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Workshop on adapting to climate change held in Sunamganj

Participants at the local level consultation held at Shalla Upazilla Parishad.

The Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC) and United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), in association Green Climate Fund (GCF), organized a local level consultation workshop on the strategies needed to adapt due to the changing climate.

The objective of the consultation was to share the findings of different climate vulnerability issues generated from Focus Group Discussions (FGDs) and Key Informant Interviews (KIIs) conducted in Sunamganj earlier this week.

The key areas included fisheries, agriculture and rural livelihoods to identify immediate, medium and long-term potential adaptation options.

The workshop was a part of the formulation of the National Adaptation Plan (NAP) by MoEFCC and Green Climate Fund (GCF) provided the overall support to the workshop, says a press release.

Chaired by Md Al Muktadir Hussain, Upazilla Nirbahi Officer of Shaka Upazilla and more than 30 representatives from different government offices, local government representatives, academics, journalists and academics attended the consultation held at Shalla Upazilla in Sunamganj on 15 September.

Earlier, 12 Key Informant Interviews (KIIs) with Government Officials, local government representatives, fishermen and farmers and nine Focused Group Discussions (FGDs) were also organized with livestock, fishermen and other livelihood disaster management group, youth and local communities from in Bahara, Shalla, Aatgaon and Hobibpur unions, engaging more than 100 participants.

Shalla Upazilla was selected to conduct a field survey on different aspects of climate change risks and vulnerabilities, considering factors such as its location as a low lying haor area, frequency of flash floods, heatwave damaging crops and livelihood of the majority of vulnerable people.

During the FGDs, KIIS and consultation, it was revealed that Afal (strong waves created by wind) and flash floods are the most prominent climate-induced disasters that wreak havoc on the livelihood of the haor people including loss of land leading to human displacement.

Participants highly recommended a mix of nature-based adaptation and structural intervention to reduce the loss. They opined that a mix of plantation of climate-resilient and fast-growing Koroch trees and the building of community-based protective concrete walls can be an effective way to protect their homesteads from flash floods and Afal.

It was strongly opined that every union should have two Killa (a concrete construction built on relatively high land) to help the people store their harvest and livestock in case of flash fools that mostly occurs during April – May every year.

Meanwhile, several Farmers opined that it would be a great solution for them if the rice cropping life cycle could be reduced from the existing 145-165 days (depending on verities). Sharing their difficulties in operating agricultural machinery in 8-10 inches mud, they also emphasised Haor compatible reaper and combine harvester for efficient harvest.

Agriculturist and Academics Rupchan Das said, “To reduce the rise of temperature there is another alternative but adopting large scale and long term plantation project.”

“Such plantation is equally beneficial for agriculture, fishing and livestock farming” he added.

Journalist P C Das said, “Beside plantation of climate-resilient trees, all the canals and rivers must be properly to reduce the loss from Afal and Flash Floods. Timely dredging will make even distribution of silt in the haors contributing to increased harvest.”

Upazilla Resources Centre Instructor Muhammad Abdur Rahman said, “Incorporation of basic education on Climate Change at the primary level will help raise awareness at household level and initiate behaviour change at the individual level.”

Dipu Ranjan Das, Vice Charman of the Shalla Upazilla, opined “Korroch plantation should be done through community ownership.”

“To reduce financial loss from a bad harvest, the government should seriously consider initiating and mainstreaming agricultural insurance” he suggested further.

Md Al Muktadir Hussain thanked the participants for their fruitful deliberations and concluded, “National Adaptation Plan is a timely need for Bangladesh specially for haor areas. Different environmental impacts needs to taken into account in this regard to combat climate change”.