This climate change causes a lot of damage for the country like economic losses, damage of infrastructure and so on. Almost two thirds of the country’s population is directly or indirectly linked with agriculture. Our farmers are suffering from shortage of water for cultivation. Agricultural production is decreasing at an alarming rate. The World Food Programme said that by 2050, the number of hungry people will increase from 10% to 20% due to climate change. The fisheries sector contributes 3 to 5% of our GDP. This sector is also at risk because of climate change. There are almost 260 species of fish in the country and almost all of them are endangered by the salt water along with freshwater pollution.
In 2016, cyclone Roanu resulted in devastating landslides. Three more cyclones hit the Bay of Bengal in the same year. In August 2017, heavy monsoon rains caused intense flooding across more than one-third of Bangladesh, affecting more than 8 million people with major loss of crops, livestock, infrastructure and water sources. In 2019, cyclone Bulbul disrupted the country causing 2 million people to flee from their homes to cyclone shelters. In the same year, Amphan became the strongest cyclone recorded in the Bay of Bengal. It also rendered millions of people homeless.
Despite these investments, it is apparent that the government will not be able to cover the additional financial burden and therefore seeks continued assistance from the international community
The country has adopted the Bangladesh Climate Change Strategy and Action Plan (BCCSAP) in 2009. Its six pillars are: 1) food security, social protection, and health; 2) comprehensive disaster management; 3) infrastructure; 4) research and knowledge management; 5) mitigation and low carbon development; and 6) capacity building and institutional strengthening. The government has also initiated the creation of the Climate Change Trust Fund to finance projects intended for mitigation and adaptation of climate change. This is a part of the government’s commitment to prioritising the combating of climate change.
Climate change challenges are well recognised and remedial measures are articulated in the country’s long-term vision and multiyear plans like the ‘Vision 2021’ and ‘Seventh Five Years Plan’. Several acts, policies, plans, strategies, frameworks, instruments, and tools to tackle the current vulnerability and imminent risk of climate change were developed and enacted. Around $1 billion is spent by the government each year for climate-related activities, especially for adaptation to climate change. Around 77 percent of the funds come from national sources, while approximately 23 percent are from development partners.
Despite these investments, it is apparent that the government will not be able to cover the additional financial burden and therefore seeks continued assistance from the international community. It would need about $3 billion annually to achieve climate adaptation by 2030, and $2 billion per year to mitigate the effects of climate change over the same period. Most importantly, Bangladesh must ensure accountability and transparency while dealing with the funds they can mobilise from whatever sources.
* Utpal Mallick, works in an international development organization. He can be contacted at [email protected]