Facilitate Climate Migrants to Free Movement across South Asian Countries

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Index_85Katmandu, Nov 23, 2014: Speakers at a seminar on Sunday said, roles of SAARC countries in the UN process on climate change are not unified. They said, we need unified position from the SAARC countries in negotiation process in the UNFCC because there are other groups like LDC / MVC (Least Developed Countries / Most Vulnerable Country) and G-77 etc.

The seminar workshop titled “Alternative People’s regionalism: Review SAARC declaration on climate change from the people’s perspective”, held at Women Development Training Centre of Lulitpur district adjacent to the capital Katmandu in Nepal. Speakers in the seminar said, consecutive SAARC Declaration on climate change from Dhaka and Thimphuare inadequate to serve the interest of the people of the region.

Nine civil society organizations from the South Asia regions, ie, Beyond Copenhagen, PARIVI, CECOEDECON and BJVJ, these four organizations from India, ANFPa and RRN two organization from Nepal, BAPA, Khani Bangldesh, CSRL and EquityBD have organized the workshop as a part of a 3-day long People’s SAARC regional Convergence being held in Lulitpur district started on this Saturday, 22 November 2014. People’s SAARC Regional Convergence, is a south Asian mega event of civil society. Note that this is a parallel event of 18th SAARC summit to be held in Katmandu during 26th to 28th November.

Moderated by BAPA secretary General Dr Abdul Matin, the workshop was addressed by president of Bangladesh Krisok Federation, Mr. Badrul Alam, Prof Dr.Keshab Khadka and Balram Banskota of Nepal, Ujjayani Halim and Soumya Dutta of India. Mustafa Kamal Akanda of Equitybd presented the keynote paper in the workshop.

Addressing the workshop Mr. Badrul Alam demanded justice for the climate migrants as well as conservation of biodiversity. He also emphasized on the use of grassroots knowledge in managing the situation. Balram Banskota said in his speech, we must consider the struggle against capitalism and neo-liberalism.

Dr Abdul Matin said that, Dhaka and Thimphu declaration of SAARC on climate change should be reviewed. He added, Connectivity should be used for the interest of the people of the region like visa free trans-boundary movement, opening rail and road communication between all the SAARC countries and allowing the climate migrants to freely move across all the countries for their livelihood.

In his keynote paper Mustafa Kamal Akanda underscored the need for facilitating climate migrants and their free movement throughout the SAARC countries. He also demanded for open employment access within the SAARC countries as well as demilitarization and redirect that invest towards people’s wellbeing.

Soumya Dutta from India said, we need alternative regionalism overarching goal of people’s welfare and a visa free regime with access in employment opportunity for people irrespective of religion and country. He also mentioned that most of the declaration commitment from Dhaka and Thimphu summit on climate change is hardly implemented.He urged the SAARC governments to form an Inter-Govemental Expert group on climate change as well as to establish SAARC climate change fund along with technology development in South Asia.

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