Climate Change: Opportunities for North-South Partnerships

Inclusive Economy29 Jun 2011Farhana Ahmed

In a unique venture of knowledge sharing between the north and south, I and some other selected young professionals from Vietnam, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Mozambique, Ghana and Kenya as well as the Netherlands participated in the workshop. The workshop was exceptional in the sense that it gave young professionals the opportunity to share and gain knowledge and at the same time provide inputs based on their country experiences. Being a representative of the country, all the participants got the chance to reflect on the burning issues of their country that needs to be addressed. Key recommendations that came out of the workshop focused specially on knowledge development, capacity building, knowledge sharing, networking and raising awareness.

For context of this blog item, please read this blog post: Exporting knowledge

From country perspective, Bangladeshi participants provided a complete overview of the vulnerabilities and impacts due to climate change emphasizing that Bangladesh is going to be one of the worst victims of climate change due to sea level rise, more cyclones and floods, droughts etc.

It was nice to visit the Netherlands again, 3 years after I had completed my masters from UNESCO-IHE. Working as a planner in CEGIS, (a public trust under the Ministry of Water Resources), I was able to link to most of the topics that CEGIS is working on like downscaling of climate model, integrated spatial planning, climate change information database and services, climate change knowledge network etc. I shared the experience of working in preparing the Haor Master Plan (HMP) which is more or similar to the ADAPT project (in Peru, Sao Paolo, Ghana, Botswana and Ethiopia) integrating scientific knowledge and social approach through identifying problems and priorities from the local stakeholders and at the same time with the data driven technical support from haor database, models and lining with national policies and strategies. The HMP is being prepared for the seven districts in the northeast region of Bangladesh with a team of multi-disciplinary professionals.

The trip to Rotterdam was an eye opener to see how the Netherlands is adapting itself to climate change by combining spatial planning with science, economics and society. Again, the trip to the world famous Maeslantkering gave us an idea about the water management practices of the Netherlands and how it is incorporated within the Delta plan. The lecture on climate change policy and negotiation by Professor Gupta was interesting. It was a learning experience to see how climate change has developed as a core issue over the years, how it is being represented differently by the developed and the developing countries. Some of the key messages received through the workshop is that adaptation is local and mitigation is a global issue, hence capacity building is a vital requirement. Moreover, the point surfaced that many of the countries lack the technical and financial capacity to implement the adaptation measures.

At the concluding day, organized by CDKN and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, as part of the follow up process the Dutch government expressed hope to support the initiatives as per recommendations of the report.