The attacks in Paris on November 13 came as surprise, catching attention of every corner of the world. From then on, the issue has dominated the public domain, from conventional news media to social media, to international conferences and summits. Now that the protest and processions are banned during the United Nations Climate Change Conference (UNCCC) at Paris due to fear of further attacks, it seems the spirit of the Conference may be lost from its core aim – “climate change”.
On November 13, in the midst of a friendly football match between French and Germany, sudden explosions outside the stadium created panic among the ones, including the French President Francois Hollande, who were present there, only to learn that further shootings are taking place outside the stadium. More than 100 people were already dead and many more were already injured before the police took down most of the shooters. Political leaders from across the globe did not waste much time to come up with statements condemning the attack. Hollande vowed strong military response against ISIS, which claimed the responsibility for the attacks, and French airstrikes in Syria has been intensified accordingly.
The suspected leader of the shooters, alongwith other suspects, except one, were killed during a raid in Paris suburb aftermath of the attack. The armed forces, who carried out the raid, confirmed that they were equipped enough with arms and ammunition to carry out more attacks in France and other parts of western Europe. ISIS has sworn for more assault on Western soil.
Ban of protests and marches during Climate conference amid fear of fresh attacks
Protests, marches and other outdoor activities take place during every international conferences and summits to express both the supporting and the opposing views regarding various concerned issues related to the events. However, the protests, marches and other outdoor activities during the Paris climate conference, which will be held from November 30 to December 11, have been banned due to security reasons. The government claims that intelligence sources warned them of threats of attacks during the conference, and therefore, through such ban, the government intend to prevent attacks in the guise of protests or marches.
Paris attack dominated all subsequent Summits and Conferences
The G20 Summit, the ASEAN Summit and the East Asian Summit took place this month subsequent to the Paris attacks. Although the G20 is an economic platform, this year’s Summit in Turkey was mostly dominated by the Paris attack issue. The same issue also filled a sizable space in the ASEAN and East Asian Summit, both of which are primarily meant to address issues like regional economic integration, regional disputes and regional stability.
- The world started to become more concerned to find solutions to the likes of Paris attacks and it is very pleasant to see such an urge. However, all the meetings and discussions on the issues delivered just words, but so far failed largely to deliver actions. Even the G20 Summit, the ASEAN Summit and the East Asian Summit became a talk-shop on Paris attack. But no solutions came out of these talks. Instead, the purpose of these summits and conferences are largely ignored in the attempt to put too much focus on Paris attack. Therefore, the stake-holding countries like Bangladesh must make sure that Paris Climate Conference does not lose its focus on climate change and environmental protection issues, and should not become a mere talk shop for Paris attack.
- Is the excuse of further attacks being used in order to suppress the voice of the ones who opposes to recognize economic interest over environmental protection? Are the major carbon emitters scheming for avoiding a framework regarding the climate change or for making a weaker framework? A Brazilian journalist recently expressed his far-reaching view at a program in CCTV News channel, where he impliedly directed to the theory that whether Paris attack was facilitated from certain corner in order to shift the focus from too much environmental concern to security threats. Such a perception is still a theory though.
- The rich global north, whose sufferings from climate change is too little to bother them, are putting their immediate comfort and economic security ahead of the suffering and survival of some of the poorest and most vulnerable people on earth. Through the decision to ban the protests and marches, which are the most important spaces for voicing the concerns of climate-impacted people, a wealthy western country (little affected by climate change) is putting their security concerns over the interests of the poorer southern countries (whose coastal inhabitants have been fighting for survival against the environmental odds). The attitude from the global north is clear; “our security is non-negotiable, yours is up for grabs”.
- People unfortunately take for granted the notion that climate change is a minor issue, especially when serious issues like war and terrorism are taking centre stage. However, we should remind ourselves that it is the Tsunami that took hundreds of thousands of lives. It is very important to understand that global warming causes rise in sea-levels that gradually erase whole nations and also causes droughts that kill many thousands. Superstorms steal thousands of lives in a single roiling event. When governments in developed north knowingly fail to act to prevent catastrophic warming, that is an act of violence – similar to that of the Paris attack.
- Countries like Bangladesh, Myanmar & Maldives, who are the major victims of climate change with the worst victimization still awaiting, should make sure that the climate conference should not only focus entirely on climate issues, but also should set constructive policies and framework, with the intension to deliver them in years to come.
Bahauddin Foizee is an international affairs analyst, and writes on Middle Eastern, greater Asia-Pacific & European geopolitics. Also a campaigner for environmental and social awareness, Bahauddin Foizee occasionally writes on environment and refugee issues.