COP26 and Bangladesh

COP26 Conference 31 October 2021 – 12 November 2021

Bangladesh is widely recognised as one of the most vulnerable countries in the world to the impact of global warming. Situated between the snow peaks of the Himalayas to the North and the Bay of Bengal to the South, the country is criss-crossed with a myriad of rivers ranging from the smallest waterways to the formidable Ganges. Most of the country is less than ten metres above sea level and almost ten percent is below one metre.

Many of the areas in which Maison Bengal and our partner organisations work are already experiencing some of the severe effects due to climate change. Sea level rise is causing salination of wells and agricultural land and extreme weather events such as cyclones are happening with ever greater frequency and intensity. Storm surges are destroying coastal defences and the monsoon rains are becoming erratic and more extreme.

The communities with which we work show enormous courage and resilience in adapting to the impacts these events have on agriculture, water and food security, health and shelter. However, they now need assistance from the developed world on a scale that is commensurate with the existential threat.

The world’s attention is currently focused on the COP26 climate summit deliberations, and the desperate urgency for world leaders to agree on a plan of action. People talk of the world being at “one minute before midnight” in its effort to save humanity from the worst effects of climate change. Bangladesh can already hear midnight chiming. Time has run out for words alone, Bangladesh’s future depends on crucial commitments for immediate action decided within the COP26 conference.

Here below are a number of photographs that demonstrate the degree to which the most threatening effects of climate change are already impacting the daily lives of the communities that we work with.