The Bangladesh leader floated a four-point action plan to protect the planet and safeguard biodiversity for sustainable development at a United Nations leaders’ dialogue on Thursday.
“We live in an inter-dependent world where every species on planet earth has a specific role to play in our ecosystem. However, according to the WWF and the Zoological Society of London, the world’s wildlife populations have fallen by an average of 68% just from 1970 to 2016,” she said.
“Bangladesh is heavily dependent on freshwater and freshwater biodiversity is declining at the fastest rate in the world with 85% of global wetlands have already been lost since the Industrial Revolution.”
She also underscored Bangladesh’s commitment to the notion of “urgent action on biodiversity for sustainable development”.
The populations of freshwater mammals, birds, amphibians, reptiles and fishes have fallen by an average of 4 percent each year since 1970, Hasina noted.
“We are aggravating climate change and loss of biodiversity, and as a result, increasing the risk of ‘zoonotic’ diseases like COVID-19.”
In order to protect the planet, the premier called on world leaders to focus on future sustainability while safeguarding biodiversity by creating greater public awareness through the education system and research as well as by strengthening national legislation and monitoring mechanisms.
She also emphasised ensuring global access to benefit-sharing for the true owners of the genetic resources and associated traditional knowledge as a part of her call to action.
The goals of the Paris climate accord must be implemented as it could prove to be “the difference between human extinction and survival,” according to Hasina.
The prime minister also highlighted Bangladesh’s position as one of the few countries in the world to have enacted law to implement the Convention on Biological Diversity.
“Our Parliament passed Bangladesh Biological Diversity Act 2017 aimed at preserving biodiversity. We have declared more than 5 percent of the total terrestrial area and about 5% of the marine area as Protected and Ecologically Critical Areas,” she said.