Country Background Information – Bangladesh


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Key country facts


  • farming and irrigation

    Agriculture is the main industry employing 87% of its rural population. 39% of Bangladesh’s greenhouse gas emissions come from agriculture which is in itself very vulnerable to floods and drought. Rice is the main crop grown.

    Source: Flickr /IRRI

  • transportation

    Rickshaws, both pedal and motorised, are one of the most common public transportation system in Bangladesh. Transport is Bangladesh’s fastest growing sector and is where Bangladesh’s efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions are focussed.

    Source: Flickr /IRRI

  • village

    Poverty remains prominent in Bangladesh, where around 22% of the population live below the international poverty line. Many of its rural areas are in riverside and coastal communities that are continuously affected by coastal flooding, river erosion and salt water intrusion. These affect their land and livelihoods making the poor especially vulnerable to climate change.

  • stilt houses

    Two thirds of Bangladesh is less than 5m above sea level. Stilt houses are structural solutions for floodprone areas.With around 700 rivers and an extensive river network, up to 70% of the country becomes flooded every year. Tropical cyclones can also cause coastal flooding. Both these risks could increase as the climate changes. If global temperatures continue to increase to 2°C, scientists predict that almost 20% of Bangladesh would eventually be below sea level.

    Source: Flickr / UCL Development Planning Unit

  • bengal tiger

    The Bengal Tiger is the national animal of Bangladesh and is listed as an endangered species by the IUCN. According to a report by the WWF, continuous sea level rise in the coastal area of Sundarban could significantly reduce their habitats and further endanger tiger populations.

  • school kids

    All children between the ages of 6 and 10 must attend school. Access to education remains a challenge for vulnerable groups, particularly working children, disabled children, indigenous children and those in remote areas or living in extreme poverty. Boys are more likely to miss school than girls, when required to help support their families.

    Source: Flickr / IRRI

  • boat

    Bangladesh lies on a delta of rivers emptying into the Bay of Bengal. Is it low lying and therefore prone to flooding and the effects of tropical cyclones and sea level rise. The government of Bangladesh spends 6-7% of its annual budget on adapting to climate change already.

    Source: Flickr / IRRI

  • city

    There was rapid urbanisation between 2000 – 2010. 55% of the urban population live in slums. Bangladesh is one of the world’s most densely populated countries with a population of over 160 million.

    Source: Flickr / Francisco Anzola

  • Dhaka uni

    Dhaka is the capital of Bangladesh, with a population of 21 million people. The textile industry, making clothes for international markets, is centred on urban areas and is the country’s biggest industry.

    Source: Flickr /IRRI

  • drought

    Bangladesh sits on the Tropic of Cancer. Monsoon rains last from June to October. North-western Bangladesh can experience drought conditions when there is little rain before or after the monsoon. Climate change is expected to change the rainfall pattern in a way which will lead to more frequent droughts.

    Source: Flickr /IRRI

Further Materials (higher level learners) – Bangladesh

  • Bangladesh rural families shoulder costs of coping with climate change.
  • Bangladesh’s self-assessment of its vulnerability to climate change, submitted to the UNFCC in 2018
  • World Bank report into the impacts of rising sea level and increased tropical storms on Bangladesh.
  • World Bank programmes for climate change adaptation in Bangladesh
  • YouTube clip from the Bangladesh delegation at COP21
  • RGS resources on climate change in Bangladesh and Climate Change Challenges:Lessons from Bangladesh
  • Climate change projections for Bangladesh
  • Bangladesh emissions fact sheet
  • Unicef report: Climate Change threatens lives and futures of children in Bangladesh.
  • General Information

  • Background Information from the UN
  • A good overview from the World Bank.
  • CCAFS big facts
  • En-Roads 2100 climate simulator
  • A history of climate change negotiations and another one.
  • A guide to COP21 in Paris from the Guardian.