The inaugural lecture by Prof Saleemul Huq of International Centre for Climate Change and Development (ICCCAD) was held on March 2, 2020 at Independent University, Bangladesh(IUB), acknowledging Saleemul Huq’s Contribution in climate change and work by ICCCAD.
Professor Dr Milan Pagon Vice-Chancellor at IUB, acting as the chair to the event acknowledged Prof Saleemul Huq and ICCCAD’s activities in contextualizing climate change over the last decade. He officially welcomed Saleemul Huq as a professor at IUB.
Prof Abdul Khaleque, Dean SESM gave a brief background on Huq’s extensive research in climate change, saying Huq is a pride for IUB and Bangladesh as he was rankedamong “World’s 100 Most Influential People in Climate Policy for 2019.”
Saleemul Huq thanked IUB for inaugurating him as a professor. He talked on ICCCADs Journey over the last decade, highlighting how ICCCAD has been working to bring climate change negotiations in the global platform.
ICCCAD has the mission of becoming a global centre of excellence, and building capacity in the global south has been a major goal for the organization. ICCCAD works on building long term network and affiliation which is why the centre has over 1000 alumni.
“We are building social capital in terms of friendships and relationship over time,” said Huq. “Over the last 10 years, the Centre has run Master’s Program with IUB and over 40 short courses. We have stayed in touch with many of our alumni and that is how our network grows every year. The Centre has quite a large number of visitors, researchers, and many of them come from least developed country.”
ICCCAD is also building capacity via the knowledge management platform, of Gobeshona, a web portal- a and a searchable database of Bangladesh researchers document. Gobeshona is also an Annual Conference organized by ICCCAD every year in January at IUB. Going forward this Gobeshona conference aims to become a global event, where knowledge on adaptation to climate change is exchanged.
Under the policy advocacy component of ICCCAD, the centre has a memorandum of understanding with various government agencies, under which ICCCAD is involved in building the capacity of Government officials. One of the modalities under which this is achieved is via the Learning Hub events (LHE). These events focus on facilitating officials on long term climate issues, in order for them to incorporate these issues into their activities.
Not only in the national level, but ICCCAD has also taken the topic of capacity building in the global level, said Huq. Until COP 21, there was zero money spent in any country to build capacity on climate change. ICCCAD changed that narrative by organizing the Capacity Building Day from COP 23. Under article 11 ICCCAD started a Capacity Building(CB) Day, and the first capacity building day was held on COP 23, the following year in COP 24. Going into COP26 ICCCAD aims to make a big event of CB day.
Prof Huq ended his lecture on the proposition that CB day should be publicized; it needs more prominence in COP going forward, as capacity building is based on Knowledge, and with ICCCAD being hosted under IUB, the legacy of capacity building will continue in the years to come.
Judith Herbertson, Head of DFID, Bangladesh, highlighted the work being done by DFID on capacitating NGOs and other development workers in preparation for COP. Herbertson said that DFID has been working behind the scene in preparation for the upcoming COP, and their work goes beyond December. Herbertson said she admired ICCCAD for successfully executing investing in social capital for the last 10 years.
Sudipto Mukerjee Resident Representative of UNDP Bangladesh said that UNDP remains committed to Climate actions, Branding Bangladesh and making Bangladesh a global leader of Adaptation. He mentioned that in the last two years Bangladesh has transitioned from becoming a net importer of Southern expertise to a net exporter of Southern expertise.
“We need to go beyond government, we need to work with all sectors, and it can be achieved through behavioral change. At the end of the day, it is the young people who have to make things happen. It’s important that we raise voice to mobilize resource and capacitate ourselves,” Mukerjee said.
Nurul Quadir, Additional Secretary (retd) with the Ministry of Environment and Forest said Bangladesh needs to be ready and build the capacity to achieve sustainable development. “To ensure this we need to focus on capacity building and it is great that ICCCAD is focusing on the important issue. We have to be mindful that 6 days of negotiations in not enough for capacity building. Therefore we have to take this beyond COP 26 in Glasgow to get things going,” he said.
A Matin Chowdhury, Chairman of the Board of Trustee of IUB, thanked Prof Huq for his allegiance to IUB and congratulated ICCCAD for putting IUB in the international climate change discourse.