More than 50 representatives from different sector ministries and departments, local government representatives, civil society representatives, sectoral experts, professionals, vulnerable farmers, journalists and academia attended the event.
Recently, five villages in Kurigram namely Char Gatiashyam, Bogurapara, Khitab Khan, Nakenda and Dhusmara of Gharialdanga union of Rajarhat Upazila have completely been washed away by Teesta erosion. This has affected more than 2,000 families.
This erosion resonates with the fact that climate vulnerability is very much prevalent and going to be acute in this district and around.
While delivering the keynote presentation, professor Ainun Nishat, lead consultant of the NAP formulation team discussed the changing patterns of the climate that is taking a heavy toll on life and livelihood of the marginal communities.
Emphasising the resource mobilisation, Mirza Shawkat Ali, director (climate change) of DoE and deputy national project director of the NAP formulation project said, “In addition to domestic resources, Bangladesh will need bilateral and multilateral resources for effective implementation.”
Focusing on the vulnerability of the women and children, Shahana Akter deputy director of the directorate of women affairs said, “Climate change is creating seasonal and forced migration in the char areas and making the women and children more vulnerable.”
“We can innovate projects to support the livelihood of the vulnerable women and take special measures to reduce the health hazards of the children” she added.
Journalist Shafi Khan said, “Teesta basin is one of the most erosion-prone areas in Bangladesh affecting the char people. Therefore, NAP needs to encourage innovative and smart agriculture to reduce the vulnerability of the farmers living in the char areas and create market access for their economic empowerment”
Quoting the high number of deaths of children during floods S M Harunur Rashid Lal executive director of solidarity said, “Children comprise almost 70 per cent deaths caused by floods – we need to seriously look into making our homes resilient to reduce this.”
Chief guest Md Mizanul Haque Chowdhury said, “There is no other alternative but to raise awareness to reduce carbon and greenhouse gas emission if we want to save the earth.”
“The government has mobilised all the available resources to fight the effects of climate change. We need to support these initiatives. In doing so, we should turn the plantation into a movement.”
Arif Faisal, programme specialist of UNDP said, “’Teesta and Dhorola’ could be valuable natural resources if we could manage it properly and introduce basin-wide river management and put emphasis on the use of surface water instead of groundwater.”
Rezaul Karim, chair of the workshop, thanked the participants and concluded, “Now that we have a developed infrastructure, we need to carefully plan the urbanisation and industrialisation.”
“Waste management is quite important to reduce the greenhouse gas emission,” he added.