railway of Bangladesh which has been the largest and cheapest pubic communication network in the country. WTO policies are to promote private sector and commercialization not to strengthen the public services like railway, he adds.
Badrul Alam of BKF says, agriculture is related to the food rights of common people and most fundamental one to live. So, agriculture must be separated from the WTO process.
Jahangir Hasan Masum of CDP mentions the examples of service sector liberalization in Bangladesh and how the foreign mobile companies are repatriating profit to the development countries, e.g. Grameen Phone Telenor sending money to it origin country, Norway.
Rights groups on Sunday demanded that Bangladesh should initiate necessary research and assessment as homework to strengthen the issue of climate migrants in the upcoming international climate negotiations.
They also demanded, which is also echoed by Environment and Forests Minister Dr Hasan Mahmud, that the definition of ‘UN Refugee’ should be redefined in view of present increasing nature of climate-forced migrants worldwide, especially in Bangladesh.
The demands were raised at a seminar titled ‘Climate Induced Migrants: Responsibilities in National and International Level’ held at the National Press Club.
In his address, the minister, who has been leading Bangladesh delegation to international climate negotiations for last five years, admitted that, in fact, there was setback on climate migrants issue after 2010, which was first officially accepted in the Cancun climate agreement. But it has lost the momentum while countries reframe the timeline in the Durban agreement, i.e., new agreement should reach by 2015 and implementation after 2020.
He said Bangladesh Climate Change Strategic Action Plan would be revised and money allocation will be there for research on climate migrant’s issue.
The minister mentioned that the developed countries have to take responsibilities of the climate-induced migrants and the definition of the UN refugee has to be revisited to accommodate them.
Moderated by Rezaul Karim Chowdhury of EquityBD, the seminar was addressed, among others, by Badrul Alam of Krishok Federation, Motahar Hossain of BCCJF, Mizanur Rahman of NCCB and Progoti Chakma of BIPNetCCBD.
Dhaka, 15th September 2013. Today a network of civil society rights groups EquityBD in a seminar held at National Press Club Dhaka criticize the developed countries, especially of USA and Japan, who opposed inclusion of common but differentiated responsibility and historical responsibility issues in the Asia Pacific Ministerial Conference on Post 2015 agenda. The rights group supported Bangladesh proposal to include goal to ensure food security to meet the global hunger and urge to UN to do so.
The seminar titled “MDG and Post 2015 UN development Agenda; Inequalities and Redistributive Justice” is moderated by Rezaul Karim Chowdhury, the Chief Moderator of EquityBD while the chief guest of the seminar was Dr. Hasan Mahmud, Honorable Minister for Forest and Environment. The other speakers of the seminar are Ziaul Haque Mukta, Policy Manger of Oxfam Asia Region, Golam Mortoza, the Editor of weekly Shaptahik, Badrul Alam, President of Bangladesh Krishok Federation, Pragati Chakama of Bangladesh Indigenous People’s Network, Aminur Rasul af Unnayan Dhara and Mujibul Haque Munir of Article 19. Barkat Ullah Maruf of EquityBD gives keynote presentation in the seminar.
Minister Dr Hasan Mahmud said that as Bangladesh is facing the brunt of climate change impact where the country is not at all responsible for this, and as there will be 22 crore people in the country by 2050, then it is the international community or united nations to take responsibility on food security of Bangladesh and other hungry people of the world as well.
On the 5 March 2013 Bangladesh Krishok Federation (BKF) organized its Khulna District Conference in Batiaghata. In the conference Nayan was selected as president and Koushik was selected as secretary of the 15 member Khulna district committee of BKF.
Central leaders also joined in the Khulna district conference. The new committee vowed to build a strong base area in Khulna in the near future. They also committed to build a movement to save peasants' rights in the district.
On the 3 March 2013 a BKF meeting was held in Khulna to organize the Khulna District Conference. The meeting was presided over by the BKF central office secretary Pathak Lal Golder. In the meeting leaders discussed about the logistics of the forth coming district conference and took the decisions about how conference would operate.
On the 15 February 2013 the Bangladesh Krishok Federation and Bangladesh Kishani Sabha Barisal District Conference was held in Barisal city. BKF's general secretary Abdul Mannan Azad and BKS' acting general secretary Shipra Rani were present as chief guests at the conference. At the conference the15 member new Barisal district committee was formed. The new district committee vowed to strengthen the land occupation movement in Barisal. After the conference a rally was held in Barisal city.
On the afternoon of February 15, 2013 the 1st Dhaka City Conference of Bangladesh Krishok Federation took place. The 101 new committee members elected Pathak Lal Golder president while Mohiuddin Howlader Mohin was elected secretary.
The conference was presided over by Jakir Hossain, and BKF central president Badrul Alam was the chief guest. In the conference leaders of BKF discussed how important the Dhaka city committee will be. They said that in Dhaka we have millions of people who are closely related with agriculture and their home village. In the peak agricultural seasons like the planting and harvesting of paddy, those people are going to their villages and after that work is finished, they are coming back to Dhaka. We have also many people who are not working as farmers but they are thinking lots about peasants and rural Bangladesh and also want to work with peasants' rights. They have a peasant background. We are targeting those city peasants for BKF work in Dhaka. The leaders also said that as a capital city Dhaka is really important to react to issues, and publically protest or show support to a rural movement in a timely manner. Previously when issues arose, we made a plan and then people came from the village to Dhaka and attended the program (e.g. a protest). But we think from now on, the Dhaka city committee can quickly organize a relevant program in Dhaka themselves.
The new Dhaka city committee hope that they can make a strong BKF base in Dhaka soon. From that base, it will also be possible to build up further BKF bases around the country.
More photos are here..
On 08 February 2013 BKF organized a meeting in its Dhaka central office for forthcoming Dhaka City Conference. People who are active with BKF works and living in Dhaka city attended in the meeting. Meeting decided that 15 February 1st Dhaka city conference will try to include all pro BKF people in the city committee.