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Urban climate resilience, water and sanitation: Improving multi-stakeholder collaboration in Dhaka, Bangladesh

This paper attempts to identify a strategy for improving collaboration between stakeholders working in Dhaka city to improve climate change resilience of the urban water and sanitation (WATSAN) sector, with a focus on the urban poor.

The findings are derived from reviewing existing literature and consultations with 32 key informants and five focus group discussions (FGDs) representing both low-income groups as well as other stakeholders (NGOs, government, academics). The output of the analysis reveals that heavy rainfall, flooding, water logging and heatwaves are the major climatic impacts that affect the water supply, sanitation and health of slum dwellers. Also, women are more vulnerable than men due to the lack of water supply and adequate sanitation facilities particularly during floods and water-logging conditions.

Around 35non-governmental organisations (NGOs), along with government bodies and media, play key roles in improving the WATSAN facilities of the urban poor – which are currently inadequate. To improve the situation, NGOs sometimes collaboratively work with other partners but without considering a long-term strategy.

Improving the situation will require a sustained effort from all stakeholders – including government, community members, community-based organisations (CBOs), NGOs, media, donors, researchers and academics. The national government should play the lead role by formulating a strategic action plan in consultation with advisors, key personnel and other stakeholders. It should also be the responsibility of the government to ensure that stakeholders work according to the guidelines. Following a government-devised action plan, the private sector and NGOs will be able to develop more robust and effective partnerships.

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The Asian Cities Climate Change Resilience Network (ACCCRN) is an eight-year, multi-country initiative working with cities across the world to increase resilience to climate change. IIED is a regional partner within ACCCRN.

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