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Bangladesh to face 5 pc productivity, GDP losses by 2030: Experts

Bangladesh to face 5 pc productivity, GDP losses by 2030: Experts

Staff Correspondent

Bangladesh could lose 5% of its total productivity, equivalent to nearly four million full-time jobs, and experience GDP losses of up to nearly 5% by 2030 as the continuous heatwave in April this year in the country has broken a 76-year record for high temperatures, according to climate experts.

All sectors, including agriculture, fisheries, livestock, and health, have been affected by the excessive heat.

Boro paddy cultivation is particularly threatened by the hot weather. Mango buds have fallen, and there has been a 25% loss in milk, egg, and meat production.

Comprehensive preparations should be made to deal with such extreme weather conditions. Scientists express concern that extreme climate change events will increase and there is no immediate solution.

Climate experts made such statements in a seminar held at Renaissance Hotel, Gulshan, Dhaka, on Thursday organised by BRAC’s Climate Change Programme.

The objective of the seminar was to inform and sensitise policymakers, academics, media, and civil society on the science-policy-practice nexus of heat waves.

The seminar was chaired by Asif Saleh, executive director of BRAC.

While addressing the seminar as the chief guest, Dr Farhina Ahmed, secretary, Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, said, “We are working on incorporating the health aspect of climate change into the National Adaptation Plan. Specific actions and interventions related to the effect of heatwaves on health shall be undertaken so our healthcare systems can be better prepared to tackle these issues.

We also need to build capacity and awareness among diverse groups in the population so that citizens are better equipped to combat the effects of extreme heatwaves.”

“We need to prepare our engineers and architects to develop infrastructure and designs that emphasise nature-based solutions. We must retrofit our current infrastructure and bring in new technologies to reduce heat generation,” she added.

She appreciated BRAC for organising such a timely discussion.
In his closing remark Asif Saleh, executive director of BRAC, said, “Marginalised communities are the most vulnerable to any type of disaster. We saw it during COVID-19, during the economic crisis, and in the impacts of climate change. Those who do not have a voice and those who have no one to listen to them are most at risk. Unfortunately, marginalised communities are suffering the most for something they are not responsible for.

I applaud our policymakers, particularly the prime minister and the Minister for Environment, Forest and Climate Change who are advocating globally for not just Bangladesh but all the climate-vulnerable countries. However, there is still a long way to go to achieve just climate financing for climate adaptation.”

Bushra Afreen, chief heat officer at Dhaka North City Corporation, said, “Dhaka city was never built with heat resilience in mind. With very limited resources and keeping sustainability in mind, we must all work together and enact the commitments we make.”

Presenting research on the heatwave, Dr Md Liakath Ali, director of the Climate Change Programme, Urban Development Programme, and Disaster Risk Management Programme at BRAC, said, “According to media sources, nationwide Boro paddy production may decrease by 6-16%, and 30% of mango bud fell off due to prolonged drought followed by heatwaves.

Moreover, the poultry industry lost Tk200 crore in the recent two weeks of heatwaves. The estimated loss of dairy products (milk, eggs, and meat) was 25%. Labour-intensive sectors suffered an output loss of Tk50,000 crore in Dhaka city alone. Dhaka is losing $6 billion worth of labour productivity per year due to heat stress. As a result, by 2030, Bangladesh could lose 5% of its total productivity, equivalent to nearly 4 million full-time jobs, and experience GDP losses of up to 4.9%.”

Dharitri Kumar Sarkar, deputy secretary, Ministry of the Environment, Forest and Climate Change; Dr Md Shameem Hassan Buiyan, deputy director, and Dr Muhammad Abul Kalam Mallik, meteorologist, Bangladesh Meteorological Department (BMD); and Dr AKM Saiful Islam, professor, Institute of Water and Flood Management at Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology, actively participated in the discussion session.

The welcome and introductory remarks at the event were delivered by Tapas Ranjan Chakraborty, senior programme manager, Climate Change Programme at BRAC.

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