Bangladesh: UN Development chief highlights anti-poverty progress

10 Nov 2010

UN Development Chief Highlights Bangladesh Anti-Poverty Progress and Climate Change Actions

UNDP Administrator Helen Clark (seated in front row, fourth from right) is in Bangladesh to highlight the country’s progress  in achieving development goals.
(Photo: UNDP)
Dhaka – United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Administrator Helen Clark begins a three-day trip to Bangladesh today to highlight the country’s progress  in achieving development goals and the challenges it faces with the impacts of climate change.

Helen Clark will travel to Char Kukri-Mukri in the Bhola District of southwestern coastal Bangladesh where, through video-conference with the country’s Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, she will inaugurate an information centre connecting locals to a disaster early warning system.

The centre’s inauguration, to be broadcast live on national television, aims to focus public attention on the services and technologies available to them, including a system that disseminates disaster alerts through mobile phones to those likely to be affected by an emergency.

“Through these centres, which now number 4,500, the people of Bangladesh have the capability to protect themselves against natural disasters – and determine when it is best to plant crops,” said Helen Clark. “They can also use the internet to learn the latest about climate resilient farming, obtain land records, and insure their farms.”

Information management systems available through these centres, part of a UNDP-supported project, provide communities with services such as crop mapping, long-range weather forecasting and guidance on agricultural practices that can help in adapting to climatic changes.

After the inauguration, Helen Clark will speak with Char Kukri-Mukri residents about their challenges and actions in building resilience to climate change on the highly vulnerable coast.

Recent estimates suggest that about four percent of the world’s cyclones hit Bangladesh and that damage and losses to the country amount to about 96 percent of the global total. The country is one of the most vulnerable countries in the world in terms of climate-related disasters.

During her visit Helen Clark will meet with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, members of her Cabinet, opposition leaders, diplomats, and civil society leaders. A lunch will be hosted by Foreign Minister Dipu Moni.