Under Prime Minister Hasina’s leadership, the Bangladesh Constitution was amended in 2011 to protect the environment and natural resources for current and future generations.
Prioritised alongside wetlands and wildlife in the constitution, Prime Minister Hasina’s forestry policies initiative has provided a natural barrier from some extreme weather events. The country’s forest cover has also increased by almost 10%.
Preparing for the future
Moving beyond physical and capital investment in climate change adaptation, the government is implementing a wide range of measures to help citizens prepare for an increasingly unpredictable future.
These include new health services dealing with waterborne diseases linked to increased floods, training community groups about early warning systems and promoting climate-friendly agricultural technologies.
As part of climate change mitigation, the government is giving high priority to clean and renewable energy, including one of the world’s largest solar home energy systems, which covers 10% of the off-grid population, and reducing emissions from brick-making, one of the largest sources of stationary emissions in the country.
A ‘disaster-prone’ country
In a major initiative to protect environment, human health and livelihoods, legislation is being enacted to step up regulation of the coastal polluting from the ship-breaking industry, which employs a huge workforce in hazardous conditions.
‘As one of the most disaster-prone countries in the world, Bangladesh understands the importance of addressing the impact of climate change. The country is already experiencing its detrimental effects, and it is often the poorest and marginalised who feel it most.
‘I congratulate the Government of Bangladesh for being proactive in tackling climate change as a priority of the country. It is also a clarion call for the global community to take action today, and to realise that climate change is not a problem of the future, it is already happening in our lifetime.’
Robert Watkins, UN Resident Coordinator in Bangladesh
Champions of the Earth
The annual Champions of the Earth award is the highest environmental accolade that the United Nations can confer upon outstanding individuals and organisations.
Previous laureates of this inclusive award range from leaders of nations to grassroots activists – all visionaries whose leadership and actions bring us closer to environmental sustainability and a life of dignity for all.
To date, Champions of the Earth has recognised 67 laureates in the categories of policy, science, business and civil society.
The other winners named so far are the National Geographic Society (Science and Innovation), Brazilian cosmetics firm Natura (Entrepreneurial Vision) and South Africa’s Black Mamba Anti-Poaching Unit (Inspiration and Action).
Other winners will be announced throughout September. The awards will be handed out at a Gala Ceremony at the close of the Sustainable Development Goals summit, on September 27.
Click here to find out more about Champions of the Earth.