S Asian civil society urged to work jointly18 February 2014
Rights activists at a discussion here on Monday urged the civil society members of the South Asian countries to get united to make the governments of Saarc nations to focus more on climate change issues.
They said if the civil society members of the Saarc countries get united, the governments will be more mindful about climate issues.
EquityBD and the Campaign for Sustainable Rural Livelihood (CSRL) with support from the European Union organised the discussion titled
'Climate Change in South Asian Countries: Opportunities and Challenges for Regional Cooperation' at Jatiya Press Club. Moderated by chief moderator EquityBD Rezaul Karim Chowdhury, the discussion was addressed, among others, by former Environment and Forests Minister Dr Hasan Mahmud, eminent environmentalist Dr Atiq Rahaman, Lt Gen (retd) Mahbubur Rahman, director general of Foreign Ministry Reaz Hamiddulah, Asia Regional Policy Coordinator of Oxfam Ziaul Haque Mukta, country director of Oxfam Bangladesh Snehal Soneji, Shamsuddoha of PRDI and Farhana Sharmin of Practical Action.
Dr Sarba Raj Khadka from People's Saarc, a South Asia-based civil society alliance in Nepal; Sanjay Vahsist, coordinator of CANSA (Climate Action Network South Asia), India; and Soumaya Dutta, coordinator of Beyond Copenhagen Collective, India; read out separate papers at the discussion.
Dr Hasan Mahmud said if the countries in the South Asia cooperate according to frame of Thimpu Deceleration (2010), the South Asia will be the region of immense potentiality and surplus energy.
Mahbubur Rahman said, "We have to develop the notion as we are the citizens of South Asia so that we can put pressure on our governments and to make Saarc more active in this regard."
Soumya Dutta of India said the civil society needs to generate alternative community-based information in place of information provided by the World Bank and other agencies to promote poor people' s agenda about climate change. Sanjay Vahsist insisted that there is a need for cooperation among the South Asian countries to form a common climate action while the World Bank is promoting more investments in this regard. Dr Sarba Raj Khadka from Nepal said the People's Saarc, a convergence process of civil society initiative which has started in 1990, revaluates the climate change agenda to make Saarc accountable.