i. Climate change context
Geographical factors such as its position in a low-lying delta between the Himalayas and the Bay of Bengal and its exposed topography make Bangladesh, a densely populated country with over 163 million people, susceptible to climate change impacts. The country, which has an area of 148,460km², consists largely of low, flat land connected to a major network of more than 230 rivers and tributaries, including the Brahmaputra, Ganges, and Meghna rivers.
The World Bank says that Bangladesh is extremely vulnerable to natural risks and hazards such as floods, cyclones, and storms. Moreover, it is highly prone to earthquakes due to its location in an area with high seismic activity. Landslides, droughts, and sea-level rise in particular are also significant risks in Bangladesh.
The Global Carbon Atlas shows that Bangladesh had emissions of 0.6 t/CO2 per person in 2019. The country’s 3rdNational Communication (2018) states that Bangladesh's energy consumption stems from multiple sectors including industrial usage, transport, agriculture, and commercial activities. Moreover, due to unmanaged landfill sites in Bangladesh, the waste sector contributes significantly to greenhouse gas emissions. In addition, large areas of land are used for cropland and livestock management, which also contributes to greenhouse gas emissions.
Bangladesh signed the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in 1992 and ratified it in 1994. Bangladesh ratified the Kyoto Protocol in 2001 and the Paris Agreement in 2016. Bangladesh is regarded as a Non-Annex I (or non-industrialized) Country to the UNFCCC framework. The country accepted the Doha Amendmentin 2013.
The Bangladesh parliament officially declared a planetary emergency in November 2019. The government of Bangladesh spearheaded the decision by acknowledging the country’s increased vulnerability to climate change and biodiversity loss. A 2020 news report states that the ‘twin track declaration’ on both climate and biodiversity emergencies has received priority within national planning and will be considered for potential budgeting in the near future.
ii. Relevant government agencies
The Government of Bangladesh considers climate change to be a priority concern and has produced a number of focused national climate strategies as a result. The government is committed to building long-term climate change resilience through integrating climate change across the country’s future plans. Numerous government agencies and ministries thus participate in climate change communication and education.
The Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MoEFCC) is the nodal agency responsible for environment and climate change-related issues at the central level. It is also the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Action for Climate Empowerment (ACE) National Focal point. The MoEFCC is responsible for preparing National Communications and National Adaptation Plans.
The Department of Environment (DoE) through its Climate Change Cell, undertakes a number of initiatives to address climate change in line with its mandate to ensure sustainable environmental governance. The DoE has developed climate proofing guidelines for climate-vulnerable sectors, produced a comprehensive training manual on climate change, and established a Climate Change Knowledge Network (CCKN) with a rich online climate change database.
The new Ministry of Disaster Management and Relief (previously part of the Ministry of Food and Disaster Management) houses the Department of Disaster Management. The Ministry of Disaster Management and Relief(MoDMR) is responsible for establishing efficient emergency disaster risk reduction in Bangladesh. The Ministry is also mandated to produce national risk reduction reform programs. The Ministry collaborates with the Department of Environment on a Climate Change Cell that focuses on strengthening national capacity to manage disaster risks and recovery efforts. Through its safety net programs, the Ministry aims to reduce disaster risk and enhance adaptation to climate change.
The Ministry of Planning participates in projects that focus on integrating climate change and environmental considerations in national development planning and budgeting processes.
The Ministry of Agriculture collaborates with many institutions such as the Bangladesh Agricultural Research Council(BARC) to carry out research on different types of crop varieties that are impacted by climatic stresses and other Ministry representatives as its Board of Trustees.
The Ministry of Industries is mandated to ensure environment-friendly industrialization with a prioritization on climate change mitigation and adaptation and on upgrading industry-related policies.
The Ministry of Finance is involved in climate budgeting process and has introduced a separate budget line on climate change. The External Resources Division (ERD) under the Ministry serves as the National Designated Authority (NDA) to the Green Climate Fund. It regulates Bangladeshi agencies’ access to the Green Climate Fund.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs plays a significant role in responding to regional and global issues relating to climate change and is also responsible for overlooking international migration, while the Ministry of Land is responsible for supporting climate change victims.
Education and communication
The Ministry of Primary and Mass Education (MoPME) manages primary education and mass literacy. The Ministry is responsible for ensuring quality education for school children, including providing every child with access to primary-level institutions and reducing student drop-out rates. The MoPME is also responsible for developing policies to determine the impact of climate change in schools.
