Cooperation in action

Climate-smart urban development in Bangladesh

Building a new road in Khulna, Bangladesh

Climate change poses particular problems for Bangladesh: one-fifth of the country could be left permanently under water as sea levels rise. On top of that, Bangladesh is already the most densely populated country in the world.

Germany is helping Bangladesh adapt to the impacts of climate change – for example in the city of Khulna, which is home to 1.5 million people. Khulna lies on the banks of the Bhairab and Rupsha rivers in south-western Bangladesh, at a height of just two to four metres above sea level. On account of its position, the city is prone to severe flooding during the monsoon season.

Because roads in Bangladesh frequently double as dams, they play a key part in flood protection. Germany is helping Khulna pave its roads and install drainage systems, with the result that parts of the city are no longer under water for weeks at a time. Slum areas benefit particularly from this, because the improved roads mean that they are permanently connected to the transport grid. Thus the inhabitants not only enjoy better protection from floods but also have access to new economic opportunities.

Improving living conditions in slums

Another Technical Cooperation project by the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) is supporting the Bangladesh cities of Khulna and Rajshahi in addressing climate-related internal migration. Both cities are experiencing an exceptional influx of migrants from surrounding areas. Around 70 per cent of the slum dwellers in Khulna and Rajshahi came to the city because of the effects of climate change.

Germany is supporting the two cities with needs-oriented measures on the ground with funds from its special initiative "Tackling the root causes of displacement, reintegrating refugees". The assistance provided involves sharing knowledge on the needs of climate migrants and supporting labour-intensive efforts to develop and expand municipal services such as water and energy supply services. The efforts to expand basic infrastructures have a two-fold impact: they improve the living conditions in informal settlements and create employment opportunities for the people living there. Germany is also supporting advanced training opportunities which are implemented in cooperation with small and medium-sized enterprises. These training measures help to improve people's employment opportunities in the long term.

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