In the latest edition of Maplecroft's annual Climate Change Vulnerability Index (CCVI), Dhaka has taken top spot in a survey of 50 cities as most vulnerable to climate change risks. Every year, the global consultancy firm brings out the publication, where CCVI is a component and the study is based on a number of indicators. These include countries featuring more than 5 per cent annual growth rate and vulnerability is assessed based on susceptibility to weather events like drought, cyclones, wild fires and storm surges resulting in water stress, loss of crop and land lost to sea.
With Bangladesh hailed as one of the “next 11” by Goldman Sachs, there has been unprecedented interest by the international business community in investing in the country. The CCVI helps global corporations interested in expanding their operations in emerging markets with a climate risk assessment toolkit which act as a handbook for them to “identify where suppliers, assets and personnel are most at risk and plan for the long term”.
While global climate change is a natural phenomenon that cannot be controlled, governments can take measures to mitigate the risks. These include sensitisation of the general population and upgrading the capacity of government bodies so as to better cope with the risks associated with climate change. What the index has shown is that over the last three years, we have done little, in terms of policy, to take effective measures in combating the oncoming effects of climate change. Given that unprecedented changes in weather are in the offing, there is no alternative to designing more effective disaster risk reduction programmes that will work hand in hand with more stringent building regulations, better education and improved communications networks. Furthermore, as the effects of climate change transcend national boundaries, there are regional dynamics at work here. Hence, it is imperative that the international community comes forward to aid cities such as Dhaka in their impending struggle against climate-induced changes. Without these interventions, the future stability of Dhaka cannot be guaranteed.