The Ministry of Education is the main agency responsible for secondary, vocational, and tertiary education in Bangladesh. The Ministry of Education’s divisions include the Secondary and Higher Education Division and the Technical and Madrasah Education Division, with additional separate divisions devoted to strategy, policy, and budgeting.
The National Curriculum and Textbook Board is a semi-autonomous body under the Ministry of Education responsible for development of curricula and books for primary and secondary levels.
Furthermore, the Ministry of Local Government, Rural Development and Cooperatives and its associated implementation agency, the Local Government Engineering Department (LGED), are responsible for rural communication, with infrastructure developments geared towards climate change adaptation.
iii. Relevant laws, policies, and plans
Many of Bangladesh’s country-level laws and plans include objectives that prioritize climate change action with a focus on building resilience and promoting disaster risk reduction and management.
On the legislative side, Bangladesh has approved many acts that seek to tackle climate change and develop capacity to respond to climate change-induced disasters. Passed in 2012, the Disaster Management Act is intended to promote a “comprehensive disaster management programme upholding the all-hazard, all-risk and all-sector approach where risk reduction as a core element of disaster management has equal emphasis with emergency response management with greater focus on equitable and sustainable development” (Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment, n.p)
The National Adaptation Programme of Action (NAPA), formulated in 2005 and revised in 2009, addresses immediate and urgent climate change adaptation needs. The NAPA (2009) addresses the preparation of adaptation measures that respond to climate change-induced development risks. The NAPA prioritizes “enhanced action on adaptation through strengthening means of implementation,” specifically focusing on institutional capacity building (p. 2). TheNational Adaptation Programme of Action (2009) also outlines “priority sectors” including the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change, the Ministry of Finance, the Ministry of Planning and key personnel working on climate change adaptation-relevant programming in water resources, agriculture, food security, coastal zones, and urban habitation.
Many of the urgent adaptation projects identified as part of the National Adaptation Programme of Action (NAPA; 2009) were incorporated into the Bangladesh Climate Change Strategy and Action Plan (BCCSAP). The Strategy and Action Plan was passed by the then Ministry of Environment and Forests in 2008 with its first revision in 2009. This 10-year program (2009-2018) focused on implementing six pillars intended to increase climate change resilience within the country. The pillars include disaster management, infrastructure, research and knowledge management, mitigation and low carbon development, and capacity building. The BCCSAP also recommends capacity-building measures to mainstream climate change knowledge, including building the capacity of key government ministries and agencies to further climate change adaptation. The BCCSAP includes implementation of programs such as improving disaster forecasting and raising climate change awareness amongst the public. It had been revised at the time of this review, and the draft ready for adoption by the Government.
The Bangladesh Climate Change Strategy and Action Plan (BCCSAP) is aligned with the Perspective Plan of Bangladesh (2010-2021). Authored by the Planning Division of Ministry of Planning, the Perspective Plan prioritizes socio-economic development and includes climate change adaptation and mitigation strategies. The Perspective Plan is a blueprint for long-term growth, with goals, objectives, and targets for the country’s socio-economic development. The Plan notes that the country’s disaster management is closely connected to climate change and thus requires cooperative response, preparedness, recovery, and mitigation efforts (2012, p. 13).
The Climate Change Trust Act 2010, under which the Bangladesh Climate Change Trust Fund (BCCTF) was established, funded more than 700 projects to build the country’s climate resilience. It further aims to redress the impacts of climate change through building local capacity and to ensure sustainable development.
The National Plan for Disaster Management (NPDM; 2016-2020) was formulated by the Ministry of Disaster Management and Relief (MoDMR). It focuses on disaster risk reduction for sustainable development and deals with climate change and the emerging risks it poses to urbanization.
The Seventh Five Year Plan (2016-2020) is a development-oriented planning strategy formulated by the General Economics Division under the Planning Commission, which prioritizes sustainable development pathways and building climate change resilience through natural resource sustainability. The Plan’s goals include environment friendly development. The Plan also outlines the important role of the Department of Environment in expanding public awareness and discusses the Department’s need to build its own capacity in this area. The Eighth Five Year Plan(2021-2025) was already adopted by the Government at the time of this review. It focuses on sustainable development and includes a climate fiscal framework to ensure a low carbon climate resilient development.
The Bangladesh Health National Adaptation Plan (2018) addresses the need to reinforce and integrate climate change into national health-related plans and policies. It discusses the need for Bangladesh’s planning to prioritize implementing public awareness programs focused on the health impacts of climate change. The Plan also highlights the need for climate adaptation health education programs using communication campaigns and mass media.
