Resilient Bangladesh: Mapping Local Solutions

In this, the second of our special three-part series in honour of Bangladesh National Day, we track how Bangladeshis are struggling to tackle local problems, such as increasingly unpredictable rainfall patterns.

The changing climate is making it difficult for peasants in Bangladesh to harvest enough food from their land. Based on traditional knowledge, Bangladeshis used to be able to accurately predict when the rains would fall. They could then sow seeds in accordance to these patterns in order to yield the crops upon which they relied for survival. But rains are no longer following such a predictable schedule and the people must do their best to adjust to this new climate reality.

United Nations University Institute for Sustainability and Peace Researcher Chun Knee Tan has been working with the International Union on the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) to address the growing challenges the region faces and empower local people to deal with the changes in their environment.

The changing climate is making it difficult for peasants in Bangladesh to harvest enough food from their land.

In partnership the two organizations have created a project designed to involve the people affected into the machinations of Multilateral Environmental Agreements, such as the Convention of Biological Diversity and United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. This Community-based Implementation and Compliance of Multilateral Environment Agreements project aims to better communicate to communities on the issues surrounding such agreements and get their input and help in implementing relevant national strategies and action plans.

Kohinor, the woman in this video brief, and her husband have suffered the consequences of the unpredictable climate. The number of fish, once abundant in their water beel (wetland or pond), has dropped significantly. Due to the extreme temperature fluctuations, friends and family are catching colds more frequently and there have also been outbreaks of pests that affect their fruit and vegetables.

Through the CICMEA project, IUCN organizes community workshops like the one for the women from Fullbaria village that is shown in the video. Kohinor participated in this workshop at which she and her fellow participants mapped out the landscape of their ward, noting the changes in the area over the past 20 years and listing the resources the community possesses that can help to deal with their challenges. Through this process the group was able to determine what support they will ultimately need to receive from the government and NGOs.

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Please read more about the challenges a changing climate poses for Bangladeshis in the first and final parts of this series. This collection of stories aims to highlight the resiliency of the people of Bangladesh and provide a glimpse into how the United Nations University is working with NGOs to create a platform of knowledge sharing for climate change adaptation.

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Resilient Bangladesh: Mapping Local Solutions by Chun Knee Tan, Megumi Nishikura, and Luis Patron is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

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Authors

Chun Knee Tan is the UNU’s project coordinator for the Global Environment Information Centre in Tokyo.

He has been involved in the earth observation field since 1997 when he was an Environmental Science graduate at University Putra Malaysia. After finishing his M.S. in GIS and Remote Sensing, he joined ESRI Malaysia as a GIS engineer.

Later, he pursued his PhD in satellite oceanography at Nagasaki University in Japan and joined the United Nations University in 2006.

Tan has wide research interests related to remote sensing, climate change, disaster management, and community empowerment issues. He has been actively providing satellite images, training and advice to young scientists in the Southeast Asia region.

Megumi Nishikura’s life purpose is to use the power of media to enlighten and inspire individuals to make choices that build a more positive sustainable world. She has been producing documentary films addressing global issues since 2003.

Luis Patron

Based in the Office of Communications, Luis Patron has been with the United Nations University in Tokyo since 2002. He specializes in the production of video documentaries and online media on environmental and social issues.

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  • sarwar144

    The story from the farmers are found true. I have Researched on the response of Environmental(Climate) in wetland and the result indicates the rising temperature and the erratic pattern of rainfall hampering the agricultural production mostly. farmers are using foreign seeds instead of local and natural verity and the foreign seeds are fertilizer depended and other factors which they dont need for cultivating local verity , that ultimately have increased their production cost. Their livelihood is lower than the past time.

    but in case of the fish the incident is not true actually. Though the rainfall unavailability acting as constraint for the lay down of fish eggs and the increasing salinity also. But the reduced water flow from the north due to the Farakka Barrage acting as trigger to influence the impact of climate change. Due to this project the rivers of Bangladesh is almost going to die. And the Water management project in south west Bangladesh i.e a misconception have increased the salinity and this salinity is not for global climate change.

    Thanks Mr. Tan your information.

    If any one needed further clarification pls contact dont hesitate to ask me.

    • http://mukta.dasmiller.co.uk/ Mukta Das

      Sarwar144, such an interesting comment, thank you. Have you read April Davila’s excellent piece on Monsanto on this site? It’s a complex issue, but clearly not enough is being done to introduce high yield seeds that respond well and make sense in these agricultural and climate contexts. Is the concern then that private enterprise, rather than heritage seed libraries and / or local communities, will likely make the most progress in this, patenting their innovations and drip-feeding these into the market for maximum profit?