Bangladesh: using data to further climate adaptation

Data helps with measuring adaptation to climate change. In Bangladesh, GIZ employee Emilia Huss is supporting ministries in using climate data effectively.

Periods of severe drought, floods, and heavy rainfall – for the people of Bangladesh, the consequences of climate change are already making their mark. It’s something that Emilia Huss, who has worked for the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH in Bangladesh for almost two years, has also experienced. One of her colleagues lives right next to a river. ‘He can watch the water getting closer to his house,’ Huss says. According to current models, Bangladesh will lose more than 10 per cent of its landmass by 2050 – an area larger than Northern Ireland.  For the 160 million people inhabiting this densely populated country, the consequences of this are clear: less space, less fertile land and significant losses in desperately needed harvests. 

Protecting people and land

 Bangladesh wants to prepare its land and people to deal with this future scenario. Climate data on aspects such as water levels, precipitation volumes and temperature fluctuations is particularly important to achieving this, as it helps ensure that the right adaptations are implemented in the right places. Environmental data helps with determining where to build a road, how a city is planned and which cultivation methods and plant species should be used.

However, accessing up-to-date and high-quality data is a challenge in its own right. On behalf of the German Development Ministry (BMZ), Emilia Huss and her team are supporting local authorities with collating information from a variety of sources, correctly interpreting said information and identifying appropriate measures based on their findings. In this way, data is contributing to the protection of Bangladesh and its population.

 Expertise from Bavaria and Bangladesh

 The project requires a great deal of expertise. As Huss explains, ‘We’re not only exchanging information with ministries here in Bangladesh, but also with our GIZ colleagues in Bavaria. They’re renowned experts in issues relating to climate change and agriculture.’ This collaboration is paying dividends – even if the coronavirus pandemic has meant that every meeting has been conducted virtually for the past several months. Despite the success of these meetings, Emilia Huss is already looking forward to a time when meeting in person and attending events – such as the annual Pohela Falgun springtime festival – is possible.

Read more about Emilia Huss in GIZ’s ‘akzente’ magazine.

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