The Department of Environment released the National Action Plan for Short-Lived Climate Pollutants (SLCP) in 2020. The Plan has 11 priority mitigation measures and outlines the intention to develop a monitoring and evaluating framework to track progress made in achieving its activities.
The Bangladesh Delta Plan 2100 (BDP 2100) is a long-term vision plan to achieve a “safe, climate resilient and prosperous delta” with a focus on reducing vulnerability and combating climate change-related risks. The Plan’s specific goals primarily focus on safety from floods and climate change related disasters for which steps such as ‘Flood Risk Management Strategies’ and ‘Fresh Water Strategies’ have been taken at the national level.
At the time of this review, the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change was finalizing the National Adaptation Plan (NAP) for submission to the UNFCCC, according to the Updated Interim Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC; 2020). The NAP will focus on securing long term investments for adaptation and on enhancing national capacity to integrate climate change adaptation in planning, budgeting, and financial tracking processes.
Education and communication
Bangladesh has published two education policies that focus on quality of education which include information on integrating climate change in formal education. Bangladesh’s 2010 National Education Policy focuses on increasing access and quality of education overall. Moreover, one of the Policy’s aims is to increase ‘social awareness’ about the environment and build skills to tackle climate change and its impacts. The Policy states that the inclusion of climate change in education would be made possible through environmental science subjects, which have been made compulsory.
The 2020 Education Sector Plan (ESP) notes that the impacts of climate change, along with the heightened vulnerability of Bangladesh, necessitates an increased focus on disaster management and risk-reduction based education. The Plan includes multiple objectives aligned with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) up to 2030. Specifically, the Plan’s objectives include capacity building and awareness raising of stakeholders in relation to climate change; integrating sustainable development and climate change into the curriculum; and reforming educational mechanisms such as budgets and development operations for emergency disaster preparedness. The country plans in the ESP to revise its curricula to integrate climate-relevant knowledge at all educational levels in order to increase climate preparedness amongst communities, and to enhance knowledge and build capacity for climate change adaptation at the national level.
The National Curriculum Framework, which includes references to climate change, was open for public consultation in 2020.
The National Plan for Disaster Management 2016-2020 (NPDM; 2017) derives national level actions from the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030 (2015). The Sendai Framework was adopted in 2015 and its objectives and priorities center on disaster risk prevention. For example, the NPDM 2016-2020 recommends the Government of Bangladesh and its ministries “promote the incorporation of disaster risk knowledge, including disaster prevention, mitigation, preparedness, response, recovery and rehabilitation” in training and professional education.” (2017, p. 49)
iv. Terminology used for Climate Communication Education
When discussing educational solutions to climate change, Bangladesh tends to focus on reducing its vulnerability. For instance, the Bangladesh Climate Change Strategy and Action Plan (2009) refers to ‘capacity building’ and ‘institutional strengthening’ to respond to the challenges climate change poses for the country. The National Adaptation Programme of Action (2009) refers to developing ‘climate resilience’ and ‘sustainable development.’
The National Education Sector Plan (2020) uses such terms as 'capacity development’ and ‘enhancing awareness’ in reference to challenges related to climate change and disaster risk reduction in schools and communities. The Plan emphasizes “sensitizing the children about climate change” and prioritizes certain groups that are vulnerable to climate change (2020, p. 107).
In referring to climate change-related education, the National Curriculum Framework (2020) uses terms such as ‘environment’ and ‘climate change’ through integration into subjects such as Science and Social Science.
The 3rd National Communication (2018) uses the terms ‘awareness raising’ and ‘capacity building’ to refer to climate communication among stakeholders. ‘Climate change education’ is referred to in the context of ‘climate change adaptation’ and ‘disaster risk reduction’ being offered in educational institutions.
v. Budget for climate change education and communication
The budgetary allocation for climate change programs comes from diverse agencies within the government of Bangladesh.
The Bangladesh Climate Change Trust Fund (BCCT) was established through the 2010 Bangladesh Climate Change Trust Fund Act to support the country’s domestic response to climate change by facilitating implementation of the Bangladesh Climate Change Strategy and Action Plan (BCCSAP; 2009). The International Centre for Climate Change and Development (ICCCAD) reports that about US$350 million dollars (2,900 crore takas) was allocated to the Fund at its inception in 2010; however, the funding allocation has since sharply declined. For example, by the 2015-2016 fiscal year, the allocation was reduced to around US$12 million dollars (100 crore takas). The Fund has supported more than 60% of the projects listed in the BCCSAP (2009). However, a study analyzing the Fund’s expendituresrevealed that thematic areas such as ‘research and knowledge management’ and ‘capacity building and institutional strengthening’ have received minimal allocation (Firoz, 2018).
