$10 million for vulnerable Bangladeshi small islands

Dhaka, 3 April 2019 - The Adaptation Fund, for the first time, has approved a $10 million for Bangladesh aiming to enhance the resilience of vulnerable communities of small islands and riverine charlands islands.

The allocation will be spent through a five-year project jointly implemented by the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change and the United Nations Development Programme titled 'Adaptation Initiative for Climate Vulnerable Offshore Small Island and Riverine Charland in Bangladesh.'

The allocation was made at a board meeting of the Adaptation Fund held in Bonn, Germany in March 2019. A total of US$ 32.5 million were approved for new projects in Armenia, Dominican Republic, Bangladesh and Western Balkan to serve the Paris Climate Agreement smoothly. The fund, established under the Kyoto Protocol of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, has since 2010 committed US$532 million to climate adaptation and resilience activities, including supporting 80 concrete adaptation projects. Bangladesh is receiving funds for the first time.

"Despite a very full agenda, it was great to see the progress in new projects funded to benefit vulnerable communities across a variety of adaptation sectors including adaptation in small islands in Bangladesh", said the Adaptation Fund’s Manager Mikko Ollikainen.

“UNDP was pioneer in supporting the Government of Bangladesh’s transformational change through providing policy recommendation and thought leadership during formulation of policies and strategies to address climate change", said Sudipto Mukerjee, UNDP Resident Representative in Bangladesh. “It has provided innovative solutions for community-based adaptation and ecosystem-based adaptation to enhance resilience of climate vulnerable communities, helping Bangladesh move closer to attaining SDG13 by 2030,” he added. “We will continue to extend our full support to the Government of Bangladesh in this regard and keep putting emphasis on climate resilient and green development.”

The project will contribute towards achieving national priorities set in the Bangladesh Climate Change Strategy and Action Plan and Nationally Determined Contributions. This new initiative will be part of UNDP’s continuous effort to achieve sustainable development goals and eradicate poverty and inequality, and tackle the dual threats of climate change and natural disasters.

Additional notes

Because of its geographical location, major rivers and low-lying deltaic terrain, Bangladesh is highly exposed to the impacts of both slow- and rapid-onset climate-driven disasters, including sea-level rise, saline intrusion, cyclones, storm surges, floods, extreme heat and droughts.

Its vulnerability is increased by local dependency on agricultural livelihoods - agriculture in Bangladesh still provides employment to over 43% of the country’s workforce and 60% of all employed women - and low adaptive capacity within the government and communities.

Char (island) communities face a particularly high level of exposure to natural disasters due to higher levels of poverty, limited access to the mainland, limited access to basic services such as water and sanitation, limited transportation services, and reliance on agriculture for livelihoods. The impacts disproportionately affect the poor and are especially severe for women and children.

In response to the challenges, the project 'Adaptation Initiative for Climate Vulnerable Offshore Small Island and Riverine Charland in Bangladesh' will:

  • Roll out cyclone and flood-resistant homes and livelihood practices for vulnerable households living on the target chars (islands);
  • Build and repair local infrastructure, such as embankments;
  • Install rainwater harvesting systems for safe drinking water and home-garden irrigation and community nano-grids for electrification;
  • Improve cyclone preparedness and response, including risk mapping and expanded early warning systems; and
  • Build the capacity of local and national government and communities in realising climate-resilient development on chars.


An estimated 341,000 people (31,000 direct beneficiaries and 310,000 indirect beneficiaries) living on chars in the districts of Rangpur and Bhola are expected to benefit.

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Last Updated: 9 Apr 2019