Bangladesh to empower women and girls in the face of increasing climate impacts

February 28 2018, Dhaka – The world's largest multilateral fund for climate change action, the Green Climate Fund, has approved almost US$25 million in grant funding in support of Bangladesh’s efforts to build the adaptive capacities of vulnerable coastal communities.  With a focus on women and adolescent girls, a new 6-year project is set to benefit 700,000 people living in disaster-prone southwestern districts.
Led by the Ministry of Women and Children's Affairs, also providing $8 million in co-financing, the UN-supported project marks a paradigm-shift in the way women are empowered as ‘change-agents’ to plan, implement, and manage climate-resilient solutions to safeguard livelihoods and lives in the Least Developed Country. 
A coalition of partners, mobilized by the UN Development Programme, will support the Government.
The project will provide assistance to 25,000 women and girls in Satkhira and Khulna to adopt resilient livelihoods, while ensuring reliable, safe drinking water for 130,000 people through community-managed rainwater harvesting solutions. It will also seek to strengthen the participation of women in last-mile dissemination of gender-responsive early warnings and continued monitoring and adaptation of livelihoods to evolving climate risks. 
A key aspect focuses on enhancing women’s access to markets and finance. In addition to training in business development, the project will link women’s producer groups to business via networking activities (including through Public-Private Initiative platforms to be established at local level), and will provide support to access credit from the financial sector. In addition, the project will link women’s producer groups to market. 
Secretary, Economic Relations Division, Ministry of Finance, and National Designated Authority for Bangladesh to Green Climate Fund, Mr. Kazi Shofikul Azam, welcomed the approval saying, “The Government of Bangladesh is committed to tackling climate change in the context of its overall development framework and its goals under Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development. This newly approved project contributes towards priorities outlined in Bangladesh’s Nationally Determined Contributions and climate change strategies, including its Climate Change Strategy and Action Plan and existing Climate Change Gender Action Plan”.  
Through the project, the Ministry of Women and Children's Affairs will be integrating gender and climate change across sectors. The Department of Public Health Engineering will be scaling-up climate-resilient solutions to ensure safe drinking water across coastal communities. 
Extensive consultations with non-government organizations, civil society, donors and communities informed the design of the project. The Dhaka-based International Centre for Climate Change and Development (ICCAD) played a key role in assessing the climate change impacts and adaptive responses to cope with evolving risks. 
Dr. Saleemul Huq, ICCAD Director said, “Bangladesh ranks among the world’s one of the most vulnerable countries when it comes to climate change. Women are disproportionately affected by the impacts.  As household managers, women are primarily responsible for producing food for the family, as well as securing household water and energy. Limited control over resources and decision-making often puts extra burden on women. Through this initiative of Green Climate Fund and UNDP, the situation is expected to get better.” 
UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative in Bangladesh, Mia Seppo, said, “We know that the poor disproportionately bear the risks and impacts of climate change. Without the ready means to adapt, they are also disproportionately vulnerable.”
“In the context of UNDP’s new Strategic Plan, UNDP is proud to work side-by-side with the Ministry of Women and Children's Affairs, and to bring together a coalition of partners to deliver this project. Under this project, women will more in command of their, and their communities’, own future.”
Over the past several years, the contributions and needs of women in relation to climate change has been moving steadily up the global agenda. Last August, the Green Climate Fund, together with UN Women, released its first gender manual on how to include women, girls, men and boys from socially excluded and vulnerable communities in all aspects of climate finance. At COP23 in Bonn in November, the Fiji Presidency announced the first Gender Action Plan.
The announcement at the Green Climate Fund's 19th Board Meeting in Songdo, Korea follows the Green Climate Fund's approval of over $2.8 million in support of Bangladesh’s formulation and advancement of a National Adaptation Plan process.
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Additional notes to editors
Both Satkhira and Khulna frequently experience cyclones and tidal flooding and experience severe drinking water scarcity due to salinity. Currently access to clean safe drinking water is as low as 5% of the population.
According to the Global Climate Risk Index 2018, Bangladesh ranks 6 of 182 countries most affected by extreme weather events from 1997 to 2016.  
According to the World Bank, sixty percent of the worldwide deaths caused by cyclones in the last 20 years occurred in Bangladesh. Floods and riverbank erosions affect some one million people annually. Once every three to five years, up to two-thirds of the country is inundated by floods. Climate change-induced salinity poses an extreme risk/threat to freshwater resources. 
Bangladesh's National Determined Contributions (NDC’s) encompass both mitigation and adaptation targets. In addition to a commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the power, transport and industry sectors, by 5%-15% from Business as Usual levels by 2030, Bangladesh is focused on climate change adaptation, including promotion of climate-resilient livelihoods, water security, early warning systems, and cyclone shelters. 
About UNDP 
The UN Development Programme partners with people at all levels of society to help build nations that can withstand crisis, and drive and sustain the kind of growth that improves the quality of life for everyone. On the ground in more than 170 countries and territories, we offer global perspective and local insight to help empower lives and build resilient nations.  
In line with the UN Secretary General's reform agenda and the guidance of Member States, UNDP’s Strategic Plan 2018-2021 sets out new ways of working to deliver on UNDP's vision:  Helping countries to eradicate extreme poverty, supporting them to quickly modernize key sectors to work better for sustainable development, and enabling them to prevent crisis and recover faster. The Strategic Plan focuses on integrated solutions under six key areas: poverty, governance, resilience, environment, energy, gender equality. 

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Media enquiries
Md Abdul Quayyum, Communications Officer, UNDP Bangladesh, Tel: +88 017150 25551 
Reis Lopez Rello, Regional Technical Advisor, Climate Change Adaptation, Bangkok Regional Hub 
Last Updated: 28 Feb 2018