The Bangladesh Climate Change Resilience Fund (BCCRF) was created in 2010 through financial support from the European Union and countries such as the United Kingdom, Denmark, and Sweden. BCCRF is managed by the Ministry of Environment and Forest and Climate Change and has invested over US$190 million to address climate change in Bangladesh. The fund supports many pillars of the Bangladesh Climate Change Strategy and Action Plan(BCCSAP; 2009) including ‘capacity building’ and ‘research and knowledge management.’
International financial support is also available from the Green Climate Fund (GCF) and the Adaptation Fund to support Bangladesh in carrying out concrete climate change adaptation and mitigation measures and projects. The GCF has allocated around US$40 million to Bangladesh. In December 2019, a non-profit organization the Palli Karma-Sahayak Foundation submitted a funding proposal to GCF for a US$9 million project focused on community-based climate change responses. The project will run from 2019 to 2023 and involves creating ‘climate change adaptation groups’ (primarily comprised of women) and providing community-based climate change-based education and training.
Bangladesh’s 2019-2020 Climate Financing Budget Report allocated funding with respect to the Bangladesh Climate Change Strategy and Action Plan’s (BCCSAP; 2009) thematic areas. For instance, under the ‘comprehensive disaster management’ thematic area, the Ministry of Primary and Mass Education, which focuses on raising awareness and public education for climate resilience, received US$12 million dollars (105 crore takas) in the 2017-18 fiscal year. The Secondary and Higher Education Division received around US$4 million dollars (40 crore takas) in the 2018-19 and 2019-20 fiscal years under the same thematic area. The Secondary and Higher Education Division also received around US$11 million dollars (93 crore takas) in the 2018-19 and 2019-20 fiscal years under the ‘research and knowledge management’ thematic area to support the “establishment of a center for research, knowledge management and training on climate change.” (2019, p. 78) Around 22% of the funds were allocated toward climate change under the area of ‘research and knowledge management’ in the 2019-20 fiscal year and 29% in the 2018-19 fiscal year.
The manufacturing sector in Bangladesh is an economically prominent sector. In 2021, Pioneering Green Partnerships, Investing in Impact (P4G) invested around US$450,000 in an initiative called the Circular Fashion Partnership to support the transition from disposing of textile waste to reusing it, hence establishing a circular economy. A news article reports that more than 30 international brands, Bangladeshi garment manufacturers, and recycling firms are coming together to reuse textile waste that comes from clothing and textile factories to create new products (2021).
In 2020, the Green Climate Fund (GCF) approved a project that will finance textile and readymade garment borrowers to access energy-saving technologies. The project aims to assist the Government of Bangladesh to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions and achieve its target of a 10% reduction in energy consumption in the industry sector by 2030. Overall, the proposed project will cover areas such as awareness and capacity building and will include monitoring and evaluating the program itself.
The 3rd National Communication (2018) reiterates that climate change education requires a significant allocation of funds to build the capacity of multiple stakeholders and agencies engaged in climate change related interventions.
i. Climate change in pre-primary, primary and secondary education
Older climate change policy documents in Bangladesh, such as the National Adaptation Programme of Action (2009), emphasize the country’s intention to include climate change in the formal education curricula. Indeed, this has been achieved to some extent, with the country’s education sector showing a level of climate change responsiveness, although more work is still to be done. A wide array of actors, ranging from governmental agencies to non-profit organizations, are involved in delivering climate change education.
The Education Sector Plan (ESP; 2020) aims to review the “prevailing concepts and practices in school education on the culture and behavior reflecting resilience and adaptability of society to effects of climate change and emergencies including COVID-19 response, especially in curricular and co-curricular contents and activities in schools” (p. 112). Moreover, the ESP proposes to develop programs and plans to encourage understanding of climate change “resilience, adaptability behavior and value-orientation of students, teachers and parents” (p. 112).
The 2020 National Curriculum explores subject areas where students can build their skills and references ‘environment’ and ‘climate change’ in the science and social science subjects. However, details are not provided. A description of the types of climate change-related keywords discussed in the curricula may be found in the MECCE Project Monitoring section of this profile.
