Submitted Successfully!
Thank you for your contribution! You can also upload a video entry or images related to this topic.
Ver. Summary Created by Modification Content Size Created at Operation
1 handwiki -- 2490 2022-11-09 01:30:39 |
2 format correction Meta information modification 2490 2022-12-06 08:53:52 |

Video Upload Options

Do you have a full video?


Are you sure to Delete?
If you have any further questions, please contact Encyclopedia Editorial Office.
Liu, H. Climate Change Adaptation in Bangladesh. Encyclopedia. Available online: (accessed on 06 December 2023).
Liu H. Climate Change Adaptation in Bangladesh. Encyclopedia. Available at: Accessed December 06, 2023.
Liu, Handwiki. "Climate Change Adaptation in Bangladesh" Encyclopedia, (accessed December 06, 2023).
Liu, H.(2022, December 05). Climate Change Adaptation in Bangladesh. In Encyclopedia.
Liu, Handwiki. "Climate Change Adaptation in Bangladesh." Encyclopedia. Web. 05 December, 2022.
Climate Change Adaptation in Bangladesh

Climate change adaptation is a pressing issue in Bangladesh. The country is one of the most impacted by climate change. Factors such as frequent natural disasters, lack of infrastructure, high population density (166 million people living in an area of 147 000 km2 ), an extractivist economy and social disparities are increasing the vulnerability of the country in facing the current changing conditions. There, in almost every year, large regions suffer from more intense events like cyclones, floods and erosion. The mentioned adverse events are slowing the development of the country by bringing almost to collapse socio-economical and environmental systems. Climate Change adaptation plays a crucial role in fostering the country's development. This is already being considered as a synergic urgent action together with other pressing factors such as the permanent threat of shocks – natural, economic or political- the uncertain impact of globalization, and an imbalanced world trade impede higher growth rates.

social disparities climate globalization

1. Historical Aspects of Natural Impacts

From a prehistoric age, Bangladesh has faced numerous natural disasters in every decade but due to climate change, the intensity of disasters has been increased. The country experiences small to medium scale floods, cyclones, flash floods, and landslides in almost every year. Between 1980 and 2008, it experienced 219 natural disasters.[1] Flood is the most common form of disaster in Bangladesh. The country was affected by six major floods in the 19th century and 18 floods in the 20th century. Among them, 1987, 1985 and 1998 were the most catastrophic. Major cyclones occurred in the 20th centuries were in 1960, 1961, 1963, 1970, 1985, 1986, 1988, 1991, 1995. The cyclone in 1991 killed an estimated 140,000 people and 10 million people lost their homes. In recent past, the country faced 2 major cyclones in 2007 and 2009.

2. The Adaptation Concept

The IPCC defines adaptation as the "adjustment in natural or human systems in response to actual or expected climatic stimuli or their effects, which moderates harm or exploits beneficial opportunities". From this main definition, three types of adaptation are distinguished:[2]

  1. Anticipatory adaptation – Takes place before impacts of climate change are perceived. It is also defined as proactive adaptation.
  2. Autonomous adaptation – Adaptation that does not occur from a conscious response to climatic stimuli but is produced by ecological changes in natural systems and by market or welfare changes in human systems. It is also defined as spontaneous adaptation.
  3. Planned adaptation – Adaptation that is the result of a policy decision, based on knowledge that conditions have changed or are about to change and that action is required to return to, maintain, or achieve a desired state.

3. Transformative Adaptation

Transformative adaptation aims to address the roots of vulnerability through action “that changes the fundamental attributes of a system in response to climate and its effects”. It highlights the relevance of governance, social capital, and adaptation policies in creating inequality, and states that adaptation is a long term process where concepts of subjectivity, knowledge and authority result in greater efforts to create a more just society.[3]

From a socio-political understanding is a process that mediates how people and collectives cope with multiple and persistent environmental and social changes. This reframing of adaptation derives in four propositions:[4]

  1. All adaptation interventions, processes and decisions are embedded in arrangements of authority;
  2. Knowledge and authority in adaptation are self-reinforcing and dynamic.
  3. New kinds of subjectivity are emerging in relation to climate change, with contradictory implications on vulnerability and power.
  4. Adaptation takes place in contexts of dynamic and existing patterns of social relations.

4. Drivers for a Higher Vulnerability

Topographic map of Bangladesh.

