Dhaka, Sept 2 (UNB) – Representatives from the government, development partners, academia, think tanks and UN agencies came together here on Monday to discuss the role social safety nets play in addressing climate change, building community resilience and helping Bangladesh achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030.
“This is an important shift in our thought process on disaster management. We’re also at the planning stage for preparing the eighth five-year plan,” said Md Enamur Rahman, State Minister for Disaster Management and Relief.
He said this is the right time to organise this symposium on adaptive social protection, and come up with clear policy guidelines, especially on targeting poverty and vulnerability.
“Since 2000, Bangladesh has cut down poverty by half,” said Dandan Chen, World Bank acting Country Director for Bangladesh and Bhutan.
“However, there’s still one-fourth of the population living in poverty, including 20 million people living in extreme poverty. By enabling social protection to better address the impacts of climate change, adaptive social protection can be critical in building resilience and creating opportunities for the country’s vulnerable population,” she said.
As Bangladesh is well on its way to graduating to a middle-income country status by 2024, the country’s development trajectory nonetheless faces considerable challenges due to its vulnerability to natural and climate-induced disasters.
Over 80 percent of the population is vulnerable to such shocks.
Together with rapid urbanisation, these shocks can have far-reaching consequences on the poor and could potentially push more people into poverty.
“Because of its unique geographic location, Bangladesh will continue facing adverse effects of global warming and climate change in the future,” said Judith Herbertson, Head of DFID Bangladesh.
“DFID is very happy to partner with the government of Bangladesh to address the needs of vulnerable and marginalised people through implementing a range of social protection schemes, such as adaptive social protection.”
“It is a great platform for us to examine social protection, disaster risk management and climate change in a holistic manner” said Richard Ragan, WFP Country Director.
“The discussions and experience-sharing will help us determine the future direction of adaptive social protection and how it can contribute to the national development agenda in Bangladesh.”
Titled “Symposium on Adaptive Social Protection: Technical and Policy Considerations”, the forum was organised by the Ministry of Disaster Management and Relief in partnership with the World Bank, Department for International Development (DFID) of the United Kingdom, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the World Food Programme (WFP).