The Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the government signed a technical assistance (TA) grant agreement involving $1.2 million to sustain incomes and livelihood of people along the erosion-prone main rivers in Bangladesh.
Saifuddin Ahmed, joint secretary, Economic Relations Division (ERD), and Stefan Ekelund, officer-in-charge of ADB's Bangladesh Resident Mission, signed the agreement on behalf of their respective sides at a ceremony at Sher-e-Bangla Nagar, in the capital.
Masayuki Taga, counsellor, Embassy of Japan, Mollah Ruhul Alam, additional director general (Planning), Water Development Board, and Md Abdul Quddus, project director, Jamuna-Meghna River Erosion Mitigation Project, were also present on the occasion.
The assistance will help prepare the "Main River Flood and Bank Erosion Risk Management Programme", which will enhance people's resilience to face flood and riverbank erosion risks in the priority erosion-prone areas, said an ADB press release.
The programme will be a follow-up initiative to reinforce the achievements under the ADB-supported Jamuna-Meghna River Erosion Mitigation Project.
Under the TA, flood and riverbank erosion disaster risk mitigation measures will be developed, implemented and maintained, the press release said, adding it will also strengthen flood and riverbank erosion risk management and establish efficient programme management system.
The Japan Fund for Poverty Reduction (JFPR) will provide the grant for the technical assistance to be administered by ADB, it added.
"The livelihoods of the poor are fundamentally affected by water-related disasters including floods, drought, riverbank erosion, cyclones and tidal surges because Bangladesh is on a vast flat floodplain at the confluence of three main rivers," the press release quoted the ADB Country Director M. Teresa Kho as saying.
"The threat of disasters discourages investment, and lead to lower economic growth of riverine areas". "Therefore, enhanced riverbank erosion and flood protection management is essential for poverty reduction and economic growth of these areas," Teresa Kho added.