Staff Correspondent: World Bank CEO Kristalina Georgieva has highlighted Bangladesh’s achievements since independence and said the country has proven “the most important” message that “development is the best resilience builder”.
“I was dreaming of this moment to come to Bangladesh since I was in high school and the country got its independence,” Georgieva said speaking at the inauguration of the Dhaka meeting of the Global Commission on Adaptation yesterday.
Former UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon is the chair of the Commission. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina was present as the chief guest.
Before the inauguration, Georgieva and Ban Ki-moon met the prime minister.
“I have admired the remarkable success since 1972,” Georgieva said in her speech.
“Per capita income has gone up from $100 to $1,500, and Bangladesh is well on track by 2030 to bring poverty down to under 3 percent. It is a country with high population density. It has managed to bring down population growth mostly empowering women.”
“Bangladesh is on the front line of climate crisis,” she said.
“I am very impressed what the country has demonstrated to the rest of the world that even face with its own problems, it can show compassion to those who are fleeing,” she said about the Rohingyas who got shelter in Bangladesh.
“I very humbly want to say Thank you (Sheikh Hasina). You are an example for the world to follow,” she said, looking at the prime minister.
She said they are convening the meeting here in Dhaka because “it is the epicentre what climate risks mean and also how action can make people protected against climate risks.”
“Time is not our friend. We have no minute to lose. If we have to protect loss of lives and livelihood, we ought to accelerate adaptation. This is what our mission wants to do. No minute to waste,” she said.
“Bangladesh in 2014 was ranked number one economy at risk of climate change by the climate change vulnerability index.
“But it is a source of place where early warning system bringing people to safety. We can see incredible ingenuity in dealing with climate change.”
Georgieva said her favourite story she used to tell everywhere is how the communities of Bangladesh came up with very “smart adaptation” measures from switching chickens to ducks because when floods come chickens die, ducks swim.
“We at the Bank are very proud to be your partner.”
In addressing climate change, adaptation must be on equal footing with mitigation and adaptation is cost-effective, she said. “For every dollar investment, there will be at least four dollars of benefits from preventing higher damage.”