Community-driven attempts to build climate change resiliency in Bangladesh

June 14, 2017

Bangladesh is one of most vulnerable countries to climate change due to its unique geographical position. The Government has set up a multi-donor trust fund Bangladesh Climate Change Resilience Fund (BCCRF), a ‘one-stop’ mechanism for large-scale climate change financing in Bangladesh. The Community Climate Change Project (CCCP) is one of the two windows of BCCRF, and videos highlighted show how the project recognizes the importance of local empowerment and NGOs in community-based programs and services.


The frequency and intensity of extreme climatic events are expected to increase in Bangladesh because of climate change, with devastating economic, social and ecological consequences. The risks from climate variability and change are geographically concentrated in six specific regions of the country. These regions also have higher concentrations of the poor — the subsistence farmers, the rural landless, fishing communities, and urban poor. The areas are largely defined by their physiology and ecology and have varying climate change risks. The South, Southwest, and Southeast coastal region is at risk from increasingly frequent and severe tropical cyclones, sea level rise causing drainage congestion, and saline intrusion in surface, ground water and soil. The Northwest Barind Tract is prone to drought. The Northeast haor or freshwater wetland area alternately face delayed rainfall or early flooding, and sedimentation from erosion of the surrounding hill areas. On the other hand the Central char and floodplains are prone to flooding, flash floods, and river bank erosion; the Hill Tracts are prone to landslides; and the urban areas are impacted by drainage congestion.


Established in 2010, the BCCRF is supported by Australia, Denmark, the European Union, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, and the United States. The fund is supporting Bangladesh in strengthening its resilience to climate change. BCCRF has also recognized the long-indispensable roles of local empowerment and numerous NGOs in community-based programs and services often in partnership with government and international development partners. BCCRF allocated $13 million of its climate-resilience funding to NGOs through its Community Climate Change Project (CCCP). The CCCP, in turn, provides competitive grants to NGOs to implement community-driven adaptation to climate change. The BCCRF Governing Council designated the Palli Karma-Sahayak Foundation as the responsible agency for this project. The CCCP focuses on the communities hit hardest by current weather extremes: populations who live in coastal areas affected by saltwater intrusions, in flood-prone chars (silt islands in rivers) and river basins, or in areas afflicted by recurring droughts.
With few resources and no opportunity to relocate, these people know they must develop enough flexibility to adapt and survive. Every aspect of their lives is at risk — homes, livelihoods, food and water security, health, and well-being. The CCCP aimed to strengthen their resilience to cope with both current and future climate stresses by improving infrastructure, adapting agricultural practices, and finding innovative sources of income.
PKSF assigned 41 CCCP sub-projects to competitively selected local NGOs. The projects include raising homes to prevent daily inundation;  climate adaptive alternative livelihoods; ensuring access to safe freshwater by rainwater harvesting; excavating ponds with Pond Sand Filter (PSF)  and performing desalination in water-scarce villages; and adapting agricultural practices to farm drought-resistant or flood-tolerant crops.
In the high-saline areas, where traditional agriculture fails, the project helped the community to shift to salinity tolerant mud crab cultivation. With a growing demand of the crab species in the international market, the local community, especially the women have raised their income level. Collectively, these changes exemplify the capacity of local communities to become financially self-reliant and resilient to weather and climate extremes. The efforts also highlight the importance of focusing climate services on the ongoing needs of these communities, which will continue to bear the brunt of weather and climate extremes.


Results in numbers:

·   Nearly 500 project concept notes were received
·   41 NGOs were awarded sub-grants addressing three climatic risk zones, salinity, flood and drought prone areas of Bangladesh
·   40,000 people benefit from community-led schemes in flood, drought and salinity prone vulnerable upazillas.
·   400 vulnerable households get fresh drinking water from pilot desalinization plant in Shyamnagar
·   Women raised income level by earning additional BDT 1500 a month from saline tolerant mud crab culture in high saline areas
·   All NGOs completed their activities

Towards the Future
PKSF opened a Climate Change Unit to integrate climate change in their activities

Basic Information

Approval date

August 06, 2012

End date

December 31, 2016

Total commitment

$13 million

Implementing agency

Palli Karma-Sahayak Foundation (PKSF)