On Monday, June 13, at the UN headquarters in New York, the GEF and UNDP jointly launched “Thirty Million”, a new documentary showing the dramatic effects sea level rises has in Bangladesh due to Climate Change.
Bangladesh is predicted to lose 17 percent of its land by the end of the century if global sea levels rise by one meter. That has the potential to displace 30 million Bangladeshis.
The film, Thirty Million, was co-directed by British climate scientist Dr. Daniel Price - who last year cycled from New Zealand to Paris as part of the Pole to Paris campaign - and New Zealand TV journalist Adrien Taylor. The film, financed by UNDP with support from the Least Developed Country Fund of the Global Environment Facility (GEF), was launched by high ranking officials from UNDP, GEF and Bangladesh at an event in the UN Secretariat in New York City.
The film is now available for free viewing online at thirtymillionfilm.org.
“It’s hard for people to grasp the enormity of the issue when we talk about 30 million Bangladeshis at risk of being displaced by climate change and rising seas,” says Dr. Price.“It’s almost ten times the amount of people who have left Syria throughout the crisis there.”
“We’re on the cusp of seeing major human migrations driven by climate change,” adds Mr Taylor.
While “Thirty Million” highlights explicitly the plight of the people of Bangladesh, attendees at the screening in New York emphasized that the global challenge of climate change is everyone’s concern and that more has to be done, sooner and with more intensity, in order to reign in global temperature rise.
"Bangladesh is one of the most climate vulnerable countries on the world, but it is far from the only one,” notes Haoliang Xu, Director of UNDP’s Regional Bureau for Asia Pacific. “Many more than the 30 million in Bangladesh are at risk if we refuse to act and delay investments in adaptation. I am glad that we had the privilege of partnering with the “Thirty Million” and contributing to the production of this powerful statement about the effects of climate change."
The GEF has a significant adaptation portfolio as part of its efforts to combat the negative effects of climate change and invests close to one billion US dollars every year in various environmental areas to help people in 167 countries mitigate effects and increase resilience.
Highlighting GEF’s work on the issue, GEF CEO Naoko Ishii launched a new publication last week: Time to Adapt: Insights from the Global Environment Facility’s Experience in Adaption to Climate Change.
In her foreword, Ishii wrote, “Despite our best efforts to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions, the world is already locked into climate change trajectories that we will have to cope with for many years to come. Indeed, the implementation of the commitments made in the Paris Agreement will only limit average warming to between 2.7-3.7C, confirming the need for continued adaptation measures.
We therefore have no choice. We must continue to invest, more than ever, in the health of the precious natural infrastructure that makes life possible, strategically protecting those existing defenses that, if lost, may greatly worsen the severity of the climate impacts. We must also urgently seize the opportunities that are available for adaptation now, for they may not be available later.”