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Climate proofing growth and development in Bangladesh

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One of the most populated regions in the world, South Asia is also home to some of the world’s poorest communities – those likely to be hardest hit by the impacts of a changing climate. We led FCDO’s multi-year Climate Proofing Growth and Development (ACT / CPGD) programme across five countries in the region – Afghanistan, Bangladesh, India, Nepal, and Pakistan. The programme aimed to improve resilience by directly incorporating climate change considerations into policy, planning, and investment environments within each country. We worked with national implementing partners, providing support across the policy cycle from research and capacity building to monitoring and evaluation. Adopting an applied political economy approach, we helped to identify and leverage opportunities for reform, focusing on interventions that could be adapted to national contexts whilst being scalable across the region as a whole.

Challenges

Governments across the world are recognising the need to shift towards policies that support sustainable economic growth within the context of a changing climate. To be successful, these policies need to mainstream social and environmental issues, recognising ‘green’ initiatives as drivers of growth in their own right whilst building resilience against the potential impacts of climate-related shocks and disasters.

The programme supported the governments of five countries to integrate climate change into development planning, budgeting, and policy delivery at national and sub-national levels over the next five years.

Our approach

We led a consortium of expert national and international partners to deliver the implementation of the ACT/CPGD Programme – providing support to five national and ten sub-national governments across the South Asia region.

Our team worked across the policy cycle – from designing and developing interventions and building the capacity of national and regional stakeholders to monitoring and evaluating the performance of different initiatives. By drawing on the specialist expertise and knowledge of our local implementing partners, backed by a fully-resourced regional hub, we responded to opportunities as they occur, quickly adapting our interventions in order to increase their impact within different contexts. We carried out the following activities:

  • Conducted political economy assessments within the five focus countries, including Bangladesh
  • Completed benchmarking activities, public expenditure assessments, and impact evaluations to strengthen the evidence base around existing and new initiatives
  • Provided technical assistance and built capacity to support reform of planning and budgetary systems, processes, and institutions
  • Developed, piloted, and monitored policy instruments that support the introduction of low carbon and climate resilience measures
  • Developed and implemented innovative mechanisms to leverage private and public finance
  • Developed communications plans and dissemination strategies to promote knowledge-sharing and lesson-learning

Outcomes

Over its lifetime, this project helped ensure that the risks and opportunities associated with climate change are fully integrated into policies, budgets, and investments within the South Asia region. By strengthening government capacity and supporting the alignment of resources with outputs, we helped transform budgetary processes to account for climate change resilience measures - whilst promoting a favourable environment for public and private investments. By providing baseline data on different initiatives the project also established an evidence-base for more informed decision making around low carbon policies. By mainstreaming climate change considerations in this way, the project improved the efficiency and effectiveness for governments who would otherwise face significant costs trying to manage potential impacts separately and retroactively. Over the longer-term, as the policies developed under the ACT/CPGD programme translate into action on the ground, those most at risk should become better equipped to deal with the impacts of climate-related shocks and natural disasters.

Some of the research outputs under the programme are listed below:

Mainstreaming adaptation to climate change within governance systems in South Asia: An analytical framework and examples from practice

Climate-resilient agriculture in South Asia: An analytical framework and insights from practice

Enabling access to the Green Climate Fund: Sharing country lessons from South Asia