A low-lying country with more than 230 waterways, Bangladesh is prone to natural disasters. Floods and earthquakes disrupt food supply, cause severe environmental damage and decimate the livelihoods of the many Bangladeshis working in agriculture.
Poor town planning, overcrowding and weak infrastructure aggravate the threats to urban communities. Addressing these hazards is a priority for the national government. As well as the cost to life and the economy, large-scale disasters can reverse poverty-reduction efforts and divert resources from more productive uses.
Comprehensive Disaster Management Programme (CDMP)
In 2003 the Government of Bangladesh launched CDMP together with the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development and the United Nations Development Programme. The European Commission became the third major partner in September 2006.
Phase I, completed in December 2009, supported significant policy reforms, shifting the planning focus from response to comprehensive risk reduction. It also integrated sustainable risk management into broader development planning.
Since commencing field activity in June 2006 CDMP has achieved significant results in the five priority areas of the Hyogo Framework for Action 2005–2015. The Hyogo Framework targets ways of creating greater resilience to disasters. As one of three implementing agencies UNOPS has played a leading role in delivering key outputs. Some examples are presented below.
Hyogo priority area 1: Ensure that disaster risk reduction is a national and a local priority with a strong institutional basis for implementation
UNOPS has helped develop a project management information system to monitor and report on programme achievements, and guided the development of key disaster management policies. CDMP has launched a database of disaster management organizations in the target districts and trained government and civil society representatives to ensure disaster management features in policy development.
Hyogo priority area 2: Identify, assess and monitor disaster risks and enhance early warning
With UNOPS support CDMP has created more than 550 local level community risk assessments and risk reduction action plans, affecting 15–20 million people. A Disaster Management Information Centre and risk information network has been established to serve 150 million people in 64 districts and 230 sub-districts.
Hyogo priority area 3: Use knowledge, innovation and education to build a culture of safety and resilience at all levels
UNOPS has contributed to a learning and development strategy and conducted professional development programmes for government officials. In addition to numerous media components, CDMP has provided basic disaster management training to more than 25,000 disaster management committee members serving 70 million people.
Hyogo priority area 4: Reduce the underlying risk factors
To empower local communities UNOPS has helped create mechanisms to coordinate interventions and to spot gaps in programmes. It has also assisted in establishing a local grants programme to support small-scale risk reduction efforts and livelihood security strategies.
Hyogo priority area 5: Strengthen disaster preparedness for effective response at all levels
UNOPS provided early recovery technical support to the Government and the United Nations from July to November 2007 to address damage caused by two severe floods and Tropical Cyclone Sidr, which affected 8.9 million people. During the flood and cyclone season CDMP produced 200 situation reports used by 500 national and international organizations.