In terms of the impact of climate change, Bangladesh ranks top the list of the world’s most vulnerable nations. Its coastal zones, which make up about 30 percent of the total arable land in the country, are the worst affected areas.
With a three cm annual rise in sea level, food production from the region is predicted to decline by at least 12 percent by 2030. Intensity of natural disasters like, cyclones, tidal surges, river bank erosion coupled by an increase in soil and river water salinity, and water logging are significantly affecting the agricultural production systems and overall economic and social development of the country. As arable land becomes scarce unemployment rises, as does the number of so-called ‘climate refugees’ — people forced to move elsewhere.
This critical situation has prompted the Bangladesh government to take practical measures to mitigate the effects of climate change. Sonatola village in the Barguna district of coastal Bangladesh, has been the focus of such community-based climate change adaptation measures.