The need for humanitarian funds and the number of people in need of humanitarian assistance have steadily increased over the past ten years on a global level. Climate risks in general are partly responsible for this tremendous increase and are being amplified by climate change impacts. Current and future risks of climate change in combination with often unplanned urbanization, limited food supplies, poorly managed natural resources, population growth and extreme poverty represent major challenges, particularly for people in developing countries.
According to the Climate Change Vulnerability Index, Bangladesh is rated the country most at risk, due to its climate hazard scenarios, its extreme levels of poverty and a high dependency on agriculture, whilst its government has the lowest capacity of all countries to adapt to predicted changes in climate. Climate change will severely challenge the country’s ability to achieve the high rates of economic growth needed to sustain reduction in poverty.
The poor and the vulnerable are already experiencing adverse effects of changing climate in Bangladesh with recurring weather-related disasters every year. Despite recent economic growth, over 30 % of the country’s population still live below the poverty line (WB, 2010). Those who depend directly on the environment for earning an income and people engaged in climate-sensitive sectors such as agriculture (where almost 70-80% of people are engaged) and fishery are worst affected.
Early action based on forecasts and EW messages issued by the local authorities is not being practiced because the communities either don’t interpret the warnings in the correct way, don’t understand them, mistrust them or don’t receive them at all. Additionally, the forecast issuing departments, such as FFWC and BMD stated in an interview that they are lacking immense funds in order to be able to issue more qualitative EW messages.
Forecast-based financing (FBF), as the name suggests, is using available funding based on forecast information to conduct pre-planned activities which reduce risks, enhance preparedness and response and make disaster management overall more effective. In doing so, the humanitarian community, together with other stakeholders such as meteorological agencies, agrees on selected actions that are worth carrying out once a forecast reaches a certain level. Then, each of the actions is given a budget to be activated when a forecast is received.
As one of 3 pilot countries, I elaborated a project proposal for the German Red Cross (GRC) in Bangladesh for submission to the German Federal Forein Office, with the aim to enable the Bangladesh Red Crescent Society (BDRCS) to developed and established innovative tools for forecast based financing to improve preparedness for extreme weather events of flood and cyclone prone communities of Bangladesh.