Water resource and climate change specialist, emeritus professor of Brac University Ainun Nishat said the intensity and frequency of natural calamities will increase in Bangladesh in the coming days due to climate change and women and children are the worst sufferers of the change in nature.
“Flowers don’t bloom in time, rainfall has become unpredictable. We can understand the danger by erratic behavior of the nature,” he told a roundtable on Saturday adding climate change adaptation is a must although it is a long term endeavour.
Prothom Alo, in association with Manusher Jonno Foundation, organised the roundtable on the role of rural women in climate change adaptation.
Ainun Nishat said the rise of salinity in coastal districts and food shortage will increase in Bangladesh in future and so will increase the responsibility of women.
Discussants said that a women’s struggle starts before natural calamities strike when they have to store food and other belongings and take their children to shelter. Once the disaster is over, their duties to maintain family increase further. Capacity building of women can decrease the loss caused by natural calamities.
Director general of environment department AKM Rafique Ahammed said government is trying to focus gender issue in National Adaptation Plan (NAP).
The environment, forests and climate change ministry and UNDP jointly are going to launch a three year project on NAP.
The government has increased climate related expenditure form Tk 109 billion in 2015-16 to Tk 237 billion in 2019-20, he added.
He also said that coordination among different government and non government bodies working in climate change is a big challenge.
Executive director of Manusher Jonno Foundation Shaheen Anam termed women as a strong force in the fight against climate change.
“The work of women in this regard should be recognised from the family, society and state. We must adopt policies ensuring participation of women,” she added.
Director of Dhaka University’s Institute of Disaster Management and Vulnerability Studies Mahbuba Nasreen said resilience and capacity building of women is necessary than portraying them as vulnerable.
Researcher and director of the Society for Environment and Human Development (SEHD) Philip Gain said women play a big role in planting trees in rural area.
Associate professor Jahangirnagar University’s economics department Shormind Nilormi said participation of women in agriculture has increase 108 per cent in our country while male participation has declined 2 per cent.
Yet, she added, women’s rule in agriculture does not get recognition.
Programme advisor of the Swedish embassy Md Mahbubur Rahman pointed out the need for more specific research on the role of rural women in climate change adaptation.
Deputy director of Save the Children Syed Matiul Ahsan said more context specific data on women’s contribution in climate change adaptation needed for a better understanding of their role.
Project coordinator of UNDP Selina Sheli, gender mainstreaming analyst of UN Women Farzana Hafiz, gender adviser of Manusher Jonno Foundation Banasree Mitra Niyogi, and deputy programme manager of Manusher Jonno Foundation Md Ahsanul Wahid, among others, spoke at the roundtable.
Prothom Alo associate editor Abdul Quayyum delivered the opening speech while special affairs coordinator Firoz Choudhury moderated the roundtable.