DHAKA, April 5, 2017 (BSS) - The government today signed a US$113 million financing agreement with the World Bank (WB) to modernize the country's meteorological and hydrological information system, including weather forecasting, early warning systems, and delivery of weather and climate services.
Secretary-in-Charge of Economic Relations Division Kazi Shofiqul Azam and WB's country director Qimiao Fan signed the agreement on behalf of their respective side at the NEC conference room here today.
The Bangladesh Weather and Climate Services Regional Project (BWCSRP) will help strengthen the weather, water, disaster risk and climate information services in Bangladesh. The project will also pilot a community-level early warning system for flash floods, thunderstorms and droughts in four districts -Netrakona, Sunamganj, Rajshahi and Naogaon. The project will benefit more than 1 million people.
The project will set up an Agro-meteorological Information System portal, agromet information kiosks in 487 Upazilas and agromet display boards at 4,051 Unions. This will enable more than 30,000 farmer households to gain access to weather and water related information, and enable them to make better planning and decisions to deal with climate uncertainties.
"Globally, Bangladesh is well recognized for disaster preparedness," said Kazi Shofiqul Azam.
"Realizing that weather pattern is not restricted to one single country, with this project, we are looking forward to broader collaboration with our neighboring countries, and modernizing the weather and climate monitoring framework to further improve early warning systems at community level," he added.
"With Bangladesh often exposed to extreme weather events, the lack of reliable forecasting and information on weather can cost lives and hurt the productivity of key sectors, such as agriculture, which contributes to about 16 percent of GDP, and employs 45 percent of the population," said Qimiao Fan.
"By ensuring reliable and systematic weather and climate information, this project will strengthen disaster preparedness, as well as help farmers better adjust to weather variability at the farm level, and thus improve productivity," he added.
Bangladesh is among the most disaster-prone and climate vulnerable
countries in the world, and is frequently hit by floods, drought, and
tropical cyclones, with significant losses of lives and substantial costs to the economy.
The project will support regional collaboration to share knowledge,
leverage economies of scale in forecasting and development of services, and improve preparedness and resilience. The project will help at least five international agencies engaged in regional and global modelling.
The zero-interest credit from the International Development Association (IDA), the World Bank's grant and interest-free credits arm, has a maturity of 38 years, including a 6-year grace period; and carries a service charge of 0.75 percent.
Source: Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha (BSS)