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GCA CEO Visits Chattogram to Understand Climate Resilience Challenges of City’s Climate Vulnerable

BANGLADESH 10 June 2024 Latest News on LLA

Professor Patrick V. Verkooijen, CEO of the Global Center on Adaptation (GCA), visited Chattogram today to listen and learn from local communities who are leading in the preparation of People’s Adaptation Plans, aimed at improving climate resilience in the city’s informal settlements. The visit underscores the GCA’s commitment to supporting local leadership by vulnerable populations in their fight against climate change, and linking their priorities for resilience building to investments by international financial institutions.

During his visit, Professor Verkooijen met with residents of Nobab Khan Colony and Razakhali Beribadh Colony, two informal settlements severely impacted by water scarcity, flooding, heat and an increasing burden of disease caused by water salinity and contamination and a rise in vector populations. The two settlements are among 25 low-income communities in Chattogram championing People’s Adaptation Plans to inform investments made under the World Bank-supported Chattogram Water Supply Improvement Project (CWSIP).

Speaking to media present during the visit, Professor Verkooijen said: "The resilience and strength of the communities in Chattogram are truly inspiring. Through the development of People’s Adaptation Plans, we aim to ensure that international financial institutions effectively address the needs of the most vulnerable populations. Climate action at a global level makes no sense unless it helps protect people on the frontlines of climate change."

Community voices told him about their experiences living with escalating climate impacts. Anwara Begum, a 55-year-old resident of Nobab Khan Colony, shared her struggles: "I have been widowed for over 19 years and life has been extremely difficult since. I have no guaranteed source of daily income and cannot afford clean water to drink and wash. Using saline water has caused various skin problems and issues with hypertension."

Hasina Begum from Razakhali Beribadh Colony highlighted the health challenges: "Mosquito breeding is rife due to clogged drainage canals, and we often suffer from dengue and other diseases. The water salinity has never been as bad as it is now."

CWSIP, financed through the World Bank with a total investment of $397 million, aims to improve and strengthen water supply and sanitation networks in 25 low-income communities across 17 wards of Chattogram City Corporation. The People’s Adaptation Plans will list key priorities identified by vulnerable populations, for investment through the project. The Planning process also aims to:

  • Enhance local understanding of, and capacity to, address climate vulnerabilities.

  • Ensure sustainability of project investments through community-led operation and maintenance.

  • Target investments to build the climate resilience of the most vulnerable, particularly women.

GCA will also support communities in 100 other LICs in Chattogram to profile climate vulnerabilities, to inform the expansion of CWSIP investments in other climate vulnerable communities.

GCA is dedicated to promoting locally led adaptation initiatives that empower communities to tackle the impacts of climate change effectively. In Chattogram, GCA has partnered with WaterAid Bangladesh and Dushtha Shasthya Kendra to support the low-income communities in developing their People’s Adaptation Plans.