Bangladesh is recognised by the UNFCCC as one of the most vulnerable countries to climate change impacts, according to the Grantham paper on 2015 Global Climate Change Legislation Study.
With the sea level predicted to rise by at least 1 metre by 2100, the environmental situation in Bangladesh makes it one of the most vulnerable densely populated countries in the world. A 1 metre rise in sea level could lead to millions of Bangladeshi people displaced. Salt intrusion will lead to a decreased ability to grow crops and subsequently a food shortage, large scale health problems, and many more issues.
Along with this threat, Bangladeshi communities are affected by environmental problems every day including extreme weather and pollution. Riverside communities report extremely high levels of skin disease, respiratory disease, stomach illnesses and many other ailments directly linked to the use of polluted water for drinking and bathing. The polluted waterways and regular flooding are already affecting farming and causing lower crop growth and regular fish kills, leading to food shortage.
The Bangladesh UK Environmental Foundation (BUEF) was set up by a group of people originally from Bangladesh, with the intention of raising funds in the UK to improve the environment, and therefore the health, well being, and livelihoods of the people in Bangladesh. The charitable trust, calling on the help of the Bangladeshi diaspora communities throughout the UK, will fund environmental projects in Bangladesh such as clean water and sanitation.
The BUEF is committed to sustainable development in Bangladesh, which is a fundamental need of developing countries to build resilience to climate threats.
The Commonwealth Environmental Investment Platform (CEIP) has been working alongside the BUEF since it began, helping to establish and register the charity, and acting as an advisor. The CEIP also supports the charity by providing valuable links, leading to the charity’s first collaborative relationships with the Dhaka Ahsania Mission (DAM) and Concern Universal.
The BUEF recently held a Group Meeting hosted by the CEIP at our London office, inviting prominent Bangladeshi professionals and business people to discuss ideas and suggestions for how the BUEF should move forward. The meeting was extremely well attended and provided a valuable insight into the high level of support available to the BUEF, across the UK, and even from overseas diaspora links. The attendees provided a wealth of knowledge, useful suggestions and opportunities to support the BUEF.
We would like to thank those who took the time to attend the BUEF meeting last week and contributed to our discussion. The strong messages of support and encouragement at the meeting greatly heartened us all, and this groundbreaking example of Bangladeshi diaspora engagement with the serious environmental challenges of Bangladesh shows how we can unite to help some of the people most at risk from climate change.