The Political Economy of Climate Resilient Development Planning in Bangladesh


  • Khurshid Alam,

    1. Disaster and climate change specialist with experience in 25 countries in Asia and Africa.
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  • Md Shamsuddoha,

    1. Chief Executive at Participatory Research and Development Initiates (PRDI) and previously the former General Secretary of Equity and Justice Working Group Bangladesh (EquityBd).
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  • Thomas Tanner,

    1. Research Fellow at IDS specialising in climate change adaptation and its links to poverty and development.
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  • Moshahida Sultana,

    1. Lecturer of Economics at the Department of Accounting and Information Systems, University of Dhaka, and previously taught at the Department of Economics of BRAC University and Jahangirnagar University.
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  • Muhammad Jahedul Huq,

    1. Research Officer in Climate Change Adaptation and Disaster Risk Reduction at ActionAid Bangladesh.
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  • Sumaiya S. Kabir

    1. Associate consultant at ThinkAhead Limited engaged in research projects on climate change and disasters.
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    • We would like to gratefully acknowledge the anonymous interviewees who gave their time for this study, and the valuable input of A.K.M. Mamunur Rashid of the Poverty, Environment and Climate Mainstreaming (PECM) Project of the Planning Commission of Bangladesh, Dr Kazi Maruful Islam in the Department of Development Studies at Dhaka University and Dr Siddiqur Rahman in the Department of Anthropology at Jahangirnagar University. Research for this article was carried out through the Political Economy of Low Carbon Climate Resilient Development project, coordinated by IDS and funded by the UK Department for International Development (DFID). The views expressed here are the views of the authors and do not represent the views or policies of IDS, DFID, or the UK government.


Following three major disasters in 2007, Bangladesh intensified its effort to tackle climate change through development of the Bangladesh Climate Change Strategy and Action Plan (BCCSAP). The process of plan formulation led to debates nationally and internationally regarding the financing and integration of climate change into development planning. Using a political economic lens, this article illustrates how major national initiatives around international problems must be understood in terms of the interplay of actors, their ideas and power relations. The article argues that: (i) Power relations among actors significantly influenced the selection of ideas and implementation activities; (ii) Donor concerns around aid effectiveness and consequent creation of parallel mechanisms of planning and implementation may run counter to both the mainstreaming process and the alignment of assistance with country priorities and systems; (iii) Climate change planning processes must be opened up to include actors from across sectors, population groups and geographical areas.