Bangladesh

Bangladesh is extremely vulnerable to natural disasters and the effects of climate change. The Government of Bangladesh and international donors support a variety of resilience and disaster preparedness activities.

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bangladeshi woman with fish

Overview

Bangladesh is one of the most densely populated countries in the world and one of the most vulnerable countries to climate change. The last two decades in Bangladesh have seen progress in poverty reduction, but these results have been uneven in their impact and their sustainability is continually threatened in Bangladesh’s increasingly complex risk environment. Bangladesh experiences catastrophic cyclones, tornadoes, and flooding. In addition, more than 700,000 Rohingya refugees fleeing Burma recently arrived in Bangladesh. The Government of Bangladesh has been proactive in improving disaster preparedness and mitigating against hydrological disasters, and international donors support a variety of resilience and disaster preparedness activities.

Complex Risk Environment

Bangladesh is extremely vulnerable to natural disasters, including cyclones, floods, earthquakes, and landslides. Given Bangladesh’s topography, long and complex coastline, high population, and increasing urbanization, of particular concern are climate projections of more frequent and intense drought, rainfall, sea-level rise, and cyclones. Population growth, climate change, fluctuating global markets, political instability, inadequate governance mechanisms and human resource capacity to manage these risks are all major challenges.

These recurring shocks and stresses, already a substantial part of Bangladesh’s risk profile, will require significant resilience from Bangladeshi households, communities, and systems to prevent declines in development outcomes such as backsliding into poverty. In addition to these shocks and stresses, since 2015 more than 700,000 Rohingya refugees have arrived in Cox’s Bazar, and there is no foreseeable end to this displacement crisis.

Resilience Approach

The Government of Bangladesh has been proactive in taking important steps toward disaster preparedness and mitigating against hydrological disasters. In addition, international donors support a number of resilience-building activities, including establishing early warning systems; constructing cyclone shelters; strengthening the capacity of local governments and communities to respond to disasters; developing tools for disaster risk financing and insurance; increasing agricultural production and food security; and protecting the country’s natural resources and biodiversity. Moving ahead, international donors can build on these strides forward while also seeking sustainable solutions to the Rohingya crisis and the scale of future environmental shocks and stresses.

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