Since 2013, the National Curriculum and Textbook Board (NCTB) has included climate change, environmental science, and disaster management-related issues in primary and secondary books and curricula (provided in both Bengali and English). Bangladesh’s primary education curricula incorporate climate-related and disaster management content across a variety of subjects. The NCTB publishes books on subjects such as ‘Elementary Science’ and ‘Bangladesh and Global Studies’ for primary classes. The latter subject contains topics related to ‘disasters and disaster management’ for Grade 4. For Grade 3, one chapter in the same subject includes ‘Protecting our Environment against Pollution.’ An article analyzing the environment and disaster education in secondary curriculum found that subjects such as Agricultural Studies and Global Studies cover environment and disaster-related content (2021).
Moreover, an initiative by CARE, a non-governmental and non-profit organization, supports the integration of climate change into secondary school curricula in Bangladesh. For example, a project called Reducing Vulnerability to Climate Change is specifically geared towards improving climate change content in textbooks for science and geography.
The World Bank published an official document in 2018 that states that the government of Bangladesh will be provided with US$700 million for the Quality Learning for All Program (QLEAP) under the for Fourth Primary Education Development Program (PEDP4). The QLEAP objectives include improving access to education and demonstrating solutions to enhance the education sector’s resilience to adverse weather and climate change impacts. The QLEAP’s climate mitigation and adaptation ‘co-benefit activities’ support “raising awareness and integrating content on climate change mitigation and adaptation in curriculum, assessment and instruction” (2018, p. 53). Moreover, students will be assessed on learning outcomes related to climate change awareness in the revised curriculum.
The 3rd National Communication (2018) states that climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction issues have been included in educational curricula for primary and secondary schools. A partnership between the Ministry of Disaster Management and Relief (MoDMR) and the National Curriculum and Textbook Board (NCTB) has also paved way for inclusion of the topics in curricula for primary, secondary, and higher education.
According to the Bangladesh Voluntary National Review (VNR; 2020), the National Curriculum and Textbook Board(NCTB) is revising its curriculum to integrate education for sustainable development. The Review also indicates climate change is being included in syllabi for all primary, secondary, and tertiary education levels. The Review includes details of a project, called the Bangladesh Environmental and Sustainable Transformation (BEST), which will implement climate change curriculum within primary and secondary education under the supervision of the Department of Environment. In 2020, 41 educational and training institutes were reported to have included climate change in their curriculum.
ii. Climate change in teacher training and teaching resources
Information on climate change-related teacher training in Bangladesh is sparse and initiatives to increase climate change responsiveness in teachers are not covered in policies and plans. However, the importance of teachers’ professional development broadly is addressed in policies and plans such as the Seventh Five Year Plan 2016-2020 (2015), the National Education Policy (2010), and various education sub-sector programs. These initiatives emphasize continuous professional development of teachers at both primary and secondary levels, including in-service teacher training activities.
The Education Sector Plan (2020) describes teacher training through the context of Sustainable Development Goal 4.7, the “promotion of ethics and values among young people appropriate for sustainable living and global citizenship,” (p. 82) and includes teacher training as a ‘target item’ under its monitoring framework.
Teacher support is also provided in response to climate change and emergencies.
In addition, teacher performance reviews allow access to a review of school education objectives and practices regarding promotion of ethics and values among young people appropriate for sustainable living.
In 2019, the Ministry of Disaster Management and Relief published a document, Standing Orders on Disaster 2019, which informs all government agencies of their responsibilities for implementing necessary disaster risk management measures. The Secondary and Higher Education Division is expected to introduce disaster-related courses in the curriculum of all schools and colleges, including teacher training institutes and colleges. The Department of Secondary and Higher Education will be responsible for arranging training on disaster risk management for teacher training colleges. This initiative will be a collaboration between the Department of Disaster Management and the Ministry of Disaster Management and Relief.
The 3rd National Communication (2018) indicates the Government of Bangladesh will mandate training programs on disaster management across all types of training institutes involved in training officials and non-officials, including teacher training institutes.
iii. Climate change in higher education
The Department of Secondary and Higher Education (DSHE) under the Ministry of Education is responsible for formulating policies at the secondary and higher education levels. According to the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO; 2015), some efforts have been made to integrate climate change and disaster risk reduction education throughout the higher education curricula, although this is yet to be addressed in a coordinated way.
Universities such as the University of Dhaka and BRAC University offer climate change and disaster management-based diplomas and certificate courses. BRAC University has conducted cross-sectoral research on climate change and disaster management in direct collaboration with the Centre for Climate Change and Environmental Research (C3ER).
