DHAKA, Bangladesh – Bangladesh may be Mother Nature's punching bag, but in the battle for survival against climate change, this tiny, riverine nation isn't going down without a fight.
Already, Bangladesh has invested 10 million taka, the equivalent of about $150,000, to build cyclone shelters and create a storm early-warning system. Earlier this year, it allocated another $50 million to the country's agriculture and health budgets to help "climate-proof" certain development sectors. The nation's agricultural research centers are devising salinity-resistant strains of rice. And the South Asian nation was one of first to deliver to the United Nations a strategy outlining what it needs in order to cope with the worst effects of climate change.
"They're not waiting," said Saleem Huq, lead author of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's most recent report on sustainability.
Leaders throughout Bangladesh say the nation desperately needs money from the West to adapt to problems that the world's leading climate scientists agree are caused by the emissions of industrialized nations. But they also point out that the country's history with catastrophe has in some ways given Bangladesh a head start in knowing how to cope with climate change.