Noted climate expert Prof Saleemul Huq has passed away

Professor Saleemul Huq, eminent climate change expert and director of the International Centre for Climate Change and Development (ICCCAD), passed away in Dhaka on Saturday night. He was 71.

He died due to a massive cardiac arrest around 10 pm at his Gulshan residence, according to family sources. 

His namaz-e-janaza will be held after Asr prayers at the Gulshan Society Mosque.

Apart from being a director of ICCCAD, he was a professor at Independent University, Bangladesh (IUB).

In a Facebook post, ICCCAD wrote: “A visionary leader who was not only the torch bearer for Bangladesh’s fight against Climate Change but for the entire global community, his unmatched legacy will remain as a shining example for years and generations to come.”

Climate scientist Saleemul Huq was chosen as one of the top ten scientists of 2022 by Nature, the leading international science journal.

Born in 1952, Dr Saleemul received his early education in Germany, Indonesia, and Kenya.

He later received a BSc in Botany from the Imperial College at London University in the United Kingdom in 1975 and a DIC and a PhD in Botany from the same university in 1978.

He was an expert in climate change, environment and development. He worked extensively in the inter-linkages between climate change mitigation, adaptation and sustainable development from the perspective of developing countries, particularly in the least developed countries (LDCs). 

He was a lead author of the chapter on Adaptation and Sustainable Development in the Third Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), and was one of two coordinating lead authors of ‘Inter-relationships between adaptation and mitigation’ in the IPCC’s Fourth Assessment Report (2007).

Dr Huq attended all sessions of the Conference of the Parties (COP) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). 

He had been actively engaged as an adviser on adaptation, loss and damage and climate finance to the Least Developed Countries (LDC) group in the UNFCCC and provided training to LDC negotiators. 

He had also been a board member of the Climate Vulnerability Forum under UNFCCC.

He was awarded the 2020 National Environment Award by the Government of Bangladesh for his contribution to the development of the environment.

Huq was appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the 2022 New Year Honours for services to combating international climate change.

(This article first appeared in Dhaka Tribune.)

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