Rohingya presence affecting Bangladesh eco-system: Momen

DHAKA Foreign Minister Dr A K Abdul Momen today said the makeshift camps made for 1.1 million forcibly displaced Rohingyas on 6,800 acres of forest land in Cox's Bazar is affecting the entire ecosystem of the country's south-eastern part.

It is in an extremely vulnerable location (Cox's Bazar), their presence is affecting our eco-system, he said, addressing the inaugural ceremony of the 15th meeting of the governing council of the South Asia Cooperative Environment Programme (SACEP) at a city hotel.

The foreign minister said it is the responsibility of the global leadership, specially the South Asian partners, to do more to ensure the Rohingyas' quick return to Myanmar.

It is an issue solely between Myanmar and its own people, the Rohingyas. they themselves have to resolve it, he said.

Voluntary return of the Rohingyas to their homes in the Rakhine state in safety, security and dignity is the only solution to the crisis, Momen observed.

Bangladesh is hosting over 1.1 million forcefully displaced Rohingyas in Cox's Bazar district and most of them arrived there since August 25, 2017 after a military crackdown by Myanmar, which the UN called a textbook example of ethnic cleansing and genocide by other rights groups.

Mentioning that Bangladesh has often been cited as a 'development miracle', the foreign minister said despite vulnerability to climate change impacts, Bangladesh continued to prosper over the last 10 years.

This, development miracle has a secret. Let me call it the 'Bangladesh Secret, Sheikh Hasina Miracle', he added.

About the climate change, the foreign minister said protected and restored ecosystems and the biodiversity can help mitigate climate change and provide increased resilience in the face of mounting human pressures and natural disasters.

Healthy ecosystems produce multiple benefits for communities that rely on them, he added.

Despite being a developing country, he said, Bangladesh spends more than 1 percent of its GDP in combating climate change.

Momen pointed that the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) achieving will critically depend on the availability of resources and rock solid political commitment.

To achieve sustainable development goals by 2030, we need to strengthen our commitment to work collectively in partnership in mobilizing resources both finance and technology and utilizing available knowledge and information for mutual betterment, he added.

Observing that there is a vast area of possible cooperation under the aegis of SACEP, Momen said: Our active collaboration and cooperation will be very crucial for successful implementation of the SDGs as well as the Paris Climate Agreement.

Environment, forest and climate change minister Md Shahab Uddin, deputy minister Habibun Nahar, Indian environment, forest and climate change minister Prakash Keshav Javadekar, Maldivian state minister for environment Ahmed Mujthaba and SACEP Director General Abas Basir also spoke at the inaugural session, among others.

Source: Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha (BSS)