No minute to lose; act to accelerate adaptation: WB CEO


World Bank chief executive officer Kristalina Georgieva on Wednesday said they have no time to lose but act to accelerate adaptation for protecting the loss of lives and livelihoods with a more resilient world in place.

‘Time isn’t our friend. We’ve no minute to lose. We ought to accelerate adaptation. This is what our Commission is determined to do,’ she said while addressing the inaugural session of the ‘Dhaka Meeting of the Global Commission on Adaptation’ at Hotel Intercontinental.

Appreciating Bangladesh’s achievements since independence, the WB CEO said the country has proven the most important message that development is the best resilience builder.

‘Thank you (Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina) for leading the world on adaptation,’ said Georgieva mentioning that she was dreaming of this moment to come to Bangladesh since she was in high school and the country got its independence.

Prime minister Sheikh Hasina inaugurated the event. Marshall Island president Hilda Heine, chair of the commission and former UN secretary general Ban Ki-moon, foreign minister AK Abdul Momen and environment, forests and climate change minister Md Shahab Uddin also spoke on the occasion.

Georgieva said she has admired the remarkable success since 1972 noting that 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 per cent.

‘It’s a country with high population density. It has managed to bring down population growth by mostly empowering women bringing girls school and creating jobs,’ she said adding that development is the best resilience builder.

Georgieva said she is very impressed by what Bangladesh has demonstrated to the rest of the world, despite its own problems, it can show compassion to those who are fleeing for their lives (Rohingyas).

‘I very humbly want to say thank you (Sheikh Hasina). You’re an example for the world to follow,’ she said giving a look at prime minister Hasina.

Justifying the convening of the meeting in Dhaka, Georgieva said it is the epicentre what climate risks mean and also how action can make people protected against climate risks.

Bangladesh was ranked number one economy at risk of climate change by the climate change vulnerability index in 2014.

‘But it’s a source of place where early warning system bringing people to safety. We’ve seen incredible ingenuity in dealing with climate change,’ she said.

Georgieva said she used to tell a story 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.’

She said there will be at least four dollars of benefits from preventing higher damage against every dollar investment.

On Tuesday, the World Bank chief executive officer said Bangladesh has shown the world what can be done through disaster preparedness and adaptation despite being extremely vulnerable to climate change