Youths of COY: A brief Q&A with people met at COY13.

Q: Please tell me about yourself

A: I am a Lecturer at the Department of Environmental Science and Management at the prestigious North South University of Bangladesh. I have been teaching from when I was 16 and today, 10 years later I still feel the same positive emotions and passion when I’m able to connect with my students and peers through knowledge distribution. Although I loved teaching from a young age I only became seriously interested in taking it up as a career after I understood that research is the way to go if I want to bring change, small or big. Research is motivated by teaching and vice-versa and hence, the occupation came as second nature; it was meant to be. I completed my Masters in Environmental and Natural Resource Economics from the UK’s Durham University in 2015. My aim is to get a Ph.D. and then a postdoc. in Environmental Valuation and Policy.

Raisa Bashar after a successful project presentation at the 13th Conference of Youth

Q: Could you share with us the paper that you will be presenting at COY?

A: Project Title: Understanding the Difference between Overseas Development Assistance (ODA) and Climate Finance (CF): The Case of Bangladesh

Project Overview and Goals: The research will try to answer questions like how much and for what projects/programs Bangladesh has been receiving bilateral and multilateral CF support and ODA, is that fair & just compared to the climate vulnerabilities Bangladesh faces, whether the level of ODA increasing or decreasing, what are the qualitative differences in projects/programs funded by CF & ODA in Bangladesh and lastly, were there any criteria selected for defining projects as development-focused or climate-focused.

The project will try to find out a methodology to maintain the difference between CF and ODA by reviewing the info. and literature available on the inflow of CF and ODA into BD, look for the ‘additionality’ of funding as CF, over and above ODA, for CC projects and examine Bangladesh’s role, Climate Fund flow, and ODA flow compared to other LDCs. The findings of this research have great public policy relevance, as it will greatly sensitize the government agencies for the mobilization of CF and ODA.

My Involvement: I am an environmental economist with project and research experiences in the field of environmental valuation and climate change. Hence, when Dr. Mizan, the Principal Investigator of the project and a lead climate change negotiator of BD started looking for a person with a background in statistical/economic analysis, with experience to organize workshops at national levels, I successfully got selected as one of the two co-Investigators. Additionally, I want to go for a Ph.D. in a topic which will involve the policy side’s understanding. So, this project seemed like a great opportunity. I could help the climate change affected people by helping the authorities who help the victims and also learn in the process.

Raisa Bashar presenting at a research-related Inception Workshop with her country’s government (DoE, ERD, MoFin.) officials

Q: What inspired you to be involved in the fight against climate change?

A: Truly, I never really wanted to get directly involved with Climate Change. That isn’t my forte. My research interest lies in Environmental Valuation. However, I do want to help people whose lives are negatively affected and sometimes even destroyed due to environmental disasters aggravated by CC. Hence, when I got involved with the project and later, received the opportunity to share the knowledge generated through it at the best youth platform, COY13, I took it up.

Q: In your opinion, what is the most effective way to engage youth in the climate change scene?

A: To get youth involved in climate change related activities would first require an understanding of their Nature. Youth today are digital; they are more connected and knowledgeable than their previous counterparts. To reach them and effectively motivate them in the Climate Change Mitigation movement they need to be taught the bad sides of CC using entertainment like songs, dances, drama, etc.; social media platforms like Facebook should be made more CC-friendly by posting regular adverts and promotional posts to reduce resource consumption and wastage. Moreover, getting youth idols to endorse climate-friendly brands will also inspire the youth to follow.

Q: How should youths learn more about climate finance and how could they advocate for better and more effective climate finance?

A: There are a few ways to do that:

  • Introduction of a mandatory school subject called Environmental Studies (primary and secondary)
  • Attending events like seminars and conferences on climate change
  • Going out and reaching the people affected by climate change to learn from the past mistakes and find ways to solve them

In Bangladesh, dramas related to climate change are shown in rural areas to better educate and aware the youth, so that they can take better measures to adapt to climate change.

Q: What are the key messages you would like to share with youths in general?

A: Climate change cannot be combated through division; it is to be defeated through collaboration. So, let us keep aside our differences and truly work towards what matters, together.

Content and Media Provided by Raisa Bashar

Edited and Arranged by Xiandi