Teesta erosion has affected more than 2,000 families in Kurigram
Five villages in Kurigram namely Char Gatiashyam, Bogurapara, Khitab Khan, Nakenda and Dhusmara of Gharialdanga union of Rajarhat Upazila have been completely washed away by Teesta erosion recently.
This has affected more than 2,000 families and destroyed social infrastructures including several mosques, a government primary school, community clinic, among others, adds the statement.
In addition to river erosion and floods, different climate-related vulnerabilities like cold waves, heatwaves and ever-increasing climate-induced migration were reported in Kurigram district.
This is why this district has been selected for the National Adaptation Plan (NAP) formulation consultation.
On Monday, a district level consultation workshop on the formulation of NAP was organized by the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Economic Relations Division (ERD) and United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) with support from the Green Climate Fund (GCF).
The consultation workshop was held on Monday in Kurigram at the conference room of the office of the Deputy Commissioner, read a press release.
Additional Secretary of the Environment Ministry and National Project Director of the NAP Formulation Project Md Mizanul Haque Chowdhury was present as the chief guest.
Additional Secretary of the ministry Sanjay Kumar Bhowmik, Deputy Director of Local Government in Kurigram Jilufa Sultana and Superintendent of Police Syeda Zannat Ara were also present as special guests. Deputy Commissioner of Kurigram Md Rezaul Karim chaired the consultation workshop.
While delivering the keynote presentation, Professor Ainun Nishat, lead consultant of the NAP formulation team, discussed the changing patterns of the climate that is taking a heavy toll on life and livelihood of the marginal communities, biodiversity conservation, food production, agriculture, coastal regions, fisheries, and more.
In this regard, NAP will identify both immediate, medium and long-term climate change-related potential adaptation options.
Emphasising the resource mobilization, Mirza Shawkat Ali, director (Climate Change) of Department of Environment and deputy national project director of the NAP Formulation Project, said: “In addition to domestic resources, Bangladesh will need bilateral and multilateral resources for effective implementation.”
Focusing on the vulnerability of women and children, Deputy Director of the Directorate of Women Affairs Shahana Akter said: “Climate change is creating seasonal and forced migration in the char areas and making the women and children more vulnerable.
“We can innovate projects to support the livelihood of the vulnerable women and take special measures to reduce the health hazards of children.”
Journalist Shafi Khan said: “Teesta basin is one of the most erosion-prone areas in Bangladesh affecting the char people. Therefore, NAP needs to encourage innovative and smart agriculture to reduce the vulnerability of the farmers living in the char areas and create market access for their economic empowerment”
Civil Surgeon Dr Md Habibur Rahman said: “Over the past 41 years, Teesta and Brahmaputra rivers have shifted 3km and 11km respectively. We are confronting a much bigger climate crisis than we had expected.”
Quoting the high number of deaths of children during floods S M Harunur Rashid Lal Executive Director of Solidarity said: “Children comprise almost 70% deaths caused by floods – we need to seriously look into making our homes resilient to reduce this.”
Special Guest Sanjay Kumar Bhowmik said: “We need to look into the local context in preparing the NAP and give ownership to the local community for successful implementation.”
Special Guest Jilufa Sultana said: “We need to raise awareness at household and individual levels to reduce carbon emission.”
Chief Guest Md Mizanul Haque Chowdhury said: “Whatever we do to fight climate change, there is no other alternative but to raise awareness to reduce carbon and greenhouse gas emission if we want to save the earth.”
Mr Arif Faisal, programme specialist of UNDP, said: “Testa and Dhorola could be valuable natural resources if we could manage it properly and introduce basin-wide river management and put emphasis on the use of surface water instead of groundwater.”
Deputy Commissioner Md Rezaul Karim thanked the participants and concluded: “Now that we have a developed infrastructure, we need to carefully plan the urbanization and industrialisation.
“Waste management is quite important to arrest the greenhouse gas emission.”
Findings from the series of consultations that have already been held in several districts and to be held in other climate-vulnerable districts will provide valuable insights into the formulation of this very important national plan. Emphasis is being given on the local vulnerability, adaptive capability and capacity development needs of the local communities.