The Government of Bangladesh and ADB on 11 February signed a $6 million grant agreement for the Coastal Towns Environmental Infrastructure Project (CTEIP) in Bangladesh, making this the first investment grant signed for the Urban Climate Change Resilience Trust Fund (UCCRTF). This subsidiary grant agreement was executed by the Ministry of Finance with the two coastal towns Bagerhat and Patuakhali on 15 May.
The fund, part of the Urban Financing Partnership Facility, is a multi-partner trust fund that helps medium-sized, fast-growing cities in planning and designing infrastructure using urban resilience principles. Bagerhat and Patuakhali are the towns UCCRTF supports apart from the initial eight towns under CTEIP.
ADB approved CTEIP in June 2014 with a loan investment of $82 million and a grant amounting to $12 million (through the Strategic Climate Fund and Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation). The project will strengthen climate resilience and disaster preparedness in the eight vulnerable coastal pourashavas (secondary towns) of Bangladesh, using an integrated approach to urban development. This will include providing climate-resilient municipal infrastructure and strengthening institutional capacity, local governance, and public awareness for improved urban planning and service delivery.
Key infrastructure investments consist of drainage, water supply and sanitation, cyclone shelters, and other municipal infrastructure such as emergency access roads and bridges, solid waste management, bus terminals, slum improvements, boat landings, and markets.
Elma is a Senior Project Officer (Urban Infrastructure) at the ADB Bangladesh Resident Mission involved in urban sector development projects for improving water supply and waste management, environment and climate resilience, basic infrastructure for urban service delivery, and integrated urban planning. She is working on developing integrated waste management involving waste to energy, climate-resilient urban master plans, and integrated drainage plans for secondary coastal towns.
An Urban Climate Change Resilience Specialist, Oesha leads projects in Bangladesh, India, Pakistan, and the Philippines for ADB’s Urban Climate Change Resilience Trust Fund. She supports inclusive and intelligent urban resilience planning of cities and communities, with a focus on connecting diverse stakeholders and integrating diverse urban systems.
At the signing (from left to right) were Khan Habibur Rahman, Mayor, Bagerhat Pourashava; Md. Anowar Hossain, Project Director, CTEIP, LGED; Md. Habibur Rahman, Joint Secretary, Finance Division, Ministry of Finance; Advocate Swapan Kumar Dev, Bagerhat Pourashava; and, Saeyda Aklimunnesa, Councelor, Ward 7, 8 & 9, Panel Mayor, Patuakhali Pourashava.
Choosing the coastal towns
The project team screened 36 towns in 11 of the 19 coastal districts. The 11 districts (Bagherhat, Barguna, Barisal, Bhola, Gopalganj, Jhalkati, Khulna, Patuakhali, Pirojpur, Satkhira, and Shariatpur) were selected since their location on the central and southwest region of the country were identified as highly vulnerable to natural disasters and are considered as climate vulnerable hotspots by the government’s Coastal Development Strategy (2006) and Strategic Program for Climate Resilience (SPCR 2010).
Also, the Local Government Engineering Department (LGED) created complementarities with the project to provide overall greater development impact in these districts.
A selection criteria to assess the towns was prepared in consultation with the government and made consistent with the SPCR’s vulnerability criteria. Some of the indicators included were population, area, fund allocation from other sources, salinity intrusion, exposure to sea, and availability of protective embankments. Based on these criteria, the 36 towns from the 11 districts were ranked and the top eight towns were selected to be part of the project.
The investment grant will fund the construction of climate-resilient infrastructure and will be used to develop an integrated drainage plan and solid waste management and fecal sludge management plan that will incorporate a public-private partnership business model.
How UCCRTF boosts resilience in Bagerhat and Patuakhali
Support for CTEIP started in 2015 and this consisted of, first, a technical assistance on Integrated Urban Planning and project preparation work such as conducting Rapid Urban and Climate Change Assessments (RUCCAs), developing Climate Resilient Integrated Urban Plans (CRIUPs) for the two towns, and setting the Actionable Priorities for Implementation of the CRIUPs for the first 5 years (five-year action plans).
Second, UCCRTF worked with the team behind the Spatial Data Analysis Explorer (SPADE), a geospatial and climate data platform, to collect on-the-ground data and analyze disaster risks. The UCCRTF team also completed city baselining that included resilience indicators through city and household surveys.
The recently signed investment grant will build on this prior work. This will fund the construction of climate-resilient infrastructure (roads, drains, and cyclone shelters) and will be used to develop an integrated drainage plan (IDP) and solid waste management and fecal sludge management plan (SWM/FSM plan) that will incorporate a public-private partnership business model.
The IDP will help enhance storage capacity of the natural water bodies, develop multifunctional green infrastructure for water storage, and improve the functionality of the existing town protection embankments, in addition to construction of drains and rehabilitations of canals.
Meanwhile, the scope of the SWM/FSM plan for both towns includes planning, engineering design and support during implementation of interventions across community, school, and public sanitation. For FSM, this will concentrate on adequate desludging of sanitation facilities, safe handling and transport of sludge, treatment of sludge, and its safe disposal or reuse; while for SWM this will see to the management of waste generation, storage, collection, public health, conservation, engineering, and other economic, social, and environmental aspects. Pilot interventions on decentralized wastewater management in both coastal towns will also be implemented.
Additionally, the UCCRTF team will be conducting a workshop on building resilience at the community level using vulnerability assessments and plans in August.
The entire Coastal Towns Environmental Infrastructure Project will be completed by December 2020.