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Developing institutions and options for livelihood adaptation to climate variability and change in drought-prone areas of Bangladesh

What are people already doing to adapt their livelihoods to climate change in Bangladesh? What can be done to improve their capacity to adapt?

This case study report documents responses to the continuing trend of more frequent and intense droughts in a district of Northwest Bangladesh. This FAO and Asian Disaster Preparedness Centre case study, implemented by the Bangladesh Government’s Comprehensive Disaster Risk Management Programme (CDMP) and the Ministry of Agriculture, forms part of a broader project examining sustainable livelihoods in the agricultural sector in the context of climate change.

The case study aimed to characterise livelihood systems, understand local perceptions of and responses to climate impacts, and develop good practice options. It found that:

  • Climatic conditions reinforce the chronic vulnerability of livelihoods, but it is the limited local capacities and capabilities and the lack of access to various forms of assets that make peoples’ livelihoods increasingly vulnerable.
  • Households are making both agricultural and non-agricultural adaptations, based on traditional, locally managed practices as well as technology-driven efforts sometimes supported by the government – but these strategies are insufficient.|Successful adaptation will require:
  • Interrelated short and long term measures including physical measures such as canal excavation; adjustment of agricultural practices; and strengthening both local and formal institutions.
  • An enabling institutional environment, especially the coordination of agency planning, communication and field operations activities, and activities of government line agencies and departments, NGOs, GO agencies and farmers.
  • Establishing the linkages between climate change adaptation and mainstream development.