Country Coordinator
Saleemul Huq, Director
Sarder Shafiqul Alam, Urban Program Coordinator

Climate Change in the Context of Bangladesh

Climate change is a serious issue in Bangladesh, a land of low-lying alluvial plains and one of the most vulnerable least developing countries (LDCs) in the world. It has an overall population of 147.4 million people residing in an area of 147,570 km2. Myriad anticipated adverse consequences of climate change including sea level rise, flooding, fluctuating temperature or precipitation patterns and increase in cyclone intensity has aggravated the existing climatic stresses in Bangladesh. This impedes the development in both the rural and urban sectors and has a detrimental impact to its socio-economic structure, environment, national growth and most importantly - the people of Bangladesh.

Urbanization in Bangladesh

Bangladesh, the world’s seventh most populous country and one of the densest, is rapidly urbanizing. It is predicted that the country’s population might reach 230 million by 2060, with more than 70% being urban. Rapid urbanization has occurred in Bangladesh in the last 40 years due to major factors such as steep natural increase of urban population, extension in the territorial context of urban areas and rural-urban migration. In cities like Dhaka the rate of this migration is estimated to be upto 60%. Typically in Bangladesh, people migrate to large metropolitan areas mainly due to greater social and economic opportunities in the city and for being displaced from their homelands due to the adverse effects of climate change. As such, they increase the population of environmentally displaced refugees in the city’s slums and squatter settlement areas, while engaging themselves in various employment segments from informal to the readymade garments sectors.

In Bangladesh, urbanization significantly contributes to the national economic growth. The sector currently contributes to more than 60% of the GDP. Higher literacy rate due to improved education, better health services and many other advancements are some positive outcomes of urbanization. However, it brings along negative consequences such as wetlands and agricultural land being cleared for real estate development and the widening of rural-urban income and socio-economic disparity. Rapid urbanization has put heavy pressure on the utility sectors like electricity and water services and mismanagement and has resulted in inadequate provision of these services.

Key Urban Climate Change Resilience (UCCR) Issues

Water logging and flooding – Water logging and flooding are major issues facing metropolitan cities like Dhaka. Increased rainfall is more than the capacity of the existing drainage systems and causes disruptions in communication, trade and commerce.

Human Health and Livelihoods – Climate change increases the growth of vector borne diseases such as malaria, especially due to changes in rainfall patterns just as flooding causes the breeding of the malaria vector. As a result of this there is severe disruption in health services; damaged transport infrastructure keeps people from accessing the nearest clinics and hospitals, and obstructs emergency services from reaching people.

Water, Sanitation, Drainage and Solid Waste – Water supply, sanitation facilities and drainage suffer severe pressure due to the effects of climate change. As a consequence of water logging, pipe water becomes contaminated. Saline water intrusion into groundwater due to sea level rise is also a serious issue.

Related Initiatives

Climate Change Adapted Urban Development (CCAUD) Programme

Funded by KfW, the German Development Bank (as German Financial Cooperation with the Government of Bangladesh)

Cities: Khulna, Barisal and Satkhira

Description: Climate Change Adapted Urban Development (CCAUD) is a major program governing a particular area’s high vulnerability to climate change in Bangladeshi Cities and Towns. Khulna component of the programme is being implemented as an integral part of City Region Development Project (CRDP) where feasibility study was done through CDIA multi-sector study and pro poor and green urban transport improvement of Khulna City. The feasibility study of Barisal component has already been started where ‘Economics of Climate Change Adaptation’ model is using to assess the quantitative aspects of climate vulnerability in parallel to the qualitative aspects. The preparation of Satkhira component is on-going.

Integrating Climate Change into DFID Bangladesh Urban Programming

Description: DFID focuses on poverty reduction concerning how urban activities can help the poor citizen achieve better living standards in slums that are climatically vulnerable. DFID wants increased capacity building, coordination between stakeholders, careful budgeting and expenditure on project implementation. It recognizes that there is a need for a systematic infrastructure of cities’ overall development and donor co-ordination is important for getting the most favourable output.

Further Initiatives and Links

Bangladesh Urban Forum –