Bangladesh to introduce climate risk assessment tool
DOULOT AKTER MALA |
05, 2021, 8:46 a.m.
Being one of the most climate-vulnerable countries in the world, Bangladesh will make compliance with a disaster auditing tool mandatory to assess the risks of development projects across the country, officials said.
It should help control the waste of public money due to the negative impact of climate change.
The automated tool âDigital Risk Information Platform (DRIP)â was developed by the National Resilience Program (NRP) of the Planning Commission to conduct a disaster impact assessment (DIA) in the 64 districts.
On October 6, a draft directive was approved by the Ministry of Planning, aimed at making the DRIP verification mandatory in the DIA process while conducting feasibility studies on development project proposals (DPP).
The proposal would be submitted to the next meeting of the Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (ECNEC) for approval, officials said.
In accordance with the policy directive of the Ministry of Planning, issued at the beginning of this year, any DPP exceeding an expenditure of
500 million Tk must pass through the DIA.
The PNR, funded by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), developed the DRIP through detailed disaster risk mapping in the country’s 64 districts.
In the second phase, the disaster risk assessment for 492 upazilas nationwide would be conducted, NRP officials said.
The automated system was developed so that the government could undertake development projects like hospitals, schools and other establishments after assessing disaster risks or the adverse effects of climate change in affected areas, they said. .
Officials said that every year a number of schools, homes and other important establishments are washed away by river erosion.
Also, cyclones, droughts, floods, deforestation and other risks of climate change are often overlooked when preparing development project proposals by relevant ministries or departments.
Officials said residents of affected areas alleged that schools, colleges, hospitals or other large establishments are often hastily and intentionally built before any election by members of parliament (deputies) in the affected area without thinking about its durability.
The DRIP is developed by the Center for Environmental and Geographic Information Services (CEGIS) with expenditure of Tk 8.0 million.
PNR Project Director Nurun Nahar said it is important to measure disaster risk of development projects.
âUnder the project, more labor would be recruited and the system would be integrated into the Annual Development Program (ADP),â she said.
The disaster risk map would be visible in the ADP and the environmental risks would be indicated there, she added.
She said climate change adaptation measures, salinity, critical aspects of road construction and other disaster risk information were still missing in many PPDs.
Such risks should be identified early in project design to ensure sustainability, she added.
The PNR project, which was due to expire this month, has been extended until December 2022, an official said.
Renowned architect and environmental expert Iqbal Habib said the pre-feasibility study of economic and environmental aspects should be made mandatory for certain key development projects.
âDevelopment project proposals for educational institutions, health services and roads must contain disaster risk assessment reports before their approval,â he said.
The government should make it mandatory regardless of the project ceiling, given its multiple effects on vulnerable groups, including women and children, he said.
Even, there must be disaster vulnerability reports before approval of bank loans for any development project, he added.
There is a directive from the National Disaster Management Council (NDMC), headed by the Prime Minister, to include the DIA in the planning process of development projects.
According to a recent multi-agency report coordinated by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and released in October this year, Bangladesh suffered a loss of around $ 11.3 billion last year due to various natural disasters. such as floods, droughts and cyclones.