The FINANCIAL — DHAKA, September 26, 2018 — Nearly half of South Asia’s population, including more than three-quarters of Bangladesh’s population, is at risk of declining living standards due to rising temperature and erratic rainfall from climate change, says a new World Bank Report.
The report released today in Dhaka, South Asia’s Hotspots: The Impact of Temperature and Precipitation Changes on Living Standards, finds that in the last 60 years the region’s average temperatures have increased and will continue rising, which is affecting agriculture, health and productivity. This could cost Bangladesh 6.7 percent of Gross Domestic Product and depress the living standards of more than three-quarters of the country’s population by 2050.
Bangladesh’s average annual temperatures are expected to rise by 1.0°C to 1.5°C by 2050 even if preventive measures are taken along the lines of those recommended by the Paris climate change agreement of 2015. If no measures are taken, then the country’s average temperatures are predicted to increase by 1.0°C to 2.5°C.
By 2050, Chittagong Division will be most vulnerable to changing climate. Seven out of the top 10 most-affected hotspot districts — where changes in average temperature and precipitation will have a negative effect on living standards — will be in the Chittagong Division. The top two climate hotspots will likely be Cox’s Bazar and Bandarban, which may suffer from a more than 18 percent decline in their living standards, followed by Chittagong, Rangamati, and Noakhali.
Abul Maal Abdul Muhith, Minister of Finance, was the chief guest at the event. The launch event brought together multiple stakeholders to discuss best adaptation strategies, identifying key bottlenecks, as well as ways to strengthen institutional capacity to respond to the increasing threat of climate change and natural disasters.
The World Bank was among the first development partners to support Bangladesh following its independence. Since then, the World Bank has committed nearly $29 billion in grants and interest-free credits to the country. In recent years, Bangladesh has been among the largest recipients of the World Bank’s interest-free credits.