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বাংলা
Dhaka Tribune

Capacitate, activate, amplify

How the haors of Bangladesh are frequently excluded in terms of climate adaptation

Update : 09 Jan 2023, 05:58 PM

Like many other young professionals working in the sphere of climate change, we were delighted to take a chance on the Catalytic Grant Gobeshona Global Conference Phase-II opportunity. While we have always been enthusiastic about making a difference, the desire to empower and assist grassroots organizations, to pursue locally driven adaptation solutions is what drew us as team LYLA to the grant.

Our team explored a few potential ideas on how we want to utilize the funding; where we want to focus our efforts; and how we would combine the principles of Locally Led Adaptation (LLA), among other things, until we felt certain that we had a bold proposal that suited the phase-II of the grant.

Initially, the group identified a climate financing shortfall, particularly in the community development of Bangladesh's haors (wetlands). Bangladesh's haors are likewise endangered due to the ongoing threat to their ecosystem as climate change has also had a significant influence on them (BDP2100). Flash floods devastate the region usually every two or three years (the floods in Sunamganj in the year 2022 bared witness), destroying its boro crops, which are the sole source of income for the majority of the people who live there. 

While the social and economic aspects of those who live in the haors are hampered, putting the future of the generations at risk, our future local leaders must be prepared with skills, knowledge, technology, and networks to adapt to the local climatic climate and enhance their resilience. It is critical to safeguard this region from additional loss in the face of climate change and heightened catastrophic risk.   

In an increasingly perilous scenario with a big knowledge gap, particularly technological understanding for early warning of floods or flash floods, and low awareness of climate change, particularly among the haor region's young community, we designed the project Local Youth Led Adaptation (LYLA) leveraging our experience as skilled practitioners with training expertise, local youth mobilization, and adept research and communication skills.

The project has been formulated to capacitate, activate, and amplify resilience by (i) Assisting youth actors in shifting their incentives toward building a resilient community and (ii) Providing a way to aggregate local adaptation efforts.

Three of the eight Locally Led Adaptation principles, in particular Principle 2: Addressing structural inequities experienced by women, youth, children, handicapped and displaced persons, indigenous peoples, and marginalized ethnic groups; Principle 4: Investing in local competencies to leave a legacy, Principle 5: Developing a solid grasp of climate change risk and uncertainty, to empower and mobilize youths to take action, has been incorporated in project design.

Furthermore, the SDG-13 objective to “take immediate action to prevent climate change and its consequences” has been given high priority in the design of the framework and theory of change.

With the support from the Catalytic Grant Program, Climate Justice Resilient Fund (CJRF), Global Resilience Partnership (GRP), and International Centre for Climate Change and Development (ICCCAD), the team has formed a group of eight young individuals from Tahirpur and Sunamgang Upazilla. Initially, it was quite challenging to reach the specific group of participants at targeted areas as the haor people live with limited access to connectivities and information (road and internet).

The LYLA team circulated openings for participation through different social media as well as different youth networks, university and school networks and came up with the group. These groups are being capacitated with training interventions and mentorship, allowing them to raise awareness in their communities, and collect information and stories of how climate change is impacting their community. Currently, we are developing the training modules and mentoring material based on their understanding and local context and planning for specific outcomes that will help us to reach the overall goal of this project.

This exercise conducted by team LYLA seeks to capture lived experience and cultivate their community best practices carried forward for their climate resilience. As change-makers, they will be able to share their story and voice on local, national as well as global platforms and work with different youth networks.

The haors of Bangladesh are frequently disregarded in terms of climate adaptation interventions; effort is mostly centred in the country's south; due to ongoing saline intrusion, cyclone prevalence, and other discourse. Additionally, the potential of youth as prominent players in the battle against climate change is discussed but seldom implemented.

The talks during this year's Second Gobeshona Global Conference (2022) and at some of the COP27 side events broadly aroused the potential of youth in accelerating LLA best practices. As a team, we are putting our thoughts and efforts towards harnessing local youths' innate inventive ability by offering chances to build solutions and contribute to community resilience through the seed funding of this catalytic grant we have been awarded. 

We seek to come back in a year to weigh how much our strategic pathways have resulted in the outcomes we seek to draw from our project LYLA.

Rukhsar Sultana is a member of Team LYLA (winner of Catalytic Grant Gobeshona Phase II) and works at ActionAid Bangladesh as a Programme Officer, can be reached at ([email protected]). Juel Mahmud is a member of Team LYLA (winner of Catalytic Grant Gobeshona Phase II) and works as a Researcher. Tabia Tasnim Anika is a member of Team LYLA (winner of Catalytic Grant Gobeshona Phase II) and is a student at Shahjalal University of Science and Technology. This article reflects on team LYLA's Catalytic Grant journey, it doesn't represent the views of any organization mentioned or any professional affiliations of the authors.

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