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Bangladesh: Water

Volume 508: debated on Tuesday 23 March 2010

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what assistance the Government are giving to Bangladesh to tackle salinity in (a) land and (b) groundwater; and if he will make a statement. (323239)

Supporting Bangladesh to meet the challenges of climate change, including rising land and groundwater salinity, is an important priority for the Department for International Development (DFID).

Since 2003, the UK has disbursed £4.6 million to the Comprehensive Disaster Management Programme (CDMP) managed by the United Nations Development Programme, which has helped the Government and vulnerable communities to better manage the impact of climate change, including rising salinity. For example, some 34,000 people are benefiting from rainwater harvesting and pond sand filters in Satkhira, one of the worst saline affected districts. We recently committed a further £12 million to a second phase of CDMP, and £60 million to a wider Multi-Donor Trust Fund for Climate Change (subject to approval by the Government of Bangladesh), both of which will be drawn upon for similar activities in the future.

The Sanitation, Hygiene and Water Supply Project managed by UNICEF, to which the UK has provided £36 million, is contributing to better national monitoring of water salinity. We are also supporting innovations such as the cultivation of saline-tolerant vegetables in pilot areas.