The geographic location of Bangladesh makes it highly prone to natural disasters. Situated in between the intersection of Himalayan mountains in the North and the Bay of Bengal in the South, the country experiences 2 completely different environmental conditions leading long monsoons and catastrophic natural disasters. With the new phenomenons like climate change and sea level rising, the situation is getting even worst. The country is also very low and flat, having only 10% land above 1 meter high of the sea level. Bangladesh frequently experiences gigantic cyclones and floods, being criss-crossed by hundreds of rivers and one of the largest river systems in the whole world, (the estuarial region of Padma, Meghna and Brahmaputra rivers) .[5]

Bangladesh is also one of the most populated countries in the world and the high population density of the country makes it vulnerable to any kind of natural disasters. In recent past, the country has shown remarkable success of poverty reduction yet 24% people live under poverty line.[6] Moreover, the country is experiencing a rapid and unplanned urbanisation without ensuring the adequate infrastructure and basic social services. The unsustainable process of urbanisation makes the city dweller vulnerable to climate change as well.

5. Impact of Climate Change on the Economy Sectors

Bangladesh is one of the countries that contributes the less to greenhouse emissions, yet has one of the highest vulnerability conditions to global warming, prone to a significant number of climate related disasters. There are serious consequences from the impacts of climate change on different sectors of the economy in the country, mainly but not exclusively concentrated in the agriculture sector.

Areas and sectors vulnerable to climate change in Bangladesh
Climate & related elements Critical vulnerable areas Most impacted sectors
Temperature Rise and Drought North West Agriculture (crops, livestock, fisheries), water, electricity supply, health
Sea Level Rise and Salinity Intrusion Coastal Areas, Islands Agriculture (crop, fisheries, livestock), water (water logging, drinking water),

human settlements, electricity supply, health

Floods Central Region, North East Region,

Char Land

Agriculture (crops, fisheries, livestock), water (urban, industry), infrastructure,

human settlement, health, energy

Cyclone and Storm Surge Coastal and Marine Zone Marine fishing, infrastructure, human settlement, life and property
Drainage Congestion Coastal Area, South West, Urban Water (navigation), agriculture (crops)

6. Political Ecology of the Adaptation in Bangladesh

Since 2010, donors have invested more than US$170 million with the aim of adapting infrastructure, improving the governance and improving the resilience of the ecosystems. However, when running a detailed analysis, the poverty, inequity and environmental injustices are even higher.

Besides the consequences from the impacts of Climate Change, the whole country is yet affected by the results of maladaptation processes. Most of the aid and efforts put in alleviating the systems from vulnerability factors, have being object of bad management resulting in accentuating ethnic hierarchies in some communities, trapping the poor, powerless and displaced in a patronage system, leading to increased human insecurity and intensified violent conflict.[7]

7. Specific Adaptive Measures

7.1. Paradigm Shift from Risk Prevention to Risk Reduction

A disaster resilient village in Bangladesh.

Climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction may seem two different fields but however both are similar in their objectives which is to build resilience in the face of hazards. The relation between the two field in one study is explained as ‘Climate change adaptation requires the re-shaping and re-designing of development, social and economic practices to respond effectively to new or anticipated environmental changes. Likewise Disaster Risk Reduction seeks to influence development decision-making and protect development aspirations from environment related risks. The effectiveness of both adaptation and DRR are limited if they are not viewed within the broader context of sustainable development.[8]

Bangladesh has shown important results on disaster risk mitigation and is in fact, one of the world leaders in disaster management.[9] It has been made possible as the country changed its disaster programs from prevention to risk reduction.[10] The deaths and damages by natural catastrophes has been drastically reduced in comparison to 1970. Once highly dependent on international aid for providing relief to the affected communities through ad-hoc relief supports, the country soon realized the importance of establishing a culture of resilience to mitigate the risk occurred from the catastrophes.

With a mission ‘to achieve a paradigm shift in disaster management from conventional response and relief to a more comprehensive risk reduction culture, and to promote food security as an important factor in ensuring the resilience of communities to hazards’ the government of Bangladesh in collaboration with multilateral partners and civil society organizations working on a direction to achieve 3 goals which are i. Saving lives, ii. Protecting investments iii. Effective recovery and building.[11]

7.2. Strong Institutional Setup

Bangladesh kick off the 2015 Pacific Resilience exercise.

