Leading a coordinated response to climate change in Bangladesh
Since her appointment as UN Resident Coordinator in Bangladesh in May 2022, Ms. Gwyn Lewis has facilitated the UN country team’s integrated response to climate change in one of the world’s most climate-vulnerable countries.
Ensuring that UN agencies work better together, the Resident Coordinator has helped strengthen the UN’s climate programming, provide integrated policy support to the Government, and engage in joint advocacy efforts to adapt to the impact of climate change and limit the suffering of the most vulnerable populations, especially women and girls. The Resident Coordinator has also actively promoted an integrated climate approach across the UN humanitarian, development, and peace interventions to strengthen coherence and impact for those most affected.
In response to devastating floods in July 2022 that affected over 7 million people in the Sylhet region in northeastern Bangladesh, Ms. Lewis coordinated humanitarian partners to advocate for additional donor support, including for the Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF), in support of the most hard-hit and remote communities. Following the initial emergency response, the Resident Coordinator requested donors and international financial institutions to support the Government in the longer-term recovery of Sylhet, which helped the initiation of a loan of USD230 million from the Asian Development Bank (ADB) covering the nine most affected districts of Bangladesh, with total population of over 50 million people.
In fact, the Resident Coordinator is playing a critical role in identifying and advocating for climate finance, particularly mitigation finance, as a potential driver of investment in infrastructure, energy and other key sectors of the economy.
Together with the International Labour Organisation (ILO) and United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the Resident Coordinator is bringing together employers’ federations and chambers of commerce around a UN private sector engagement strategy with climate action and climate finance as a key component. In cooperation with the UK Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) the Resident Coordinator Office is also facilitating a shared overview of climate finance inflows among bilateral donors and international financial institutions.
In addition, the UN Country Team is holding awareness raising events in the country on climate adaptation and mitigation. The events also served to mobilize funding for loss and damage.
The Resident Coordinator is also ensuring effective UN support to the Government in mainstreaming climate action in Bangladesh’s Smooth Transition Strategy for graduation from Least Developed Countries category by 2026.