Mitigating Climate Change in Bangladesh
According to the 2015 Climate Change Vulnerability Index, Bangladesh’s economy suffers the most from climate change compared to any other country in the world. Such impact greatly depresses Bangladesh’s annual GDP, as the nation diverts most of its financial resources toward the management of climate change impacts.

Risky Location

Geographically, Bangladesh is a low-lying country that is predominantly comprised of flatlands. The economy is very dependent on the success of agricultural advances and yields, yet this facet is challenged by climate change. In 2012, the National Committee for International Cooperation and Sustainable Development (NCDO) lists the different natural disasters and impacts from global warming and climate change in Bangladesh, which includes: floods, tropical cyclones, salinity intrusion and fluctuations between extreme temperatures and drought.

All of these have resulted in decreased crop production and arable land for agricultural practice.

The nation’s government is working hard to address climate change in Bangladesh and further efforts of mitigation. Bangladesh has invested more than $10 billion dollars into its mission, and these funds go toward coastal resilience projects, increasing the number of government agencies that respond to emergencies and building coastal shelters.

Rising Sea Levels

Rising sea levels is one of the biggest concerns faced by the community. An article in the Scientific American discusses that the melting of glaciers in the Himalayas due to rising temperature has been a significant contributor to the rising water levels the country faces. For example, Sandwip Island has “lost 90 percent of its original 23-square-miles,” author Robert Glennon reports.

The projects that the government has developed are beneficial as current fixes to the issue of climate change. Any family that is affected by rising water levels or a cyclone are able to take refuge in one of the shelters the government has built.  The coastal embankment projects have worked create more durable islands. They accomplish this by laying sandbags on the coastline as well as building trees to help barricade the islands and absorb some of the water increases.

Long-Term Mitigation Efforts

For more long-term mitigation techniques, the Bangladesh government is addressing the need for more energy-efficient initiatives in rural areas that are most affected. For example, the World Bank supports initiatives such as building 320 solar irrigation pumps for farmers, offering training on electrical-alternative livelihoods for the poorer households in the community and the installation of energy-grids to help power rural businesses.

While the impacts of climate change in Bangladesh are felt the most out of almost any other country in the world, Bangladesh emits one of the lowest percentages of gas into the atmosphere. This means that as a nation, it is contributing very little to the climate change that so affects it as opposed to developed countries that emit levels in the double digits. Luckily, the community in Bangladesh is well-equipped with a resourceful and intelligent government that delivers climate resilience while also accomplishing societal development.

– Caysi Simpson
Photo: Flickr

Bangladesh has long been considered a country approaching middle-income status. Economically, it has been slowly improving poverty levels throughout the nation. However, one major issue stands in the way of further progress: infrastructure in Bangladesh.

Obstacles to Improving Infrastructure in Bangladesh

Under the Sixth Five Year Plan, which was in operation between 2010 and 2015, the government hoped to achieve eight percent GDP growth by the end of the plan.  However, the poor infrastructure development was a major obstacle. Infrastructure includes physical and organizational structures, like access to efficient water sanitation and transportation systems, both which greatly contribute to reducing poverty and improving the economy.

At a five-day meeting on infrastructure, hosted by Bangladesh in 2008, officials said it would take $20 billion in investments to develop a high-quality infrastructure system in the country. Most of this money would come from organizations like the Asian Development Bank.

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has other projects set up in Bangladesh, such as the Urban Governance and Infrastructure Improvement Project, which takes a community-driven approach to improving infrastructure. Though these organizations contribute to the growth of infrastructure in Bangladesh, it is ultimately up to the government to implement concrete goals and achieve tangible results. The funds committed are vital to the success of such projects, however, there must also be an organized and transparent method of spending these funds.

Current Infrastructure Improvements

Recently, the government of Bangladesh took steps towards improving the infrastructure of its own country.

In March 2017, $2 billion of Bangladesh’s foreign reserves were poured into an infrastructure fund. Further, a legal framework was drafted in order to make this monetary contribution an annual occurrence. While this is a positive improvement, it is not nearly enough to create a completely effective infrastructure system.

In order to successfully improve infrastructure in Bangladesh, there must be an increased commitment from the government, in addition to foreign investments. This will ensure that large-scale projects will be funded continuously and in a transparent manner. These changes will result in further improvements in the future and help the development of Bangladesh. 

– Liyanga de Silva

Photo: Flickr