Bangladesh focusing on an inclusive disaster management strategy

The term disaster management can be understood as the process through which planning. preparedness, response and recovery are undertaken to deal with all aspects of humanitarian urgency in order to lessen the impact of disaster, particularly on the vulnerable communities. Non-Aligned Movement has urged Member States to formulate their disaster management strategy and commit to adequate, timely and predictable resources for the same. NAM has called Member States to formulate coordinated and comprehensive strategies that integrate disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation considerations into public and private investment, decision-making and the planning of humanitarian and development actions, so as to reduce the risk impact, increase resilience and provide a smoother transition between relief, recovery and development.

Bangladesh, in collaboration with United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), has undertaken a number of significant initiatives to foster an inclusive disaster management response strategy. On 15 November 2018, Bangladesh launched the National Resilience Program (NRP) in Dhaka. This is a three-year programme which is designed with the primary objective to provide strategic support in association with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), UN Women and United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS), to develop national capacity to keep pace with the changing nature of disasters.

NRP has four components which would be looked by different departments. The focus on developing disability inclusive and gender-responsive capacities will rest with the Department of Disaster while the onus of capacity building for disaster and climate risk informed planning is with the Programming Division. Department of Women part will focus on the gender dimension of the programme and the Local Government Engineering Department (LGED) will focus on infrastructure development. Mofazzal Hossain Chowdhury Maya, Bangladesh’s Disaster Management and Relief Minister remarked during the launch of NRP that it was a knowledge-based program that aimed to enhance women leadership for gender responsive disaster resilient nation. NRP also intends to collaborate more closely with the business community of Bangladesh with the underlying objective to promote risk informed business continuity plans. Apart from NRP, Bangladesh has formulated the ‘Fish-Fruit-Forest (FFF) model of the Integrating community-based adaptation into Afforestation and Reforestation Programme jointly introduced by UNDP Bangladesh and the Bangladesh Forest Department.

Under the project, the Bangladesh Forest Department leases piece of fallow land of forest to one poor family for 10 years, creates a small pond on it and hands over the pond to the family. The beneficiaries of the FFF model are mainly the families that live near the coastal areas and are vulnerable on account of incidences of flooding, salinity intrusion and erosion. The FFF model increases the income of the marginalised community through climate resilient fisheries, horticultural and livestock related livelihood options.

In December 2018, Bangladesh Government and UNDP signed an agreement for the implementation of a six-year project (2018-2024) titled, ‘Enhancing adaptive capacities of coastal communities, especially women, to cope with climate change induced salinity,’ financed by the Green Climate Fund (GCF). The estimated cost of the project is $33 million. The project aims to benefit approximately 7 lac people from the disaster prone Satkhira and Khulna districts with a focus on women and adolescent girls vulnerable to climate change.

As per estimates of UNDP, the project entails the following measurable benefits: 1) 25, 425 women will directly benefit from the interventions to switch to (or phase in) climate-resilient livelihoods with associated 500 people benefiting from capacity building and support to value-chain and market actors. 2)245 516 people will benefit from timely, gender-responsive early warning information and climate risk reduction strategies, facilitated through the women and girl volunteer groups established by the project at each of the targeted wards; 3) 68, 327 females and 67, 783 males will benefit through year-round access to safe and reliable drinking water improving their health and safety, and significantly decreasing the unpaid time burden of women in regards of water collection and thereby creating opportunities for education and/or enhanced income generation; 4) 525 government staff will benefit from improved capacities for climate-risk informed planning and implementation of resilient solutions for water and livelihood security; and 5) The project support to women groups for climate resilient livelihoods options in aquaculture and agriculture yields increased income benefits and enables participation in the formal economy, for a total expected increase in income of USD15 million.

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