Climate Change Adaptation at Community Level: The Role of MFIs

InM and Bangladesh Water Partnership (BWP) jointly organised a seminar on ‘Climate Change Adaptation at Community Level: The Role of MFIs’ at PKSF Auditorium, Agargaon, Dhaka on 15 November 2014. The Seminar aimed at identifying the bankable projects and overcoming the challenges at village level in implementing climate change resilience through microcredit.

The Inaugural Session of the Seminar was chaired by Engr. Md. Shahidul Hassan, President, Bangladesh Water Partnership & Former Chief Engineer, LGED. Mr. Tauidul Anwar Khan, Secretary General, BWP graced the event as the Guest of Honor. Professor M. A. Baqui Khalily, Executive Director of the InM gave his welcome words to the audience and Dr. Fazle Rabbi Sadeque Ahmed, Project Coordinator, Community Climate Change Project (CCCP), Palli Karma-Sahayak Foundation (PKSF) gave a presentation on ‘Climate Change Adaptation at Community Level: The Role of MFIs’.

In his presentation Dr. Ahmed discussed the causes of climate change and the global efforts to mitigate the adverse effects of it. Dr. Ahmed pointed out the significance of climate change to MFIs and explained how MFIs are playing an enormous role in climate change adaptation. He briefly explained how human activities trigger climate change and recommended steps that should be undertaken to mitigate climate change.

After the inauguration three back to back Technical Sessions took place followed by the closing sessions. The Technical Session-1 session was chaired by Dr. Engr. Khondakar Azharul Haq, Vice President, Bangladesh Water Partnership. In his brief speech, he mentioned the incredible success and contributions of MFIs. Four separate papers were presented on two topics in the session.

Mr. Abdul Hamid Bhuiyan, Executive Director, Society for Social Services (SSS), and Mr. Alauddin Khan, Executive Director, National Development Programme (NDP), Sirajganj presented their papers regarding River Erosion Area in the first half of this session. Mr. Bhuiyan discussed the causes and impacts of erosion of rivers and MFIs role to deal with it. Mr. Khan, in his paper, discussed the causes and effects of flood. He also mentioned the activities of NDP to mitigate the impacts of flood and recommended some steps concerning it. He focused on river erosion and proposed steps that should be undertaken by the govt. as well as the private sector.

In the second half of the session, Mr. A T M Badrul Islam, Executive Director, Jainta Shinnomul Sangstha (JASHIS), Sylhet and Mr. Md. ShafiUddin, coordinator, Gono Kallyan Trust, (GKT), Manikganj presented papers regarding Flood-prone Area. Mr. Islam indicates the sectorial impacts of flash flood on agriculture, fisheries and water resources, where Mr. Uddin discussed vulnerability of different areas to disasters. In his discussion, He mentioned climate impacts in the Sylhet division including water resources and hydrology, impacts on agriculture, fisheries, haor areas and seasonal migration and so on.

The second technical session of the conference was chaired by Mr. Shabbir Ahmed Chowdhury, Advisor (Training), InM. Mr. Md. Rafiqul Alam, Executive Director, DWIP Unnayan Sangstha (DUS), Noakhali and Mr. Rasel Ahmed Liton, Chief Executive, Samaj Kallyan Sangstha Foundation, Gaibandha presented papers on Char Area. Mr. Md. Arifur Rahman, Executive Director, Young Power in Social Action (YPSA), Chitagong and Mr. M Golam Mostofa, Chief Executive Director, Resources Development Foundation, Barguna presented their papers regarding Coastal Area.

Mr. Alam described how the people of Hatia are to the victims of natural calamities. he explained the climate change adaptation process and the rights of the people living in the coastal area. The other presented paper describes how communities become vulnerable to climate change along with the parts of communities which are more vulnerable. It also discussed the role of MFIs in mitigating the impacts.

In the presentation on the Coastal Area, Mr. Rahman described YPSA’s experiences in climate change and disaster risk management and how it played its role in protecting environment and biodiversity. He also suggested some scopes for future work for climate change adaptation. On the other hand, Mr. Mostofa described the impacts of climate change and RDF’s activities concerning climate change adaptation.

The third technical session was chaired by Dr. Md. MoslehUddin Sadeque, Director (Training & Operations), InM. Another four very important papers on Haor and Hilly Area were presented in this session.

Mr. Murshed Alam Sarker, Executive Director, People’s Oriented Programme Implementation (POPI), Dhaka and Mr. Mohammad Hasan Ali, Executive Director, Pally Bikash Kendra (PBK), Kishoreganj presented their papers on Haor Area, where Mr. Biplob Chakma, Executive Director, Ashika Manabik Unnayan Kendra, Rangamati and Mr. Nikhil Chakma, Research Advocacy Officer, Green Hill, Rangamati presented their papers on Hilly Area.

Mr. Sarker discussed the impacts of climate changes in Haor region, MFIs’ role in climate change adaptation and POPI’s experiences concerning this issue. Beside, Mr. Ali described what can be done in future to mitigate the impacts of climate change.

Mr. Biplob Chakma pointed out the effects of climate change in Chittagong Hill Tracts. His paper includes some observations on adaptation agenda and recommended strengthening of local and national institutions and long-term funding arrangements. On the other hand, Mr. Nikhil Chakma described the results of Village Savings and Loan Association (VSLA) intervention on household resilience. He included some strategies for community level climate change adaptation.

After the presentation of every technical session the floor was open for question and answer.

The Closing Session was graced by the presence of Dr. Qazi Kholiquzzaman Ahmad, Chairman, InM, as the chief guest. The session was chaired by Prof. M. A. Baqui Khalily, Executive Director, InM. Dr. Engr. Khondakar Azharul Haq presented the summary of the seminar and thankfully appreciated the effort of InM and Bangladesh Water Partnership for providing such scope for sharing views among MFIs. He also recommended developing ideas to utilise the natural calamities in positive ways if possible.

Dr. Ahmad talked the necessity of developing awareness about climate change, its impacts and adaptation issues. He also discussed different aspects of Microfinance and MFIs and emphasised on developing mutual cooperation among the MFIs.