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'Trade to dominate Rio+20 summit'
 
DHAKA, April 10 (BSS) - Issues of trade under the cover of green economy are set to dominate the upcoming Rio+20 summit in Brazil, a senior researcher of an independent think tank said here today, insisting Bangladesh needs to be prepared in advance to pursue its sustainable development agenda through G77.

"Environment is an important component of Rio+20 conference, but it's the trade which is ultimately going to dominate the entire conference scheduled for June 20-22 in Rio De Janeiro in Brazil," Dr Fahmida Kahtun, head of research, Center for Policy Dialogue (CPD), said at a seminar in the city.

Environment and Forest Minister Dr Hasan Mahmud attended the function as the chief guest, where parliament members, NGO executives, journalists and foreigners interacted on 'Context, Issues and Challenges for Bangladesh on United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD)', in brief Rio+20.

The Rio+20 is a follow up of the world conference held 20 years ago in Rio de Janeiro in 1992. It was followed up by another world summit named World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) in Johannesburg, South Africa in 2002. The current summit, known as Earth Summit, aims to reignite the commitment of world leaders to the world development in a long- lasting manner.

Fahmida Akhter said all issues that are directly or indirectly linked to the development would be discussed and dealt in the upcoming conference, where Bangladesh has a big stake to achieve through the gruop-77 of developing nations. She said the issues of trade, such as technology transfer for green economic growth, would get high importance than the climate change, which she says, is very 'contentious' now.

Professor QK Ahmed said Bangladesh has been working on the preparation of a 'country paper' for the Rio summit and the report would be readied by mid May, a month before the summit takes place in Brazil. Five regional consultation meetings will begin from Wednesday, while two other national and expert level consultations would be conducted in Dhaka within May in order to ensure participation of all stakeholders.

Prof. Ahmed, also chairman of PKSF, said the concept of sustainability varies from region to region and country to country contexts, so the improvement of 'human dignity' should be the main indicator to measure sustainable development. He also expressed the hope that most of Bangladesh's aspirations have already been reflected in the draft agenda of G77, who together would pursue concerns of the developing world against the developed world.

Minister Hasan Mahmud said the Rio summit has been deeply rooted at the very birth of the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) in 1972, which was substantiated with the first Rio conference or Earth Summit in 1992, UN Convention on Biodiversity Conservation and Rio+10 in 2002. The upcoming summit, he said, would focus on two aspects-green economy and institutional framework.

The minister said the earth has never changed so fast since its formation in 4.5 billion years ago. The carbon emission was supposed to increate the world temperature up to two degree Celsius end this century, but it is now assumed that the temperature would rose as much as three to four degrees, with abnormal behaviour from the nature.

Dr Hasan said the concept of sustainable development was very important for Bangladesh, where growing population has posed a major threat to its limited resources for consumption. He also criticized the developed countries who committed 30 billion US dollars for carbon mitigation and adaptation, but less than 10 percent of the money has been dispatched so far.

"Bangladesh could have been a middle income country by this time, had the population been kept 50 percent of its present size of 148 million," said the minister, assuring all that the government was sincere to uphold Bangladesh's rights in the conference. He asked people to be rational in using available resources locally, where food security, water supply and sanitation, as well as civic amenities for unplanned urban folks were a great challenge to meet and maintain.

A leading private sector personality said he was worried about the prospect of his tannery business, which has every possibility to be affected by the so called green economic concept of the developed world. He said the sustainable development of world has been comprised with the greed of the developed countries and now it is their responsibility to go green first and transfer their technology free of cost to poor countries.

He said the G77 should raise strong voice against green economy, which would adversely affect poor countries and emerging economies. The developed world would impose issues of compliance on exporters from poor countries and it would lead to export falls.

Khushi Kabir moderated the seminar, which was also addressed, among others, by environmentalist Atiq Rahman, Quamrul Islam Chowdhury and Professor S I Khan.
 
 
 
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