19 Sep 2017 Story Climate change

RESILIENCE: Bangladesh leads the way in the National Adaptation Plan (NAP) process

“We cannot escape the destructive effects of a changing climate,” said Mr. Quzi Munirul Islam, Deputy Chief of Planning, Ministry of Environment and Forests of Bangladesh. “We have no choice but to adapt - we must adapt for the survival of our people.”

The imperative for adaptation in Bangladesh is devastatingly apparent. Already the country is highly vulnerable to extreme climatic events, which are expected to become more severe as a result of climate change. Frequent floods, cyclones and tropical storms disastrously impact the lives and livelihoods of communities in extremely fragile and low lying coastal zones, whilst droughts blight the population of the arid and semi-arid north western region. Within the next 50 years, over 20 million people could be displaced and become ‘climate change refugees’, if sea and salinity levels continue to rise in Bangladesh. 

The climate change challenge in Bangladesh threatens to undermine the significant advancements achieved through more than more than two decades of development – which has seen a reduction in extreme poverty and increasing self-sufficiency in the production of staple food crops such as rice.

With financial support from the Government of Norway and technical assistance from the NAP Global Support Programme (implemented by UNEP and UNDP), Bangladesh is currently finalizing its NAP roadmap. 

NAP-GSP support for Bangladesh builds on a solid foundation of ongoing initiatives for mainstreaming climate change into national planning. Already, there is a broad portfolio of adaptation interventions in Bangladesh, supported by an array of development and funding partners. UNEP and UNDP are currently supporting Bangladesh on adaptation with financing from the GEF’s Least Developed Countries Fund. Additional initiatives include the UNEP/UNDP Poverty-Environment Initiative (PEI) and the World Bank Pilot Program for Climate Resilience (PPCR), alongside those from FAO, IFAD and Asian Development Bank. 

The fact that Bangladesh is already undertaking a national adaptation planning process, and is collaborating with strong adaptation partners, puts the country ahead of other LDCs. This provides a significant opportunity for Bangladesh to share valuable experience and knowledge with other LDCs – as well as with many other countries undertaking the NAP process

With the support of NAP-GSP, the Government of Bangladesh is forging ahead with developing a NAP roadmap, which turned into a robust plan that ensures Bangladesh’s resilience to climate change and fending off billions of dollars of potential damages due to inaction. 

Similar initiatives are underway in 9 other LDCs globally with 27 countries in total requesting support, and can be replicated in other countries/regions.