Page last updated at 13:18 GMT, Tuesday, 8 December 2009

Bangladesh seeks 15% of any UN climate fund

Locals on Gabura Island reinforce mud clay sea defences, south Bangladesh
Up to 20 million people will be affected by rising sea levels in Bangladesh

Bangladesh says it will ask for at least 15% of any money which rich countries pledge to help developing nations cope with climate change.

Environment Minister Hasan Mahmud said Bangladesh was entitled to a big share of the money because it was the country most vulnerable to climate change.

He said 20 million Bangladeshis will be displaced if the sea rose by a metre.

Developed countries are discussing a so-called climate adaption fund at the UN summit in Copenhagen.

It is unclear how big any such fund would be, but UN officials have suggested a sum of about $30bn is needed in the short-term.

Technology transfer

Dhaka has said it hopes to receive about $5bn (£3bn) over five years to combat the effects of climate change.

"We are the most vulnerable country to climate change and the world has already recognised that we need assistance for adaptation," Mr Mahmud told a news conference in Dhaka.

The minister said that in addition to the millions who would be displaced by rising sea levels, many more would be affected if glaciers in the Himalayas melted due to global warming.

"The population of our one coastal district is bigger than the entire population of all island countries and in that consideration at least 15% of any climate fund should come to us."

Another demand of Bangladesh at the conference is easy transfer of technology from developed countries to those most vulnerable.

"We are not begging any mercy from anyone. Rather we want justice as the worst victim of climate change," Reuters news agency quoted Qazi Kholiquzzaman Ahmad, a leading economist who is also part of the Bangladesh negotiating team, as saying.

According to new research data made available in September this year, up to 20 million people in low-lying Bangladesh are at risk from rising sea levels in the coming decades.

Scientists predicted that salty water could reach far inland, making it hard to cultivate staple foods like rice.

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