Population (thousand) (2015): 160,996.64
Multidimensional Poverty Index Value (2014): 0.02
Inequality-adjusted Human Development Index, Country Rank (2014): 142
Gross Domestic Product per capita, at Purchasing Price Parity (2015) (US$): 3,332.8
Over the last three decades Bangladesh has witnessed a significant reduction in its poverty rates, from 60% in 1990 to 31.5% in 2010. This has come as a result of strong economic growth, averaging at 6.5% since 2010. But despite these advancements, Bangladesh has a long road ahead in ensuring that economic growth is both stable and inclusive, keeping rising inequality in check and responding to extreme climate risks and disasters. The threat of climate change puts at risk the hard-earned impacts of years of growth and development, not just for those people in impoverished settlements along coastal belts and riverbanks, but also rather for the entire nation.
To support the Bangladesh Planning Commission to respond to these issues and plan for the adoption of a sustainable development pathway, Poverty-Environment Initiative in Bangladesh works with the General Economics Division to enhance the capacity of policy makers to design and adopt macroeconomic policies and development plans that are centred around the dual goals of poverty reduction and environmental sustainability. This is achieved through the Support to Sustainable and Inclusive Planning Project, run jointly with UNDP and UNDESA that aims to tie the gains on millennium development goals to the long term vision for the country’s growth.
The SSIP project is built on previous Poverty-Environment Initiative’s previous project in Bangladesh- the Poverty, Environment, Climate Mainstreaming Project and the Poverty Reduction and Millennium Development Goals Monitoring Project with the Planning Commission.
- Environment, Climate Change and Disaster Management has been designated an individual national priority sector for planning and financing as a result of the Support to Sustainable and Inclusive Planning Project’s advocacy.
- The Ministry of Finance and the Planning Commission have harmonized their way of working by creating an equal number of sectors according to which the planning and budgeting will take place.
- Development projects are now required to be greener, more inclusive and climate resilient. The standard form to propose development projects was modified in 2012 to include environment, climate and poverty concerns and the annual development programme guidelines of 2012-2013 included specific poverty-environment-climate considerations in four key sectors (agriculture, water, rural development and transport).
- Through technical support to 28 ongoing government projects in Bangladesh, Poverty-Environment Initiative is helping to reverse environmental degradation while also benefiting the poor by creating income possibilities and improving resilience to the effects of climate change.
- Key policy and planning documents such as the recently released Seventh Five Year Plan (2016-2020), Sixth Five Year Plan 2011-15, the Perspective Plan (2010-21): Making Vision 2021 a Reality, the Country Investment Plan and the Annual Development Guideline (2012-2013), now carry greater emphasis on environmental protection and poverty reduction; setting the foundation for sustainable growth in the long term.
- Bangladesh has screened nine large-scale public investments using poverty-environment and climate criteria, resulting in four large government-funded investment projects that better address the concerns of the poor and have increased budget allocations for this purpose. All ministries that submit projects for funding must demonstrate the percentage of poor people who will benefit, what the impact on natural resources will be, and the extent of resilience of new infrastructure to climate change.
- The results of the climate public enviornmental and institutional review in Bangladesh, carried out in 2012, have contributed to a significant shift in government thinking. Overall, Bangladesh currently spends US$1 billion a year, 6–7% of its annual budget on climate change adaptation. This represents nearly a fifth of World Bank’s recent estimation for expenditure needs by 2050 a year already, three-quarters of which comes directly from the Government. For the extreme poor and landless households, household spending on climate change adaptation often exceeds their income, some by more than double the amount.
- On the back of the climate public enviornmental and institutional review process, the Government has introduced a climate budget code with indicators in the 2013 budget. This has enabled the Government to track spending on a more continuous basis across all sectors.
- Under the Poverty, Environment, Climate Mainstreaming Project, the Ministry of Finance developed a first-of-its kind climate change accounting system (Climate Fiscal Framework) at the national and local level that helps the Government manage funds allocated towards climate change more effectively and channel them to the most vulnerable districts. This system has been piloted in eight select biodiversity hotspots and the findings from this are informing the scale-up process.
- The national-local interface has been strengthened through a pilot project in 41 Upazillas that has successfully ensured consideration of requirements and planning needs at a grassroots level. Current plans to expand this initiative nationally will go a long way in securing more pro-poor and inclusive development.
- Over the years, greater collaboration and coordination among various ministries and divisions has been fostered to ensure that policies and structures are more aligned to promote sustainable development. The Planning Commission has emerged as the leader for various multi-sectoral groups thereby ensuring that poverty-environment mainstreaming occurs seamlessly. In addition to this, joint socio-economic study teams and project steering committees for climate finance management have also promoted greater collaboration.