Unless adaptation is initiated, climate change is going to cause shortfall in the country's food production in near future, said climate expert Prof Ainun Nishat at a conference in the capital yesterday.
“In the face of climate change impacts, imbalance in the ecosystem will lead to change in flowering pattern and pollination, reducing crop production almost by half,” he said, adding, “Plan of action for adaptation, resilience and preparedness must start now.”
He was speaking at the three-day international conference on disaster risk management organised by Buet-Japan Institute of Disaster Prevention and Urban Safety, Rajdhani Unnayan Kartripakkha, Fire Service and Civil Defence.
The foremost challenge in the climate change process is that it is going to turn the weather pattern erratic, said Nishat, professor emeritus at Centre for Climate Change and Environmental Research of Brac University.
Citing the incident of shortfall in the country's monsoon paddy production due to floods mid last year, Prof Nishat said that despite Bangladesh's self-sufficiency in food production, the government had to import rice due to last year's deficit.
Referring to temperature rise, salinity intrusion into inland rivers, erratic rainfall, tidal surge and river bank erosion, he said that loss of traditional habitat and livelihood may lead to mass migration.
Though at present Bangladesh is reasonably prepared to tackle natural disasters, the country is not ready to face the increased scale of disasters to be caused by climate change in the next three decades, he said.
Brig Gen (retd) Ali Ahmed Khan, director general of Fire Service and Civil Defence, said that Dhaka is one of the cities most vulnerable to natural and man-made disasters, thanks to unplanned urbanisation, unregulated building construction and destruction of wetlands.
Hitoshi Hirata, chief representative of Japan International Cooperation Agency in Bangladesh, said, “We must continue to increase capacity for resilience to climate change.”
Hiroyasu Izumi, ambassador of Japan to Bangladesh, also spoke at the inaugural session.