One of the major successes of Bangladesh on adaptation of climate change is a strong institutional setup. The Ministry of Disaster Management and Relief (MoDMR) has a wide range of programs on DRR. It has recently drafted a ‘National Plan for Disaster Management (2016-2020)’ with a detail institutional framework on disaster management. According to the NPDM, disaster management policy and activities is guided by several drivers including, ‘a) Disaster Management Act 2012; b) Standing Orders on Disasters (SOD) first introduced in 1997 and then revised in 2010; (SOD) first introduced in 1997 and then revised in 2010; c) National Plan for Disaster Management 2010-2015; d) Disaster Policy Act 2015; e) SAARC Framework for Action (SFA) 2006-2015; f) Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction (SFDRR) 2016-2030; g) Asian Regional Plan for Disaster Risk Reduction (ARPDRR); and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).[11]

Bangladesh is also supported by different international organizations such as United Nations, World Bank, and so on. With help from the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), Bangladesh developed a flood action plan initiating a culture of disaster management and risk reduction. UNDP also supported Bangladesh to establish the Disaster Management Bureau.[10] Bangladesh also has a large network of NGOs all through the country who are highly active in supporting the people vulnerable from climate change.

7.3. Agriculture

Being an agrarian society, people of Bangladesh are greatly dependent on various forms of agriculture. It is the main source of rural job in the country having over 87% people somewhat related to agri-based economy.[12] In 2016, according to World Bank, agriculture contributed to 14.77% of country's GDP. A steady increase in agricultural production with the use of modern equipment and scientific methods, agriculture has been a key driver to eradicate rural poverty in Bangladesh. The risk of sea level rising and global warming is the biggest challenge not only to country's agricultural improvement but also the success on poverty reduction.

Agriculture in Bangladesh.

As agricultural production is heavily related with temperature and rainfall, the current change in weather conditions is creating negative impact on crop yielding and the total area of arable land has been decreased. According to a report published by the Ministry of Environment and Forests - GoB, 1 degree Celsius increase in maximum temperature at vegetative, reproductive and ripening stages there was a decrease in Aman rice production by 2.94, 53.06 and 17.28 tons respectively.[13] Another major threat deriving from this factor is water salinity which directly affects rice production especially in the coastal part of Bangladesh. The same report state that, the country will lose 12-16% of its land if the sea level rises by 1 meter. These challenges lead to food scarcity and insecurity for the huge populace of the country. There are several adaptation measures which are practised to cope up with the abnormal behaviour of climate such as: resilient varieties of crops, diversification, change in cropping pattern, mixed cropping, improved irrigation facility, adopting soil conservation, agroforestry and so on.[14] A number of these measures have already been adapted by the government of Bangladesh and well practised throughout the country. The Bangladesh Rice Research Institute has introduced a varieties of saline tolerant rices like BR-11, BR-23, BRRI rice -28, BRRI rice -41, BRRI rice -47, BRRI rice -53 and BRRI rice -54. In the drought prone areas, BR-11, BR-23, BRRI rice -28, BRRI rice -41, BRRI rice -47, BRRI rice -53 and BRRI rice -54 are used which take short time to cultivate. To make the best and efficient utilization of water the Department of Agricultural Extension has introduced ‘Alternate Wetting and Drying (AWD).[13] The government also provide financial support to the affected farmers from different disasters and hazards

7.4. Collaborative Projects with the International Community

The Bangladesh National Adaptation Programme Action - NAPA in its action plan have collected, structured and ranked a series of climate adaptation needs and vulnerabilities, as well as sector-specific costs and benefits. These proposed actions have considered poverty reduction and security of livelihoods with a gender perspective as the most important set of criteria for prioritization of adaptation needs and activities.

List of priority activities expressed as projects [15]
SI. No. Project Title Type of



Implementing Agency

Total Cost
1 Reduction of climate change hazards through Coastal afforestation with community participation. Intervention Forest Department (FD) Full project: USD

23 million

Project design: USD 100,000

2 Providing drinking water to coastal communities to combat enhanced salinity due to sea level rise. Intervention Department of Public

Health Engineering (DPHE)

Full project:

USD1.5 million Project design: USD 25,000

3 Capacity building for integrating Climate Change in planning, designing of infrastructure, conflict management and land-water zoning for water management institutions. Capacity


Water Resource

Planning Organization (WARPO)

USD2.0 million

Project design: USD 25,000

4 Climate change and adaptation information dissemination to vulnerable community for

emergency preparedness measures and awareness raising on enhanced climatic disasters.


and Capacity Building

Ministry of

Environment and Forest (MoEF)

Full project:

USD7 million Project design: USD 50,000

5 Construction of flood shelter, and information and assistance centre to cope with enhanced recurrent floods in major floodplains. Intervention Disaster Management

Bureau (DMB) and Local Government Engineering Department (LGED)

Full project:

USD5 million Project design: USD: 50,000

6 Mainstreaming adaptation to climate change into policies and

programmes in different sectors (focusing on disaster management, water, agriculture, health and industry).

