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Bangladesh: Rising tides of suffering by Sharif Jamil October 06,2021   |  Source: Chatham House

Two-thirds of Bangladesh is less than five metres above sea level. It is part of the world’s largest active delta that discharges the mighty Ganges and Brahmaputra river systems into the Bay of Bengal. The vital role it played in historical British trade routes and its inclusion in China’s Belt and Road Initiative reflect its importance to the global economy. This role is now under threat as the effects of climate change combine with the building of a number of coal-fired power stations on ecologically sensitive coastal land to cause environmental damage with the potential to affect global supply chains. Along the coast, Cox’s Bazar, the fishing port and Bangladesh’s tourism centre, boasts the world’s longest natural sea beach, a biodiversity hotspot that is home to the spoon-billed sandpiper. The southern part of this densely populated country is protected by the mangrove forest of the Sundarbans from the extreme weather patterns that are becoming more frequent and intense from the Indian Ocean towards the Bay of Bengal due to climate change. These 10,000 square kilometres of mangrove, a Unesco World Heritage Site, is shared, with 60 per cent in Bangladesh and 40 per cent in India. The Sundarbans, the last habitat of the Bengal tiger, supports the livelihoods of


© Chatham House, 2021

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