Global Warming Alert For Bahrain



Experts predict that a one-metre sea level rise could flood 10 per cent of Bahrain’s coastal areas, said UN resident co-ordinator and UN Development Programme resident representative Sayed Aqa.

"This represents land reclamation efforts of the last 30 years," he told the UN Day celebration at the UN House yesterday.

Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Dr Nazar Al Baharna was the keynote speaker at the meeting, which was attended by ambassadors and heads of various UN agencies.

The Bahrain UN team has chosen climate change as the theme for this year’s UN Day celebration, said Mr Aqa.

"Although climate change scenarios are based on predictions, it is inevitable that small state islands like Bahrain, will be among the most affected areas of the world," he added.

"A serious threat for small islands is sea-level rise. Current estimates of future global sea-level rise of 5mm per year (with a range of two to 9mm/year) represent a rate that is two to four times higher than what has been experienced globally over the past 100 years.

"Although the level of vulnerability will vary from island to island, it is expected that practically all small island states will be adversely affected by sea-level rise.

"Negative affects will range from household level impacts on livelihoods, to wider effects on national economies."

Dr Al Baharna, who reiterated Bahrain’s commitment to the principles of the United Nations, said Bahrain has drawn up a strategy to combat the direct and indirect danger of the climate change.

"Climate change is one of the most important and complex challenges facing humanity in the 21st Century," he noted.

"The former UN General Assembly president, Bahrain’s Shaikha Haya bint Rashid Al Khalifa, confirmed in her farewell speech in the 61st UN session on September 17 this year, that the climate change issue has become a reality.

"She talked about the danger of climate change in the world environment and its effects on water, air and soil."

Dr Al Baharna praised new UN secretary-general Ban Ki- moon’s initiative to hold a high-level meeting on climate change challenges.

UNDP assistant administrator and regional director for Arab states Amat Al Alim Alsoswa also spoke.

Both Mr Aqa and Ms Alsoswa congratulated Bahrain’s leadership and people for the numerous achievements in the national reform agenda.

They also hailed the kingdom’s development at the international level, with the historic presidency of the UN General Assembly and the positive contributions made by Shaikha Haya during her term and with the awarding the UN Habitat Award to Prime Minister Shaikh Khalifa bin Salman Al Khalifa.

Unchecked climate change has profound implications for human development, said Mr Aqa.

He said Bahrain was aware of the possible impacts of global warming and praised the Prime Minister’s recent move to establish a climate change committee to look into the issue and refocus Bahrain’s efforts.

A recent Poverty-Environment Partnership report estimates that $ 60 billion to $ 90bn (BD22.6bn to BD34bn) per year will be needed to address the environmental issues that contribute to poverty in developing nations, said Mr Aqa.

He said GCC countries could be at the forefront in investing in clean energy technologies, because of plentiful source sof solar and wind energy, adequate technological research infrastructure and financial capital and friendly investment environment.

"Climate change is not a distant future threat. It is now widely accepted that humanity faces a relatively brief window of opportunity to address the threats posed," said Mr Aaqa. "National leadership and international co-operation are the twin keys to success."

Schoolchildren who took part in a painting competition for the World Peace Day displayed their paintings at the celebration, under the directives of leading Bahraini artist Abbas Al Mousawi.



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