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Disaster risk management in Bangladesh is conducted through a range of national frameworks, encompassing plans, policies, and directives. Although the structures for managing disaster risks and climate change are distinct, there is a significant intersection in their functions and areas of focus. The Prime Minister at the national level oversees strategic direction, while at the local level, climate risk management is largely reliant on the efforts of local disaster management committees. This encompasses committees at the district, upazila, and union levels, as well as representatives from the Cyclone Preparedness Programme (CPP). Their collective efforts are crucial for the successful implementation of the National Adaptation Plan (NAP) and National Plan for Disaster Management (NPDM)1.
Disaster risk management is overseen by the National Disaster Management Council (NDMC), which is led by the Prime Minister. The council is responsible for setting a clear strategic direction and promoting a comprehensive approach to managing disaster risks where climate risk is considered as a driver of influencing risk. The Disaster Management (DM) Policy (2015) places importance on financial resources for DM activities at all levels. The National Plan for Disaster Risk Management (NPDM) looks at the risks and consequences of disasters and community involvement and integration of structural and non-structural measures. The DM Act 2012 endorses the Standing Orders on Disaster (SoD) which was updated in 2019 and provides a legal basis. The Ministry of Disaster Management and Relief (MoDMR), plays a crucial role in coordinating national DRM initiatives across various agencies. They ensure a synchronised effort in areas such as mitigation, preparedness, response, and recovery. The Government coordination operates in a hierarchical manner.
National Level: National Disaster Management Council (NDMC) and Inter-Ministerial Disaster Management Coordination Committee (IMDMCC).
Local Level: Local level Disaster Management Committees (DMCs) manage coordination at division, district, city, municipality, subdistrict, union and ward tiers.
To further enhance DRM effectiveness, the MoDMR collaborates extensively with various stakeholders, which include sectoral ministries, departments, United Nations bodies, International NGOs, Local and National Actors (L/NAs), as well as humanitarian organisations like the Red Cross and Red Crescent Society. Funding and support from donors and multilateral development banks also play an integral part in these collaborative efforts.
For climate risk management, the National Adaptation Plan (NAP) introduces an institutional framework that champions climate change adaptation from the grassroots to the national level. Prioritising multilevel coordination, the NAP seeks to transform the National Environment Council, under the Prime Minister of Bangladesh’s purview, into the National Council on Environment and Climate Change. This transition aims to broaden its jurisdiction to oversee the NAP and associated strategies. While the NAP underscores the necessity for sweeping changes in climate change and adaptation policies for their seamless inclusion in development agendas, it also points to the need for heightened transparency, compliance, and effective implementation. Significant recommendations encompass amendments to the Climate Change Trust Fund Act (2010) for enhanced climate financing, aligning the NAP’s objectives with overarching national goals, and staying abreast with global climate conventions. Even with strides made through frameworks like NAPA, BCCSAP, and NDC, there remain challenges in climate data collation, integrating Climate Change Adaptation (CCA) into strategising, and fostering efficient stakeholder coordination.
National Level: The National Council on Environment and Climate Change (NCECC) and The Inter-ministerial Steering Committee on Climate Change (IMSCCC) will spearhead the NAP’s implementation. Chaired by the Minister of the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC), the committee aims to foster interministerial synergies. A sub-committee, the National Technical Advisory Committee on Climate Change, directed by the MoEFCC’s Secretary, will be instituted to provide periodic NAP reviews and tackle implementation hurdles.
Local Level: The NAP stresses the importance of local-level adaptation, empowering District Development Coordination Committees to lead local initiatives. These committees will collaborate closely with Local-level Disaster Management Committees (DMCs) to manage coordination at district, city, municipality, sub-district, and union tiers.
Additionally, a dedicated MoEFCC unit will coordinate climate action funding. Furthermore, the NAP focuses on strengthening capacity-building, knowledge management, and effective coordination across multiple stakeholders to efficiently address climate change impacts and solutions.
The UN Resident Coordinator (RC) is responsible for working with the Government – in collaboration with humanitarian and development actors – to limit the negative impacts of disaster by addressing the underlying drivers of risk, and building the capacity of people exposed to disasters to anticipate, adapt and recover. In 2019, the Government of Bangladesh, through the approved revised SOD, recognized the present national cluster coordination mechanism in line with the global Inter-Agency Standing Committee (IASC) cluster system. The Humanitarian Coordination Task Team (HCTT) is a forum for effective coordination with the government, national and international actors by the office of the United Nations Resident Coordinator (UNRCO) jointly with the Ministry of Disaster Management and Relief (MoDMR) in accordance with humanitarian principles (humanity, impartiality, neutrality, and independence). The HCTT also acts as the coordination platform for the sectoral cluster co-leads with GoB and the other stakeholders, including the UN, INGOs, Local and National Actors (L/NAs), Red Cross and Red Crescent Society, donors, and multilateral banks aim, ultimately, is to anticipate – not wait for – humanitarian crises. Recently, The Humanitarian Advisory Group (HAG) has been created that work together to assist the Resident Coordinator (RC) in Bangladesh in his/her role as the Co-chair of the HCTT. It coordinates disaster risk reduction, preparedness, anticipatory action, response, and recovery interventions based on the SPEED approach.
The Local Consultative Group (LCG) is a formal mechanism for dialogue on development effectiveness. It comprises Development Partners (DPs) including the multilateral and bilateral agencies, international financial institutions, UN agencies and the Government. Based on internationally agreed development effectiveness principles, the LCG discusses the joint priorities of the national development plan. It focuses on results, inclusive partnership, transparency and mutual accountability amongst partners. Currently, the LCG structure consists of: (i) Bangladesh Development Forum (BDF); (ii) LCG Plenary (GoB-DP); (iii) LCG DP ExComm; (v) LCG Working Groups (14 LCG Working Groups after a November 2021 restructuring); (vi) LCG Secretariat.
The Comprehensive Risk Management under the Area-Based Collaboration Comprehensive Risk Management (ABC-CRM) Framework outlines actionable steps for enforcing the Standing Order on Disaster (SOD) and the National Adaptation Plan (NAP). It emphasizes that national coordination structures should align with and strengthen comprehensive risk management, including preparedness and adaptive capacity; response and risk transfer, restoration of community functions and eco-system and mitigation efforts led by the Government. Furthermore, enhances the participation, representation, and leadership role of L/NAs within comprehensive risk management coordination structures according to the Grand Bargain commitment.