Building Resilience and Adaptive Capacity to Climate Change through Microfinance in Bangladesh
InM, in cooperation with Institute for Global Environmental Strategies (IGES), Japan, has organised a day-long Launching Ceremony and Workshop entitled “Building Resilience and Adaptive Capacity to Climate Change through Microfinance in Bangladesh” for collaborative research on microfinance and climate change adaptation at Pan Pacific Sonargaon Hotel, Dhaka on 15 January 2013.
The Launching Ceremony and Workshop was aimed to raise awareness of key organisations and individuals on the joint research, to contribute to policy implications, and to gather inputs for future research and finally, to work on the significant issues of climate change through microfinance in Bangladesh. The objectives of the Workshop was to collect inputs from experts on the linkages between microfinance, building resilience and climate change adaptation, as well as on other significant issues associated with the climate change – microfinance nexus in Bangladesh.
The Workshop has focused on climate change as it is an existential issue for Bangladesh, and the country is highly likely to be one of the worst victims of climate change in the coming years. Given the importance of finding out the measures to protect us from the impacts of climate change, as also mandated by the Government of Bangladesh, proper attention should be given to microfinance and other poverty alleviation interventions from a climate change perspective.
With this in mind, InM and IGES agreed to a collaborative programme of research on the role of microfinance in building resilience and adaptive capacity to deal with climate change. In the first phase of the collaboration, policy papers will be developed to set out the issues and conduct preliminary analysis based on existing knowledge and available data. A proposal for action research with multiple combinations of finance and non-finance interventions in affected areas, with the objective of increasing understanding on building resilience and adaptive capacity to climate change, will also be prepared. In the second phase, the action research will be implemented with the collaboration of donors and other key partners.
Dr. Hasan Mahmud, MP, Honourable Minister for Environment and Forests, Government of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh, graced the inaugural session as the Chief Guest. Ms. Sarah Cooke, Country Representative, DFID Bangladesh, was present as the Special Guest, and Mr. Hideyuki Mori President, IGES, was the Guest of Honour. The event was chaired by Dr. Qazi Kholiquzzaman Ahmad, Chairman, InM. Professor M. A. Baqui Khalily, Executive Director, InM welcomed the participants to the Workshop and briefed on the goals and objectives of the event.
Honourable Minister Dr. Mahmud said climate change is a great threat to Bangladesh in becoming one of the developed countries by next two decades as it is predicted. Despite having lower per capita income, Bangladesh has made remarkable progress in human development index over the last four decades, one of the main factors was microfinance, he added. He also said Bangladeshi people have shown their resilience on many occurrences, but this capacity can also be enhanced through microfinance.
Dr. Qazi Kholiquzzaman Ahmad said in Bangladesh, policymakers are emphasising more on prevention and risk reduction. He said hazard and disaster are two different things, if a hazard happens in a densely populated country like Bangladesh, the disaster impact will be severe. Therefore we have to focus on recovery and reconstruction but before that we have to focus on prevention which is the responsibility of the developed countries. Microfinance can contribute to household resilience in the context of climate change, he added.
Followed by a “Panel Discussion Session” consisted of global climate change experts and specialists, eminent professionals and practitioners from related fields deliberated their thoughts, ideas and suggestions on the significant issues and challenges of climate change in Bangladesh highlighting the focus of the Workshop. The Panel Discussion Session was moderated by Dr. M. A. Sattar Mandal, Member, Planning Commission of Bangladesh and former Vice Chancellor, Bangladesh Agricultural University.
At the panel discussion session, the panellists were: Dr. M. Asaduzzaman, Research Director, Bangladesh Institute of Development Studies (BIDS), Mr. A. M. Monsurul Alam, Director, Department of Environment, GoB, Dr. Henry Scheyvens, Director, IGES, Professor Dr. Mahbuba Nasreen, Director, Institute of Disaster Management and Vulnerability Studies (IDMVS), University of Dhaka, Dr. Fazle Rabbi Sadeque Ahmed, Project Coordinator (Community Climate Change Project), PKSF, Mr. Mohammad Fazlul Kader, Deputy Managing Director, PKSF, and Dr. Rezaul Karim, Environment Specialist and Vice Chairman, Bangladesh Unnayan Parishad (BUP).
At the open floor (question-answer) discussion session, various queries came up from the participants and the panellists replied to the questions accordingly. The Workshop became lively by the active participation of academicians, microfinance stakeholders, environmental practitioners, policymakers, researchers, and other eminent personnel from reputed institutions and organisations.