• Thursday, Sep 23, 2021
  • Last Update : 04:50 pm

Government to boost climate resilience of vulnerable people

  • Published at 09:10 pm August 3rd, 2021
Climate Tribune_May 2020_Pg 6-7

A five-year project is on the cards at a cost of $9,212,322

The government is finalizing a project aimed at enhancing the climate resilience of vulnerable communities, who live on coastal islands and riverine chars in the country.

The project, titled “Adaptation Initiative for Climate Vulnerable Offshore Small Islands and Riverine Charland in Bangladesh”, is under process for approval, according to an official document.

Spanning over five years, the project will be implemented by the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change in line with the UNDP’s National Implementation Modality.

The project has four components: the first one deals with enhancing climate resilience of households through climate-resilient housing, electrification and climate-proof water provisioning, and the second is increasing climate resilience of communities through climate-resilient infrastructure, climate risk mapping and inclusive cyclone preparedness.

The third component is improving income and food security of communities by innovating and providing assistance to selected households for climate-resilient livelihood practices while the fourth is boosting knowledge and capacity of communities, government and policymakers to promote climate resilient development on chars.

According to the project proposal, $2,007,828 is needed for component one, whereas $2,317,726, $3,397,068 and $614,700 will be needed for components two, three and four respectively.

The project execution cost has been fixed at $875,000 while the total project cost is $9,212,322.

Implementing entity project cycle management fee of the project is $783,047.

A total of $9,995,369 has been sought from the Washington-based Adaptation Fund (AF) to address the knowledge technical, financial and institutional barriers to climate-resilient housing, infrastructure and livelihoods, the document said.

Resources sought for the AF will be invested in four components.

Firstly, it will assist households to enhance the resilience of their houses and livelihoods to climate change-induced flooding, cyclones, saline intrusion and droughts.

Secondly, it will improve community-level infrastructure, including embankments with modern climate-resilient technology and effective local management practices.

Thirdly, it will assist the Bangladesh Cyclone Preparedness Program (CPP) under the Disaster Management Department, to enhance its activities in the remote coastal char targeted by the project, in order to provide timely early warnings and effective emergency response.

This will be done by expanding the program’s coverage in the area, modernizing its equipment, and making it fully gender-sensitive.

Finally, the technology, approaches and knowledge generated by the project will be used to build the capacity of the local and national government and communities to make climate-resilient investments and policies.

The project will contribute towards the achievement of the government’s national priorities as outlined in the Bangladesh Climate Change Strategy and Action Plan (BCCSAP) and Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC).

Six of the ten near-term areas of intervention identified by the first NDC will be addressed by the project, namely: food security, livelihood and health protection, including water security; comprehensive disaster management; coastal zone management, including saline intrusion control; flood control and erosion protection; climate-resilient infrastructure; and increased rural electrification.

Furthermore, the project is directly aligned with seven of the fourteen broad adaptation actions prioritized by the first NDC, namely: improved early warning systems; disaster preparedness and shelters; protection against tropical cyclones and storm surges; provision of climate-resilient infrastructure and communication; provision of climate-resilient housing;  stress-tolerant crop variety improvement and cultivation; and capacity building at the individual and institutional level to plan and implement adaptation programs and projects.

The project interventions will benefit an estimated 341,000 people (31,000 direct beneficiaries and 310,000 indirect beneficiaries) living on chars in the districts of Rangpur and Bhola.

According to the AF website, the proposal said that Bangladesh has a low-lying topography extremely exposed to sea level rise (SLR), cyclones, tidal surges, salinity intrusion, erratic rainfall, drought and floods, causing it to be one of the world’s most vulnerable countries to climate change.

The vulnerable communities who live on chars — small alluvial islands in rivers and the Bay of Bengal are particularly at risk from climate change.

These communities have already experienced a number of climate change impacts including frequent tidal surges, increasingly intense cyclones and salt water intrusion into freshwater and soil.

Furthermore, climate change is projected to have an adverse impact on agriculture and other local livelihoods; fragile houses, access to drinking water and rural infrastructure, which includes existing cyclone protection embankments.

The impacts of climate change also disproportionately affect the poor and are especially severe for women and children, who are forced to spend a greater portion of their time on livelihood and domestic activities.

Current climate change projections indicate that 50-year floods in the country’s three main river basins will become 40% more likely by 2025, relative to the historical record.

The impacts of climate change on these islands are exacerbated by several baseline factors, including geographic remoteness, topographic position near sea-level, limited public and private infrastructure to withstand climate impacts, poverty of local communities and livelihood practices that are dependent on the availability of freshwater.

On coastal chars (small offshore islands), the houses and livelihoods of communities are damaged by the increasingly frequent and intense cyclones, tidal floods and saline intrusion from climate change, with inadequate protection from the fragile embankment system.

On the inland riverine islands (riverine charland), communities are experiencing increasingly erratic rainfall as a result of climate change, leading to changes in both floods and droughts that their current houses and livelihood practices are unable to withstand.

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