Tuesday, October 11, 2011
Bangladesh among 28 developing countries ranked fifth most vulnerable to climate change and hunger, said a new report.
The ActionAid research report styled ‘On the Brink: Who’s Best Prepared for a Climate Change and Hunger Crisis?” reveals that Bangladesh is more vulnerable than its neighbours India, Pakistan and Nepal, who ranked 7, 14 and 16 respectively.
Published yesterday, the report also said that Bangladesh is better prepared to face the challenges than its neighbours along with China and South Africa, ranking eighth in the list of most prepared countries due to the measures already in place.
The international NGO, working on poverty and injustice, however, warned that the era of cheap food was near its end due to the triple crisis climate change, depleted natural resources and sky-rocketing food prices, while Bangladesh, among other countries, may not be prepared to face the consequences.
The report said that Bangladesh is facing severe water-related challenges due to climate change scarcity of fresh water, salinity, increased flood and erosion, frequent and prolonged drought, while its early warning system for floods, cyclones and storm is considered state-of-the-art.
Recognising the adaptation plans taken by the government, the report said, “This is unlikely to prove sufficient to deal with the looming climate crisis and the dire predictions this will have in Bangladesh.”
Republic of the Congo, Burundi, South Africa and Haiti are ahead of Bangladesh in the ‘vulnerable list’ while Brazil, Malawi, Rwanda, Ethiopia and Tanzania are the top five countries least prepared to tackle the challenges.
In the Global Assessment Report of the UNDP, revealed earlier this year, Bangladesh was found to be one of the most vulnerable countries in the world.
Moreover, in the World Risk Index 2011, jointly conducted by United Nations University (UNU), Germany and the Institute of Environment and Human Security, published in September, Bangladesh ranked sixth among countries that are most vulnerable to natural disasters including typhoons, earthquake and tsunamis, while second among the Asian countries.
The NGO found that though the number of undernourished people in Bangladesh dropped to 27 percent as of January 2011, prices of rice and wheat increased by 42 percent (April) than the previous year.
“With nearly half of 135 million people already living below the poverty line, higher food prices will have a severe impact on poor people’s ability to buy enough food,” the ActionAid report added.
It suggests that Bangladesh would need to produce another 30 million tonnes of rice each year to become self-sufficient in food production, though “this could be difficult as the country is losing more than 80,000 hectares, which equals around one percent of arable land, to climate change or urbanisation every year”.
The international NGO fears that climate change would add half a billion people to those facing chronic hunger around the world by 2050, the alarming high food price is set to push 44 million more people into poverty while the poorest people would lose more arable lands as a result of unsustainable farming practices and an unprecedented rush by investors to control resources like oil, minerals, biofuel and water.