Climate change and development are closely inter-related. Developing countries, particularly low-income countries, are at the greatest risk of climatic hazards for their development gaps and reliance on climate sensitive natural resources. It is evident that, climate change is and will be terrible for everyone but catastrophic for the poor.
So the question is: How can we effectively reduce vulnerabilities or ready ourselves to face adverse impacts of climate change. Different approaches and techniques are being familiarised all over the world to tackle the climate change effects. Thus, climate compatible development (CCD) is gaining importance among donors and development partners. It basically refers to the development that minimises harms caused by climate impacts, while maximising human potentials and creating development opportunities by promoting a low carbon and more resilient future.
Climate change and response to it are shifting patterns of population distribution, trade, production, and risks in complex ways. Over the past couple of decades, the economy of Bangladesh has been growing and is poised to continue on this growth path. Still, due to limited resources, the country faces challenges to socio-economic development and service delivery, especially in rural areas.
However, climate change is both a threat and an opportunity for Bangladesh. CCD attempts to minimise these threats and maximise opportunities. Our greenhouse gas emissions are comparatively low in view of level of our development. Rising sea levels, floods, and cyclones pose an increasing threat to the Bangladesh people.
On the other hand, climate-compatible development can offer an opportunity to move to a broad-based, low-carbon growth path. This is creating an opportunity for a new development approach to fostering and sustaining economic growth and social development in the face of complexities and uncertainties.
The issue of climate change and development present complex policy problems, particularly in developing regions. CCD has gained traction amongst academics and policymakers by offering simultaneous solutions to both. CCD promotes inclusive and sustainable social and economic development whilst simultaneously adapting to adverse impacts of climate change and mitigating GHG emissions. CCD requires coherent policy approaches that span multiple sectors and strong collaboration between these sectors.
Over the last couple of years, donors and governments of different countries are investing in CCD in order to reduce climatic impacts and development vulnerabilities. Different studies indicate that sector policies at present only partially support shifts towards CCD, with approaches that both complement and detract from CCD being prioritised by national governments. Despite such investment, the CCD literature remains in its infancy and research has empirically examined circumstances in which CCD wins might be achievable. A growing literature is also assessing development co-benefits of mitigation and adaptation, its potential for guiding policymaking and natural resource valuation and its operationalisation. It is important that development strategies are aligned with challenges posed by a changing climate.
CCD is about to transform development pathways and can play an important role in reducing dangerous climatic impacts. Links between development and climate change have become increasingly clear in recent years. Yet, progress towards advancing CCD is not forthright due to persistent dominance of solutions that tend to neglect economic and political challenges associated with policy issue and gap between policy and implementation. To achieve climate compatible development, it is important to develop inclusive governance system that promotes resilience, growth and development simultaneously, and ensures that transitions to resilient and low emissions growth have significant benefits for the poor. Strategies need to be aligned with climate change policies, action-oriented and collaborative. All the relevant policies should support and promote CCD. They will need to encourage preservation of natural resources; reduce inequality; and strengthen economic governance.
Risks and opportunities liked to wider political and economic forces need to be evaluated in CCD interventions. Governments should focus on developing coherent, cross-sector approaches in order to promote new forms of inclusive and sustainable social and economic development, whilst facilitating adaptation to climate change impacts and supporting low carbon development.
ASM Marjan Nur is a researcher at Centre for Climate Change and Environmental Research, BRAC University.