UNDP, NGI to strengthen landslide, rainfall early warning systems in Cox’s Bazar

UNDP, NGI to strengthen landslide, rainfall early warning systems in Cox’s BazarUNB

The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), in partnership with the Norwegian Geotechnical Institute (NGI), is undertaking a project funded by the Royal Norwegian Embassy in Dhaka to enhance the early warning and rainfall monitoring system for landslides in Cox's Bazar. This initiative aims to strengthen landslide risk management in the region, UNB reports.

To foster collaboration and address the risks of landslides during the monsoon season, a stakeholder workshop on landslide risk management was jointly organised by UNDP and NGI on 21 June in Cox's Bazar. The workshop brought together participants from the Rohingya community, as well as the host community, to discuss strategies for minimising these risks and fostering resilience.

Addressing the workshop as the chief guest, Muhammad Shaheen Imran, Deputy Commissioner of Cox’s Bazar, said, “Cox’s Bazar is prone to various natural hazards, and among them, landslides have emerged as a significant challenge. The increasing frequency and intensity of rainfall, coupled with deforestation and unplanned development, have heightened the vulnerability of this area to landslides, posing threats to both human lives and the environment”.

“In the face of such a complex issue, it is crucial that we adopt a multi-dimensional approach that involves collaboration, knowledge sharing, and innovation. This workshop serves as an essential platform for us to come together, pool our expertise, and identify effective strategies to manage and mitigate landslide risks in Cox’s Bazar,” Muhammad Shaheen Imran added.

He thanked UNDP, Norwegian Geotechnical Institute, and the Norwegian Embassy for this landslide early warning system in Cox’s Bazar for mitigating the devastating impacts of landslides in the region.

The Norwegian Ambassador to Bangladesh, Espen Rikter-Svendsen, was also present in the workshop;

While speaking at the workshop, the Ambassador said climate adaptation and disaster risk reduction are key measures for reaching the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

“As landslide is one of the most damaging and recurrent hazards in Cox’s Bazar district and other Chittagong hill districts, the project will enhance the resilience of Rohingya refugees and host communities in Cox’s Bazar,” he said,

The Ambassador emphasised on a collective approach to reducing landslide risk.

UNDP Bangladesh Resident Representative Stefan Liller, in his remarks, said, “UNDP has been working on landslide risk management in Cox’s Bazar since 2010. Since the Rohingya refugee influx in 2017, UNDP has also been implementing various initiatives to address landslide risks in Cox’s Bazar. We have designed this project focused on effective landslide risk management, collaborating with the government and other stakeholders for building resilience, safeguarding Rohingya and host communities from disasters and climate-related risks”.

Stefan also said, “UNDP aims to empower individuals, drive inclusive economic growth and build a brighter future for all inhabitants of Cox’s Bazar district”.

Pankaj Paul, National Disaster Risk Specialist, UNDP Bangladesh and Rajinder Kumar Bhasin from the Norwegian Geotechnical Institute (NGI) presented the keynote paper on localised landslide early warning and rainfall monitoring system, developed in partnership with the Geological Survey of Bangladesh (GSB) and UNDP. Arif Abdullah Khan, Programme Specialist - Disaster and Resilience, UNDP Bangladesh and Salma Aktar, Director of the Geological Survey of Bangladesh, also spoke in the workshop.

Representatives from various organisations, including the Royal Norwegian Embassy, District Administration, Department of Disaster Management, Disaster Management Committees (DMCs) at the district and upazila levels, Refugee Relief and Repatriation Commissioner (RRRC), Geological Survey of Bangladesh (GSB), Inter Sector Coordination Group (ISCG), Sectoral Groups, UN Agencies, International and national NGOs, participated in the stakeholder consultation workshop.