Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Bangladesh communities show how they adapt to climate change

Saleemul Huq in the PovertyMatters blog in the Guardian (UK): …Last week, at the 5th International Conference on Community Based Adaptation to Climate Change, more than 300 international climate-change experts met in Bangladesh, left the meeting hall in Dhaka, and went out to see those resilient communities.

Delegates were split into eight groups, and they travelled to different parts of the country for three days to learn from people, government organisations and NGOs about how communities are protecting themselves from drought, flood, and rising temperature and sea levels.

Some visited coastal communities, where rising seas are contaminating drinking water and the decreasing flow of freshwater from the Ganges river is insufficient. The NGO Caritas is working with local people to capture rainwater and store it to drink when regular supplies decline.

Others travelled to the north-west, which is increasingly prone to drought during winter. The UN's Food and Agriculture Organisation and the NGO ActionAid have helped farmers to use simple irrigation technologies that provide drips of water exactly where they are needed.

Others visited the floodplains of central Bangladesh. There, the Bangladesh Centre for Advanced Studies helps farmers to grow vegetables on meshes of bamboo filled with soil that can float when flood strikes.

When delegates returned to Dhaka, it soon became clear that Bangladesh's vulnerable communities share difficulties with many others. Speakers told of adaptation projects in the highlands of Peru and Nepal, of work in coastal areas of Fiji and the Philippines, on small-scale farms in South Africa and Mali, and in the urban centres of India and Vietnam….

Rupsha Bridge at the Rupsha River in Khulna, Bangladesh. Shot by Tarif Ezaz, Wikimedia Commons, under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license

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