An infrastructure development project to improve existing coastal embankments for disaster risk reduction and climate change resilience.

The coastal zone of Bangladesh contains over 580 km of coastline and accounts for 32 percent of the country’s total landmass. At the same time, just 17 percent of coastal lands reach an elevation of more than 5 meters above mean sea level, meaning that many of the approximately 42 million people living there are highly vulnerable to extreme weather events and climate-related impacts. This was evidenced by Cyclone Sidr in 2007, which caused 3,400 deaths and over $1.6 billion in loss and damage.  

Since the 1960s, the Government of Bangladesh has invested in coastal infrastructure improvement for the purpose of mitigating disaster risk. As a result, there are currently 2,130 cyclone shelters, 139 polders, 2,900 water control structures for drainage, and improved early warning systems. However, variability associated with climate change is cause for continued improvements to this aging system, which protects approximately 15 percent of Bangladesh’s total arable land.

Objectives and Outputs:
Because of the coastal region’s high vulnerability, the Coastal Embankments Improvement Project was developed to protect the region’s population and increase its resilience in the face of growing hazards caused by climate change. Begun in 2013, the project will cost $25 million, and will benefit approximately 760,000 residents through protecting more than 100,000 hectares of highly productive land. The project was begun in 2013 is being undertaken as a partnership between the Government of Bangladesh, ADB, and CIF.

The project has three objective areas: to increase the area protected in selected polders from tidal flooding and frequent storm surges, to improve agricultural production by reducing saline intrusion in selected polders, and to improve the Government of Bangladesh’s capacity to respond promptly and effectively to an eligible crisis or emergency. All objectives will be achieved by rehabilitating and improving the polder system in the coastal area.

After Cyclone Sidr, a Long Term Disaster Risk Reduction Program was produced through a collaborative effort by government agencies, development partners and the World Bank. This program has five strategic pillars, which are: (i) risk identification and assessment, (ii) strengthening and enhancing emergency preparedness, (iii) institutional capacity building, (iv) risk mitigation investment (mostly multipurpose cyclone shelters and rehabilitation and upgrading of the embankment system), and (v) introducing catastrophe risk financing in the long term. 

Upgrading the entire embankment system is recognized as a long term objective to increase the resilience of the entire coastal population and lessen the impact of tidal flooding and natural disasters. However, with an existing 6,000 km of embankments and 139 polders, a multi-phased approach will be necessary to complete the task. This project will therefore serve as a means of establishing best practices and lessons learned for future projects of a similar nature.

This project summary is drawn from draft project proposals [such as the PAD, PID, SAR, and country investment plan] and may not contain the most up-to-date information. 

Project Details
Cover Note | Project Document | MDB Project Implementation Services (MPIS) | Project Report | Proposed Decision
Approved on April 23, 2013 (Approved Decision)
Approved amount(s):
USD 25.0 million (grant funding)
USD 272,000 (MPIS Final tranche)
Comments and Responses:
Australia (April 22, 2013)  
Spain and Germany (April 22, 2013)
United Kingdom (April 22, 2013)
IBRD Response to Spain, Germany, Australia, and UK (June 7, 2013)

MDB Preparation and Supervision Services (MPIS)
Project Concept (Page 53) | Proposed Decision 
Approved on January 25, 2011 (Approved Decision)
Approved amount(s):
USD 218,000 (MPIS First tranche)