Saturday, 6 November 2010

Intl' community not doing enough::Rushanara Ali, a Labour MP

The incumbent British government is not focused enough on the issue of climate change, said Rushanara Ali, a Labour MP and junior shadow minister.

"Unfortunately, the government [of Britain] is not talking about climate change as much as we would like them to," the Bangladesh-born UK MP told a press conference on Friday.

Ali arrived in Dhaka on Thursday to observe the proceedings of climate change tribunal organised by Oxfam International.

The tribunal, coordinated by an NGO alliance titled Campaign for Sustainable Rural Livelihoods (CSRL), is scheduled to be held on Monday at the Bangabandhu International Conference Centre.

The 'Shadow Climate Tribunal' aims to find ways to safeguard victims of climate change in a legal context, says a statement by the organisers.

The opposition MP came down hard on the incumbent UK government, saying it decided not to increase aid for the next two years.

"But, the government has committed aid up to 0.7 percent of the gross national income by 2013 and said it would increase aid in the third year," she added.

The shadow minister for international development told that the previous Labour-run government was a lot keener on the issue of climate change.

"Britain under Labour has passed the world's first Climate Change Act, which includes legally binding carbon emission targets," she said.

Touching on her role as a member of the shadow cabinet, Ali said that they would work to keep building the profile of climate change. "It's very important that climate change doesn't go off the agenda."

The Labour Party will continue to support climate change adaptation programmes and push to make the funds meaningful, said Ali.

"I hope to use my position to promote steps to support countries, like Bangladesh, which are affected the most by climate change."

Replying to a query, Ali admitted that the international community was not "doing enough".

"Developed and wealthy nations have a better role to play and they need to be encouraged to do more," she said, apparently supporting Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's recent comment on international community not being serious enough as regards climate change.

She, however, disagreed on the matter of providing opportunities to people of the country affected by climate change to migrate to developed nations.

Finance minister AMA Muhith, in an interview with the Guardian, had said that the developed nations should allow victims of climate change to migrate to their countries, as they are mostly responsible for climate change. "Migration can't be the answer to climate change," Ali said adding that the priority is to make sure that "preventive measures are adopted."

In May 2010, Rushanara Ali was elected a Member of Parliament for Bethnal Green and Bow, where the British-Bangladeshi community constitutes one-third of the population.

She is the first person of Bangladeshi origin to have been elected to the House of Commons and jointly one of the first three Muslim women MPs elected in 2010.

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