It is with heavy hearts that we inform you about the passing of one of the founders of the UN’s World Adaptation Science Programme, distinguished Bangladeshi climate scientist Prof. Saleemul Huq. He deceased in Dhaka on 29 October, 2023.
A WASP Member since the establishment of the Programme at the UNFCCC COP24 in December 2018 in Katowice, Poland, Dr. Huq was one of the most eminent and knowledgeable climate adaptation scientists for developing countries. He was named as one of the top ten scientists of 2022 by the scientific journal Nature.
Apart from being one of the Founders of the WASP, a Member of the WASP Policy & Finance Committee and Member of the WASP Working Group on Loss and Damage, Prof. Huq was the Director of the International Centre for Climate Change and Development (ICCCAD) and Professor at the Independent University Bangladesh (IUB) as well as Associate of the International Institute on Environment and Development (IIED) in the United Kingdom. In addition he was the Chair of the Expert Advisory Group for the Climate Vulnerable Forum (CVF) under the UNFCCC and Senior Adviser on Locally Led Adaptation with Global Centre on Adaptation (GCA) headquartered in the Netherlands.
Born in 1952, Dr. Huq received his early education in Germany, Indonesia, and Kenya. He later went and received a BSc in Botany from the Imperial College at London University in the United Kingdom in 1975, and a DIC as well as a PhD in Botany from the same university in 1978.
Saleem was an outstanding expert in adaptation to climate change in the most vulnerable developing countries. He has been a lead author of the third, fourth and fifth assessment reports of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and served as a chapter author in various editions of the WASP-supported and UNEP-led Adaptation Gap Report, AGR. He also 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. In addition he was affiliated with the UN Food System Summit for 2021 as co-chair of the Action Track 5 on Building Resilience to Vulnerabilities, Shocks & Stress.
In August 2023 he was appointed as one of the external members of the UN's Scientific Advisory Board. This further strengthened his commitment to advancing climate science and finding sustainable solutions to the challenges the World faces.
Prof. Huq has published hundreds of scientific as well as popular articles and was recognized as one of the top twenty global influencers on climate change policy in 2019 and top scientist from Bangladesh on climate change science. In 2020 he was awarded the National Environment Award by the Government of Bangladesh for his contribution to the development of the environment and in 2022 he was appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the New Year Honours for services to combating international climate change.
With the passing of Dr. Huq the WASP and the World have lost a friend and visionary leader who was not only the torch bearer for Bangladesh's fight against Climate Change, but for the entire global community – a leading voice in climate change adaptation and sustainable development has left us. His unmatched legacy will remain as a shining example for years and generations to come.
--- World Adaptation Science Programme (WASP), Secretariat, hosted at UNEP, Nairobi