Communities and Human Settlements
Co-authored with FARRIA NAEEM
Remittances have emerged as a key driver of economic growth and poverty reduction in Bangladesh, increasing at an average annual rate of 19 percent in the last 30 years (1979-2008).
Revenues from remittances now exceed various types of foreign exchange inflows, particularly official development assistance and net earnings from exports. The bulk of the remittances are sent by Bangladeshi migrant workers rather than members of the Bangladeshi Diaspora. Currently, 64 percent of annual remittance inflows originate from Middle Eastern nations.
Robust remittance inflows in recent years (annual average growth of 27 percent in FY06-FY08) have been instrumental in maintaining the current account surplus despite widening a trade deficit. This in turn has enabled Bangladesh to maintain a growing level of foreign exchange reserves.
The construction industry is a major contributor to greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, and the urban housing constitutes a large part of the construction industry. With the urbanization and lifestyle changes taking place in developing countries, the demand for urban housing can only be expected to grow, and accordingly, the GHGs emitted from its production.
There has been much advancement in green technology in recent years, but much of this “high performance” green building is high-tech and capital intensive, often with high upfront costs, as a result of which it still remains a luxury supported by rich nations and wealthy individuals. In the developing country context where huge segments of the population are in the lower income segment, lacking access to essential services or housing, this type of approach to addressing climate change is unaffordable and largely irrelevant.
Unlike the more developed nations where catastrophes typically happen when a major disaster strikes, in the developing countries, even small disasters result in disproportionate loss of life and property. Apart from the increased frequency of these events resulting from climate change, there is also an escalated risk associated with an urbanizing world: urban areas in developing country cities are commonly characterized by high population densities, old and deteriorated infrastructure, poor environmental conditions, concentrated poverty in informal settlements and slums, unplanned and often unregulated growth, and inadequately prepared local institutions, which makes them especially vulnerable. (Photo by Lecercle)
A commonly cited problem attributed to much disaster-related damage in developing countries is the use of inappropriate building codes, poor zoning by-laws, and more generally, the lack of enforceability of the same. This is particularly the case for earthquakes, because unlike other types of natural disasters, casualties and fatalities from earthquakes are associated almost entirely with collapse or failure of manmade structures. The saying “earthquakes don’t kill people, buildings do” is as true today as it was when it was first coined.
Hence, the importance of these regulations—and more importantly, their enforceability—cannot be over-stated. But what of those households for whom these regulations do not apply?
Proposals for the 2009 Global Development Marketplace are due in 2 weeks! There is still plenty of time to apply. We hope you take advantage and submit your idea today. The competition, funded by the GEF and other DM partners, aims to dentify 20 to 25 innovative, early-stage projects addressing climate adaptation. Winning projects receive up to US$200,000 in grant funding for implementation over two years.
The competition focuses on three sub-themes:
1) Resilience of Indigenous Peoples' Communities to Climate Risks
2) Climate Risk Management with Multiple Benefits
3) Climate Adaptation and Disaster Risk Management
For more information and to apply, visit our website at www.developmentmarketplace.org. The application deadline is May 18, 2009.