Many research-based organizations and universities have developed their capacity to invest in climate change-related education and knowledge. For example, the International Centre for Climate Change and Development (ICCCAD) is a leading research and capacity-building organization involved in climate change and development in Bangladesh. Since May 2013, the Independent University in Bangladesh has offered a one-year post-graduate program focused on climate change and development in partnership with ICCCAD. Capacity-building and learning about adaptation are at the forefront of this program. ICCCAD has also developed a program focused on climate science and sustainability, supported by UKaid (a funding mechanism based in the United Kingdom) and the British Council. This year-long mentorship program for select university students is entitled ‘Re-think & Innovate for a Sustainable Environment (RISE).’ It encourages youth engagement in climate science through training participants to initiate their own projects and programs. The program also focuses on project design and implementation in relation to national development issues.
The Institute of Water and Flood Management, within the Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology, offers diploma and master’s courses on climate change, climate hazard, disaster risk management, and climate change adaptation. The Institute of Disaster Management and Vulnerability Studies at the University of Dhaka, an academic and research institute, offers an undergraduate degree in disaster management for university students. The Institute also provides graduate training that provides students with experience in data collection, analysis, and writing reports.
The 3rd National Communication (2018) describes a Climate Change Study Cell, established in the Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology in collaboration with the Department of Environment. The Cell’s main goals are to provide education, training, and research on climate change-related disasters through a focus on climate change risk and adaptation. The Cell facilitates research; provides short courses, workshops, and seminars; manages climate change databases; and disseminates knowledge. However, it is unclear how active the Cell was at the time of this review, as its website was last updated in 2013.
iv. Climate change in training and adult learning
The Directorate of Technical Education (DTE), under the Department of Technical and Madrasah Education Division of the Ministry of Education, is responsible for implementing policies and preparing content for TVET in Bangladesh.
The Ministry of Finance published the 2019-2020 Budget Report (Climate Financing on Sustainable Development)and the report elaborates on the role of TVET in furthering climate change knowledge. The Technical and Madrasah Education Division (Madrasah are Islamic faith-based educational institutions) has climate change-relevant strategic objectives, including using higher education institutions as shelter during climate emergencies and as disaster preparedness communication centers. Moreover, the government of Bangladesh supports the training of skilled workers for domestic and international labor markets for climate adaptive livelihoods, which can be fostered through technical education. The Standing Orders on Disaster 2019 state that the Technical and Madrasah Education Division will be responsible for integrating and updating disaster-related issues in the curricula of technical schools, colleges, madrasah, and teacher training institutes.
The Bangladesh government offers climate change education training programs, including through the Bangladesh Public Administration Training Centre, which has initiated several training programs on climate change-related topics for public sector workers and cadres.
The International Centre on Climate Change and Development provides training focused on local experience, knowledge, and research on climate change adaptation. For instance, it provides courses for non-profit organizations, funding organizations, media, government staff, and the private sector.
International non-profit organizations also take part in climate change advocacy and training. World Renew, an international charity and non-profit organization, offers the Bangladesh Bible Study Series in collaboration with the Christian Reformed Church Office of Social Justice. The program comprises a three-week study group that allows faith-based engagement on climate change-related issues. As part of the program, participants watch videos focused on climate change issues designed to be accessible to adults from church groups, youth, and community organizations, followed by engagement with the video content through discussion.
Community Learning Centers in Bangladesh also assist with adult learning and education. Through its Ganokendra Community Learning Centres, the Dhaka Ahsania Mission (DAM) offers “non-formal, intergenerational and integrated educational programme which endeavors to create contextually appropriate, need-based and sustainable lifelong learning opportunities for out-of-school children, youths and adults living in marginalized rural and urban slum communities” (n.p.). The program is accessible to everyone and aims to increase adult literacy. Participants gain skills through vocational training and self-guidance, and participate in socio-cultural activities and discussions. While climate change is not covered as a specific topic, the program’s main outcomes relate to environmental conservation and creating sustainable, community-based lifelong learning.
An example of public participation that integrates Locally Led Adaptation is the TAPESTRY project (Transformation as Praxis: Exploring Socially Just and Transdisciplinary Pathways to Sustainability in Marginal Environments). The Program aims to achieve transformations though “bottom-up approaches” in the Sundarbans of Bangladesh (brackish swamp forests native to the country) by providing local communities, particularly women, with training on climate adaptation in relation to agriculture, livestock, and fisheries. The Program harnesses Bangladesh’s vast scope for transformational locally-led adaptation afforded by the country’s long-term experience in building the resilience of marginalized communities living in coastal and other vulnerable areas. The Belmont Forum and NORFACE Joint Research Programme on Transformations to Sustainability contributed toward the Program’s funding.
