Dr. Urs Herren, Ambassador of Switzerland to Bangladesh, celebrated the National Day of Switzerland by addressing the government and citizens of Bangladesh in a published letter that highlights Swiss dedication to assisting with adaptation to climate change. The letter acknowledged that Switzerland and Bangladesh share the challenge of mitigating, and adapting to, climate change:

“Climate change is a prime example of a global problem that can only be tackled by joining forces and by finding forms of collective burden sharing. To that end, Switzerland remains strongly committed to cooperation in addressing both the causes and the consequences of climate change.”

Bangladesh is one of the ‘Most Vulnerable Countries’ in the world facing challenges of climate change and its current and projected adverse impacts. Through the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), under a community-based disaster risk reduction program, Switzerland is currently constructing a number of Multipurpose Community Based Cyclone Shelters in Bangladesh’s Bagerhat District at a cost of around USD 3.5 million. The project involves removing old, existing shelters and replacing them with new models.

Switzerland is also contributing USD 8 million by 2015 to the Bangladesh Climate Change Resilience Fund (BCCRF) as part of its global commitment to fight climate change. The overall objective behind this support is to help Bangladesh to implement the Bangladesh Climate Change Strategy and Action Plan (BCCSAP), which aims to build a climate-resilient, low-carbon economy.

Switzerland is in the process of parliamentary decision-making to phase out nuclear power by 2034 and to gradually replace it with renewable energy. As a global player in the field of green technology, Switzerland is in position to offer interesting solutions to Bangladesh in the years ahead.

The country welcomed the outcome of the 2010 summit in Cancun, where countries pledged to contribute considerable funds to a new global climate change fund that addresses the adaptation needs of developing countries and helps them to limit their carbon emissions.

The Swiss Parliament has approved an increase in development assistance to 0.5 per cent of Swiss GDP. These additional funds have been earmarked for addressing climate change and water issues in developing nations.

Swiss dedication to addressing issues of climate change adaptation and mitigation is underscored by Zurich Financial Services’ ongoing support of ACT’s work through its North American branches.