A session titled “Research/policy interface for National Adaptation Plan” hosted by UNEP, UNDP was held at Independent University, Bangladesh (IUB) as a part of Gobeshona 6, a four-day conference.
The keynote addresser of the session was Dr. Nurul Quadir, Additional Secretary, Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate, Government of Bangladesh. The session moderator was Ms. Rohini Kohli, United Nations Development Programme, Asia and the Pacific Office and Mr. Mozaharul Alam, Regional Coordinator, Climate Change Programme, Asia and the Pacific Office, UNEP. The respective presenters/panelists were Mr. Mozaharul Alam, Ms. Rohini Kohli, Prof. Dr. Mizan Khan, Mr. Ajay Bhakta, Ms. Ugyen Yangchen, Mr. David Mfitumukiza, Mr. Henri Mathieu Lo, Prof. Dr. Mizan Khan, Mr. Maheshwar Dhakal and Mr. David Keith.
The keynote address of the session was given by Mr. Nurul Quadir. He began his speech by stating how the Least Developed Countries (LDCs) were the most vulnerable to climate change impacts and how they were bound to adapt to the situation. He explained how the people of the affected areas tried to find their way back to normal lives by migrating to different areas. Which was clearly an example of lack of awareness on the adaptation plan process among the vulnerable population. It also notifies us about the alarming increase in the amount of burden that the non-affected areas bear by keeping their doors open for the vulnerable ones. Therefore, he said that the NAP process could pace a pathway for developing a country’s finance because more adaptation practices lead to less mitigation. He also added that the implementation of the NAP process is equivalent to the achievement of Sustainable Development Goals (SDG).
Mr. Mozaharul Alam started off his speech saying that without the participation of multiple disciplinary people, a process could not be conducted easily. He said “The climate that we’re facing today, the problem that we’re addressing now, is not constant”. In his speech, he emphasised more on the diversity of knowledge as it was a dynamic way of integrating processes in multiple sectors. He suggested that both the researchers and scientists should be in the front line to help and contribute in the knowledge of climate prospects.
Then, the session moderator Ms. Roini Kohli came upfront discussing the components of adaptation planning. Those were –
- Building the evidence base
- Strengthening institutional mechanisms and capacity
- Enhancing the monitoring systems for adaptation and the evaluation of impacts of adaptation actions
- Integration/mainstreaming into national, sectoral and local plans and budgets
- Scaling up investments from domestic, vertical and bilateral funds and facilitating private sector’s engagement.
She also presented some examples of different countries (Liberia, Bhutan, Somalia, Senegal, Myanmar and Bangladesh) on how the involvement of the universities were leading them towards development in the adaptation process.
During the panel discussion, Ms. Ugyen described how they had been allowing their students to be taught Climate Smart Agriculture, a module on agriculture management. The other panelist, Mr. Ajay said that universities, not being a part of the NAP process, was causing a drawback. He promptly said that the engagement of people not only at the personal level but also at the institutional level could help keep the consistency in following up to knowledge for better understanding the issues. Regarding the adjustment from the academic side to the policy makers, Mr. David said that a strong aspect of supply-demand was needed that ties into action. According to Mr. Mizan, strong focus of policy makers on problems and research were needed. He said that the direction of changes were needed to advocate; the commission research that the ministry bought, organized a short time research process in both the national and international level.
In the open discussion,,
Mr. Mizan said that specific specialists such as faculties need to be interacted more with the government. He also added that NAP must ensure the involvement of local governments and NGOs as well. While Mr. Ajay suggested that partnership with local governments might become a comparative advantage for the universities.
At the end of the session, Ugyen felt important about having forums that ensured direct dialogues with policy makers within the country.
The panelist Mr. David, framing the suggestion and question said that the government was using research consultants so that universities could incorporate with the government and stakeholders to understand their research, and other proactive things to carry out our research needs.
Lastly, Mr. Mozahaarul Alam said how the universities and research institutions were working in the capacity building in order to generate knowledge and collaborate in a wide range.
After several presentations and a phase with the personal perspectives of the panelists followed by a panel discussion, the whole session framed up how knowledge could take a huge part strongly in establishing the NAP process by simply with the collaboration and coordinated communication between policy makers and educational institutions.
Safa Azad is an Environmental Management student at IUB.