Bangladesh is becoming heavily urbanized and the government reports in its 3rd National Communication that potential adaptation action for those involved in developing urban areas includes “strengthening capacity building of concerned ministries and agencies through training programmes, seminars and workshops.” (2018, p. 210)
i. Climate change and public awareness
The National Plan for Disaster Management 2016-2020 (2017) focuses on promoting national strategies to “strengthen public education and awareness in disaster risk reduction, including disaster risk information and knowledge, through campaigns, social media and community mobilization, taking into account specific audiences and their needs” (2017, p. 49).
Non-profit organizations spearhead numerous public awareness campaigns and initiatives. For instance, the Bangladesh Red Crescent Society, supported by the Canadian Red Cross and the International Federation of Red Cross, uses an interactive popular theatre mechanism, facilitated by youth volunteers, to showcase messages on disaster preparedness and climate change adaptation. Prokriti O Jibon Foundation (Nature and Life Foundation),whose vision is focused on creating “a better life in balanced nature,” has a mission to increase climate change awareness. Their initiatives include enhancing awareness about climate change among urban low-income households and building leadership capacity for climate-friendly investments.
The Bangladesh Oceanographic Research Institute Act, 2015 (Act No. 6 of 2015) states that the Oceanographic Research Institute studies climate change and the ocean, and undertakes public awareness activities on sea-related issues including training a skilled labour force through training.
According to the 3rd National Communication (2018), the Government of Bangladesh has identified awareness-building among the most vulnerable as the most effective response to climate change for their country. Furthermore, the 3rd National Communication states that the “initiation of awareness building programmes at the community level to disseminate knowledge and information on climate change and its impacts” will be considered as a “potential adaptation action” under building adaptation measures in urban areas (2018, p. 210).
ii. Climate change and public access to information
The Bangladesh Climate Change Strategy and Action Plan (BCCSAP; 2009) indicates that the general public should have access to research, lessons, and technologies from other countries. The Plan includes an objective to establish a Centre for Research and Knowledge Management on Climate Change to allow researchers and the public to access climate change-related data. However, information on the proposed Centre was not available at the time of this review.
The Green Policy Platform is a web-based portal that allows access to “green growth national documents” such as Bangladesh's Updated Interim Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC; 2020) and country publications related to the environment and climate change. The portal is publicly accessible and showcases historical data, trends, and information on socio-economic and environmental indicators for many countries, including Bangladesh. The Portal was established by the Green Growth Knowledge Partnership (GGKP), a global community comprising businesses and organizations focused on policy, business, and finance, which supports transitioning towards a green economy. The GGKP itself consists of representatives from organizations including the United Nations Environment Programme(UNEP) and World Bank.
Also based in Bangladesh is Gobeshona, a knowledge sharing platform for climate change research on the country, organized by the International Centre of Climate Change and Development (ICCCAD). The portal, which hosts completed publications, and information on ongoing research and events relevant to climate change, was developed to enhance collaborative, effective climate change research between Bangladeshi and international research communities. The platform encourages online interaction and feedback on publications. The ICCCAD also hosts an annual Global Gobeshona Conference to provide a platform for global knowledge sharing, with a focus on giving a voice to marginalized groups and those most affected by climate change to influence high-level planning and decision making. The most recent conference was held in January 2021 with the theme of ‘Locally Led Adaptation’ and was open to domestic as well as international community members. According to a 2021 article in a special Gobeshona issue of the Dhaka Tribune, the 2021 conference was successful in bringing vulnerable voices to the fore.
The Bangladesh Centre for Advanced Studies (BCAS) organizes Climate Change Adaptation Policy & Science conferences. This institute is an independent, non-profit, non-government body which focuses on policy, research, and implementation and is active in all issues related to sustainable development and climate change.
The government of Bangladesh has introduced initiatives to provide institutional support to strengthen access to information. For example, Climate Change Cells have been placed in numerous ministries and agencies to “strengthen existing knowledge and information accessibility on impact prediction and climate change adaptation.” (n.d.; n.p.). The Cells are headed by focal points and aim to build capacity to “mainstream climate change issues in development activities in particular adaptation to climate change” (National Adaptation Programme of Action, 2009, p. 8). In 2015, the Bangladesh Computer Council on Climate Change Information and Knowledge Management (CCIKM) network at the Ministry of Environment and Forests launched an online Portal that aims to enhance capacity on climate change adaptation; however, the portal was not accessible at the time of this review.
