Staff Correspondent: The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has approved a $120 million loan to help improve access to basic services and climate resilience of remote and rural communities in the Chittagong Hill Tracts of Bangladesh.
“The Chittagong Hill Tracts is one of the regions in the country most vulnerable to climate and disaster risks. It also lacks access to basic services and opportunities,” said ADB Principal Water Resources Specialist Sanath Ranawana.
“ADB’s project will provide livelihood opportunities, build knowledge and capacity in dealing with the effects of climate change, and improve living conditions of communities in the region.”
The project will help improve village access roads, develop water supply sources and sanitation services, install rooftop solar systems, and establish agricultural facilities, according to a press release received from Manila.
It will improve about 140 kilometers of rural roads with all-weather standards incorporating nature-based, climate-resilient, and safety features.
ADB’s intervention will strengthen watershed management in nine sub-watersheds, to improve resilience to climate change and mitigate risks from natural hazards.
This will entail improving vegetation in watershed areas through agroforestry, building small-scale water harvesting infrastructure, promoting income-generating activities from watershed protection, and training village forest committees in watershed management skills.
The project will also support sustainable land use and climate-smart agricultural practices for food security. Farmers will be provided training and support to shift climate-resilient crop varieties and to diversify into high-value vegetables, fruits, spices, and medicinal plants.
They will be given training, equipment, and linkages with experts and the private sector to help them process, market, and sell their products. The expected increase in the demand for skilled labor will be met by offering vocational and professional training courses such as carpentry, food processing, entrepreneurship, and community-based tourism and hospitality management.
ADB is committed to achieving a prosperous, inclusive, resilient, and sustainable Asia and the Pacific, while sustaining its efforts to eradicate extreme poverty. Established in 1966, it is owned by 68 members-49 from the region.
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