Urban Resilience Planning in Bangladesh: CDKN Asia Unveils Policy Brief at Gobeshona Conference

CDKN Asia released a policy brief “Local Urban Resilience Plans Using Climate Adaptation Indicators: Development and Integration in National Planning Processes” on the 24th of January 2021, during an online session at the Gobeshona Global Conference.

The policy brief presents a snapshot of the policies on climate change and resilience building measures in Bangladesh, and assesses the role of local governments in achieving the national targets and international commitments with local climate resilience action plans and monitoring of adaptive capacity.

Distinguished experts attending the event emphasised that the need of the hour was the development and efficient implementation of climate resilience plans, and the enhancement of capacities of local governments. “Local leadership is the key to our planning,” Prof Saleemul Huq, Director, International Centre for Climate Change and Development (ICCCAD), said in his introductory address.

Dr. Munjurul Hannan Khan, Former Additional Secretary, Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Bangladesh, released the policy brief, and requested policymakers to focus on integrated planning. “I hope policymakers, government agencies, NGOs and local governments will use the policy brief effectively to develop urban resilience plans,” he said.

Mr. Taibur Rahman, Programme Coordinator (On Lien), National Policy Formulation and Implementation of Climate Change Programme, UNDP, pointed out that with centralised planning and all budgets being prepared at the national level only, hundreds of master plans and pourashava (local government) plans were not being implemented because of no or little links to the budgeting system. He suggested that the budgeting system should be decentralised and local resilience plans developed step-by-step from the bottom up.

Dr. Huraera Jabeen, Architect and Independent Consultant (Urban Resilience), spoke on the lack of concern about developing heat reliance plans and the unavailability of open spaces in urban areas, while mentioning a recent study that found only eight percent of adolescent girls went to parks. “We are not making city spaces gender-responsive. Local governments don’t know enough about integrating gender-responsive actions into planning processes. Often, they do not have an understanding of what ‘gender’ refers to,” she said.

The limitations of local municipalities could be tackled with enhanced capacity development, Dr. Munsur Rahman, Professor, Institute of Water and Flood Management, BUET, said, adding that there was a need for more quantitative information to identify what, where and when investment plans were needed, which could help to limit the influence of power structures.

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