The Bangladesh Voluntary National Review of the Sustainable Development Goals (VNR; 2020) identifies a need for more investment in high-tech products and communication technology to increase efficiency and address environmental issues in the country’s manufacturing sector. The document notes that increased access to information and communication technology is required to make this goal achievable.
iii. Climate change and public participation
Public participation plays an important role in formulating national climate change policies in Bangladesh. For example, in 2005, the National Adaptation Programme of Action (NAPA; 2009) was completed after consultations with communities, civil society, and professional groups.
The role of local communities and locally led initiatives is highly relevant to public participation in Bangladesh. The National Adaptation Programme of Action (NAPA; 2009) stresses participation through promoting participatory projects, particularly community-based approaches. Most programs led by government and non-government agencies highlight Locally Led Adaptation (LLA). LLA fosters local community participation in recognition of the importance of including community voices and priorities. LLA thus promotes engaging the community and keeping climate-vulnerable individuals at the forefront of adaptation-based learning due to the recognition that vulnerable communities are best situated to design adaptation solutions based on their day-to-day actions and experiences. In the January 2021 Climate Adaptation Summit, the Government of Bangladesh and many other international and national organizations pledged to adopt eight principles of LLA, including “building a robust understanding of climate risk and uncertainty.” (2021, n.p.)
However, the Country Case Study: Bangladesh Project (2019), which examined the mainstreaming of climate change into urban-related policies, observes a limited number of local-level climate change initiatives that involved community participation, and recommends this be made more of a priority in the country.
i. Country Monitoring
While Bangladesh has primary and secondary student assessments in place to track the quality of education, including in relation to the Sustainable Development Goals, national student assessments specifically related to climate change education and environmental education were not available at the time of this review.
The Bangladesh Bureau of Educational Information and Statistics Institute (BANBEIS) is responsible for collecting, compiling, and disseminating educational information and statistics at various levels and types of education. BANBEIS also acts as the education information management system of the Ministry of Education. In 2015, BANBEIS collected data on Climate Change Education for Sustainable Development (CCESD); however, more information on the study is currently not publicly available.
The Learning Assessment for Secondary Institutions (LASI) is a major national-level secondary student assessment which is administered every two years in Bangladesh. The Assessment assesses reading comprehension in Bengali, English, and mathematics among Bangladeshi students in Grades 6, 8 and 10. The Assessment also collects and analyzes information that may influence student learning on topics such as socioeconomic factors and school climate. Questionnaires are completed by students, teachers, and school principals. However, climate change communication and education are not included within LASI. At the time of this review, the LASI was being administered by the Ministry of Education’s Monitoring and Evaluation Wing (MEW) until the education system itself has the capacity to independently coordinate national assessments.
A 2021 UNICEF Survey indicates that 50% of respondents aged 15-29 could explain climate change and 77% reported learning about climate change in schools “very often or often.” Most respondents learned about climate change in Science class. Female respondents indicated learning about climate change more frequently than male respondents.
Bangladesh regularly reports on their Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) progress, including SDGs 4.7 (on education for sustainable development) and SDG 13.3 (on climate change education). The Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics acts as the National Statistical Office and is involved in analyzing SDG progress. Moreover, the General Economics Division under the Ministry of Planning published the Bangladesh SDG progress report in 2020. The Bangladesh Voluntary National Review (VNR; 2020) indicates the country has shown progress towards achieving SDGs 4.7 and 13.3.
ii. MECCE Project Monitoring
The Monitoring and Evaluating Climate Communication and Education (MECCE) Project examined the Education Sector Plan (2020) for references to climate change, sustainability, biodiversity, and the environment. When the MECCE Project examined the document for climate change-related keywords, ‘climate change’ is referenced 40 times. ‘Environment’ is referenced 44 times, while ‘sustainability’ is mentioned twice. ‘Biodiversity’ is not mentioned in the document.
While the National Curriculum (2020) does mention ‘environment’ and ‘climate change,’ the document is in Bengali and the review was unable to conduct keyword searches, due to limitations in the language capacity of the software being used.
Figure 1 shows the distribution of keywords found in the Education Sector Plan (2020).
This section will be updated as the MECCE Project develops.