Experts at a consultation on the Formulation of the National Adaptation Plan (NAP) underscored the need for a master plan covering all the coastal districts to address the challenges of climate changes and mainstream adaptation efforts.
The consultation was arranged by the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC), Economic Relations Division (ERD) and United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) with support from the Green Climate Fund (GCF) at Jhalokathi on Monday (14 February) at the conference room of the office of the Deputy Commissioner of Jhalokathi, reads a press release.
MoEFCC Additional Secretary and NAP Formulation Project National Project Director Md Mizanul Haque Chowdhury was present as the Chief Guest while MoEFCC Additional Secretary Sanjay Kumar Bhowmik was present as the Special Guest. Jhalokathi Deputy Commissioner Md Johor Ali chaired the consultation.
While delivering the keynote, CEGIS Executive Director Malik Fida A Khan said NAP is a participatory and country-driven process and would address the medium to long term adaptation needs of Bangladesh to turn it a climate-resilient country in the long run.
He added that NAP would specifically address the climate vulnerability of the coastal regions and the existing capacity gaps to establish a knowledge management system on climate change adaptation.
Participants opined that the livelihood of smallholder farmers is affected by climatic risks such as cyclones, increasing soil and water salinity, storm surges and heavy rainfall that can result in flooding and waterlogging.
They stressed the need for a master plan to address these challenges.
Barisal Deputy Commissioner Jashim Uddin Haider said, "Scarcity of fresh water in the dry season, increased number of chars, riverbank erosion salinity intrusion are key challenges posed by climate change."
Jhalokathi Chamber of Commerce and Industries President Monirul Islam Talukder said, "River erosion is killing us – stopping erosion should be our priority to make our development efforts sustainable."
Committee of the Concerned Citizens President Hemayet Uddin Himu said, "In addressing the challenges of climate change and mainstream adaptation efforts, Government should adopt a master plan covering all 19 coastal districts".
UNDP Programme Officer (Climate Change) AKM Azad Rahman said UNDP will provide all-out support to Bangladesh in combatting climate change.
"We are closely working with the government in designing sustainable projects in coastal regions", he added.
MoEFCC Additional Secretary Sanjay Kumar Bhowmik said, "NAP will be the guiding policy document for our adaptation efforts and will supplement all the national-level planning. Through the consultation, we are delegating its ownership to you".
For successful implementation of NAP, a partnership with both at the national and local level will be needed, he added.
More than 60 representatives from Jhalokathi, Pirojpur, Patuakhali, Barisal district administrations, local government representatives, civil society representatives, sectoral experts, professionals, journalists and academia attended the event and provided their comments and feedback to enrich the plan with locally specific climate adversities and adaptation needs.