The World Bank (WB), in its annual report for 2022, has lauded Bangladesh, once a country with catastrophic death tolls from cyclones, as a world leader in coastal resilience, with impressive economic growth while boosting preparedness against natural calamities.
Bangladesh, as chair of the 48-member Climate Vulnerable Forum for 2020–22, is helping map out a sustainable and resilient pathway for countries that are vulnerable to climate change, the international lender said in its latest report published on Tuesday 10 (January).
The Bangladesh government, under its Delta Plan 2100, committed in 2018 to investing 2.5% of the country's GDP annually, about $6 billion, to shore up resilience and promote social and economic development.
In November 2021, Bangladesh also launched the world's first-ever Climate Prosperity Plan to enhance resilience, grow the economy, create jobs, and boost renewable energy.
The country's success in building resilience is saving countless lives, and it offers a roadmap for long-term investments in adaptation, community mobilization, and disaster preparedness.
The latest WB report, published on Tuesday, reads, "Situated at the head of the Bay of Bengal – a magnet for cyclones and a storm surge amplifier – this river-delta nation of 165 million people now has a network of shelters, an early warning system that can quickly evacuate millions of people, and embankments that protect over 6,000km of vulnerable coastline."
WB, to help Bangladesh's efforts in fighting climate change, built and rehabilitate over 1,000 shelters to protect more than 1.2 million people during cyclones, as well as 550km of paved roads that improve access for surrounding villages.
The shelters serve as primary schools in regular weather and can withstand winds of over 260kmh. The walls of these establishments are made of reinforced concrete; floors below are designed to hold more than a thousand people, with space also for livestock. In addition, solar panels and rainwater receptacles ensure a supply of electricity and water.
WB also supported Bangladesh's Cyclone Preparedness Programme, an early warning system with more than 76,000 volunteers who are trained in disaster preparation, half of them women. The country has also strengthened its system of 139 coastal polders, or dikes, which provide a first line of defence, the annual report states.
Since 2013, the WB has helped rehabilitate over 700km of embankments, along with drainage networks and protective infrastructure, to safeguard against storm and tidal surges, saline intrusion, and coastal erosion, added the report.
Moreover, A $120 million World Bank project In Bangladesh is helping protect crops and fisheries through better flood management as well as climate-smart irrigation and drainage; these efforts are promoting food security, boosting livelihoods, and improving productivity, read the report.
Source: The Business Standard