GCCA+ support for enhancing communities resilience to climate change and related disasters in Bangladesh
At a glance
The EU Global Climate Change Alliance+ Flagship Initiative aims to strengthen dialogue and cooperation among developing countries most vulnerable to climate change by supporting their efforts to develop capacity to implement adaptation and mitigation responses. An intensive identification and formulation phase resulted in the design of the ‘GCCA+ support for enhancing communities' resilience to climate change and related disasters’ project, fully aligned with GCCA+ priorities. Also in 2011 Bangladesh received support from the GCCA, which contributed to the Bangladesh Climate Change Resilience Fund.
Bangladesh, a Least Developed Country (LDC), ranks fifth among those 110 countries in the world that are most vulnerable to climate change related natural disasters . Changes in rainfall patterns, increased temperatures and the high frequency of extreme weather events are the cause of severe further impacts i.e. salinity in water and crop land, extended water shortages, and the consequences of high tides and sea level rise.
Climate related disasters alone have considerable impact on the economy. A conservative estimate indicates that the five major disasters since 1998 caused damage to the extent of roughly 15% of the GDP with an average of 2.7% per event . Low crop yields and associated income loss from agriculture will continue the trend toward migration from rural to urban centres. 40% of productive land is projected to be lost in the southern region of Bangladesh due to a 65cm sea level rise by the 2080s. About 20 million people in the coastal areas of Bangladesh are already affected by salinity in soils and drinking water. Rising sea levels and more intense cyclones and storm surges could intensify the contamination of groundwater and surface water causing more diarrhoea outbreaks .
The impact of climate change is compounded by widespread poverty , because poor people are most vulnerable to the consequences of disasters and climatic change, with the vast majority of the population being dependent on the monsoon for their livelihoods , and the major cropping and fishing seasons overlapping with drought, cyclone and flooding seasons. The World Bank has estimated that cyclone exposed areas will increase by 26% and the affected population will increase significantly by 2050. This translates into a direct impact on livelihoods of the poor, since wage rate and job opportunities drop drastically during disaster events.
Despite these challenges, Bangladesh has seen significant results achieved in terms of economic growth, poverty reduction and improvements in health and educational status. During 2000-2010, the rate of poverty fell by 1.7 percentage points per year, falling from 49% in 2000 to 31.5% in 2010 . In this context, the policy landscape for climate change continues to evolve with increasing recognition that climate change poses a serious threat to Bangladesh’s desire to become a middle income country by 2021.