Environment, Forests and Climate Change Minister Md Shahab Uddin has pointed out that climate change is one of the biggest challenges to Bangladesh becoming the 25th largest economically prosperous country in the world by 2050.
"It is said that Bangladesh's economy is more at risk to climate change than any country," he said at the knowledge sharing workshop of the ICBAAR project at a hotel in Dhaka on Sunday.
He said that to sustain the economic growth, the government is emphasising climate change mitigation in its policies. "Therefore, in the National Adaptation Action Plan (NAPA) and the Bangladesh Climate Change Strategy and Action Plan (BCCAP), participation of local communities in climate change mitigation has been considered paramount."
He said the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change has taken initiatives for green budget for all ministries.
UNDP initiated integrating community-based Adaptation into Afforestation and Reforestation Program (ICBAAR) in 2017 to increase species diversity in the coastal forest, which resulted in enhanced socio-economic benefits to local communities from the forests.
It was supported by the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change and implemented through the Bangladesh Forest Department in collaboration with seven ministries and departments of government, with the financial support from Global Environment Facility (GEF)
For the last four years, the project has been providing climate-resilient, innovative and ecosystem-based diversified livelihood support to 8,600 coastal, poor and forest-dependent households to adapt to climate change, said UNDP.
The project makes a conscious effort to empower women and their involvement in advancing resilience in coastal areas, of which over 52 percent are women.
"ICBAAR activities have piqued the interest of the coastal communities, and many are adapting to innovative livelihood options introduced by the project. I hope these activities are rolled out to other coastal areas of Bangladesh for overall strengthening of the vulnerable population," the minister said.
Appreciating the project interventions, Deputy Minister Habibun Nahar said, "I believe the Project learnings, best practices and knowledge products can be included in future Coastal Climate Change planning, which will make today's effort more fruitful."
"Adopting a green, clean production agenda will be imperative if Bangladesh wants to meet export-led growth ambition in the post-LDC graduation period," said UNDP Resident Representative Sudipto Mukerjee.
"This is the forests that protect us from cyclones and climate impacts. Now it is our moral responsibilities to protect them," he added.
"ICBAAR was successful in building key strategic partnerships, cooperating with relevant institutions, and building linkages with other projects. The project adopted co-management approach and acted as a platform of collaboration for multiple government, non-government organisations and individuals, which represents an excellent recipe for future replication on other projects or to other areas."
"We must seize the opportunity to properly utilise the enormous project learnings generated through concerted efforts of various sectors," the UNDP RR said.
The workshop was chaired by the ministry’s Secretary Ziaul Hasan while Chief Conservator of Forest Amir Hossain Chowdhury was the special guest. UNDP's Program Specialist Arif M Faisal and ICBAAR Project Manager Dr Muhammed Muzammel Hoque gave keynote presentations.