Capacity building Department of Environment (DOE) Full project: USD

1 million

Design phase:

USD 25,000

7 Inclusion of climate change issues in curriculum at secondary and tertiary educational institution. Awareness


Board of Education Full Project: USD

0.5 million

Project design:

USD 25,000

8 Enhancing resilience of urban

infrastructure and industries to

impacts of climate change

Capacity building Department of

Environment (DOE)

Full project: USD

2 million

Design phase:

USD 25,000

9 Development of eco-specific adaptive knowledge (including

indigenous knowledge) on adaptation to climate variability to

enhance adaptive capacity for future climate change.

Interventions NGO consortium Full project: USD

5 million

Design phase:

USD 50,000

10 Promotion of research on drought, flood and saline tolerant varieties of crops to facilitate adaptation in future. Research Bangladesh Agricultural Research Council (BARC) Full project: USD

5 million Design phase: USD 50,000

11 Promoting adaptation to coastal crop agriculture to combat increased salinity Intervention Bangladesh Agricultural Research Institute (BARI) Full Project :

USD:6.5 million

Project design:

USD 50,000

12 Adaptation to agriculture systems in areas prone to enhanced flash flooding–North East and Central Region. Intervention Bangladesh Agricultural Research

Institute (BARI)

Full project:

USD6.5 million

Project design:

USD 50,000

13 Adaptation to fisheries in areas prone to enhanced flooding in North East and Central Region through adaptive and diversified fish culture practices. Intervention Department of Fisheries (DOF) Full Project :

USD4.5 million

Project design:

USD 50,000

14 Promoting adaptation to coastal fisheries through culture of salt tolerant fish special in coastal areas of Bangladesh Intervention Department of

Fisheries (DoF)

Full project: USD

4 million

Project design:

USD 50,000

15 Exploring options for insurance to cope with enhanced climatic disasters. Research Department of

Environment (DOE)

Full Project :

USD0.2 million

Project design:

USD 25,000


  1. "Asian Disaster Reduction Center (ADRC)". 
  2. "AR4 WGI Annexes: (1)Glossary, (2)Authors, (3)Reviewers, (4)Acronyms - Annexes. Glossary A-D". 
  3. Bassett, Thomas J.; Fogelman, Charles (August 2013). "Déjà vu or something new? The adaptation concept in the climate change literature". Geoforum 48: 42–53. doi:10.1016/j.geoforum.2013.04.010. ISSN 0016-7185.
  4. Eriksen, Siri H.; Nightingale, Andrea J.; Eakin, Hallie (November 2015). "Reframing adaptation: The political nature of climate change adaptation". Global Environmental Change 35: 523–533. doi:10.1016/j.gloenvcha.2015.09.014. ISSN 0959-3780.
  5. Ali, Anwar (1999-08-27). "Climate change impacts and adaptation assessment in Bangladesh" (in en). Climate Research 12 (2–3): 109–116. doi:10.3354/cr012109. ISSN 0936-577X.
  6. "Bangladesh | Data" (in en-us). 
  7. Sovacool, Benjamin K. (2018-02-01). "Bamboo Beating Bandits: Conflict, Inequality, and Vulnerability in the Political Ecology of Climate Change Adaptation in Bangladesh" (in en). World Development 102: 183–194. doi:10.1016/j.worlddev.2017.10.014. ISSN 0305-750X.
  8. Venton, P and La Trobe, S. Linking climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction. Tearfund,Teddington; 2008
  9. "Bangladesh: Towards Resilience - HFA and Beyond" (in en). ReliefWeb. 
  10. "Bangladesh: Disaster Risk Reduction as Development" (in en). 
  11. Government of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh. Ministry of Disaster Management and Relief (2017). National Plan for Disaster Management (2016-2020). Bangladesh. 
  12. "Agriculture Growth Reduces Poverty in Bangladesh" (in en). World Bank. 
  13. "International Union for Conservation of Nature - IUCN" (in en). 
  14. Akinnagbe, Oluwole; Irohibe, Ifeoma (2015-02-09). "Agricultural adaptation strategies to climate change impacts in Africa: a review". Bangladesh Journal of Agricultural Research 39 (3): 407–418. doi:10.3329/bjar.v39i3.21984. 
  15. Government of Bangladesh, National adaptation program of action [NAPA] Ministry of Environment and Forests (MOEF), Dhaka, Bangladesh (2005)
Subjects: Others
Contributor MDPI registered users' name will be linked to their SciProfiles pages. To register with us, please refer to :
View Times: 350
Entry Collection: HandWiki
Revisions: 2 times (View History)
Update Date: 06 Dec 2022