Asian Development Bank has provided $82m in loans and $12m in grants to protect coastal towns from the ravages of natural disasters and climate change.
Climate change and variability are critical development issues for Bangladesh, particularly in its low lying coastal areas naturally exposed to sea level rise, storm surges, and more frequent and intense storm events.
The government, in its Sixth Five-Year Plan, has targeted assistance to vulnerable coastal populations with improvements in climate resilient water supply, sanitation, drainage, urban roads and bridges, solid waste management, slum improvements, and transport facilities and flood protection infrastructure.
To achieve the target, Joint Secretary of Economic Relations Division (ERD) Saifuddin Ahmed and ADB Country Director, Bangladesh Kazuhiko Higuchi signed the agreements on behalf of their respective organisations at ERD in Dhaka yesterday, says an ADB press release.
The assistance will support eight vulnerable secondary coastal towns to build up their climate resilience and disaster preparedness.
The towns are Amtali, Galachipa, Mathbaria, Pirojpur, Barguna, Bhola, Daulat Khan, and Kalapara.
The towns were selected based on their needs, population size and density, and level of past investments.
Of the $82m ADB loan, $52m is from the concessional Asian Development Fund (ADF) resources while the rest $30m comes from the ADB Strategic Climate Fund (SCF).
The ADF loan will have a 25-year term, including a grace period of five years, and an interest rate of 2% per annum during the grace period and thereafter.
The SCF loan will have a 40-year term, including a grace period of 10 years, and an annual service charge of 0.10%.
The ADB-SCF is also providing $10.4m in grant for the project. The Sanitation Financing Partnership Trust Fund (the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation) under the Water Financing Partnership Facility will provide another grant equivalent to $1.6m.
The government will provide $23.1m equivalent for the project.
The project is estimated to cost a total of $117.1m, and scheduled to be completed by 2020.
The Ministry of Local Government, Rural Development and Cooperatives, acting through its Local Government Engineering Department and the Department of Public Health Engineering, will be the executing agencies for the project.
“The project supports towns in need of assistance as identified under the government’s Coastal Development Strategy and Strategic Program for Climate Resilience,” said ADB Country Director.
The support will be in two stages – for infrastructure required for climate resilience, and economic infrastructure; the pace of these supports will be aligned with the progress in various municipal planning and services.
Coastal areas of the country, with a population of over 38 million, are heavily exposed to cyclones, storm surges, and sea level rises, which are expected to become more frequent and extreme with the onset of climate change.