Bangladesh PM wins UN environment prize

Dhaka, Sep 15 (IANS) Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has won a top UN environment award – Champions of the Earth (Policy Leadership category) – for 2015, the media reported on Tuesday.

The UN Environment Programme (UNEP) said Hasina will accept the award at a ceremony in New York on September 27, bdnews24 reported.

“This is in recognition of Bangladesh’s far-reaching initiatives to address climate change,” the UNEP said in a media release.

“Serving as Prime Minister of Bangladesh – one of the world’s least-developed countries – Sheikh Hasina has proven that investing in climate change is conducive to achieving social and economic development,” the release added.

Bangladesh is one of the world’s most populated countries (160 million) and one of the most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change.

Cyclones, floods and droughts have long been part of the country’s history, but they have intensified in recent years.

The Champions of the Earth award in the Policy Leadership category recognises “Bangladesh’s first-off-the-block initiatives under Prime Minister Hasina’s government to prepare the ecologically fragile country for the challenges it faces from climate change,” the UNEP statement added.

Bangladesh is also the first country to set up its own Climate Change Trust Fund supported by nearly $300 million of domestic resources from 2009-2012.

The government currently earmarks 6-7 percent of its annual budget – some $1 billion – on climate change adaptation, with only 25 percent of this coming from international donors.

A ‘Climate Change Fiscal Framework’ is also in the works to enable the government to track the demand and supply of climate change funds.

The annual Champions of the Earth award is the highest environmental accolade that the UN can confer upon outstanding individuals and organisations.

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