Dhaka, Bangladesh (BBN)– Bangladesh is losing $2.2 billion annually to natural disasters, the planning ministry said.

“The effect of climate change on Bangladesh is caused by actions of others. However, we have to find ways to mitigate the losses and assess them in monetary terms,” Planning Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal said at the closing ceremony of the Poverty, Environment and Climate Mainstreaming project.

Climate change issues are the most vulnerable area for sustainable development, and effective expertise should be employed to handle all the natural disaster issues, he said at the National Economic Council in Sher-e-Bangla Nagar, Dhaka on Thursday.

The $1 million project aimed at assessing the climate change impact on the country's poverty alleviation activities and their inclusion into national planning and budgeting processes. Financed by UNDP, it began in July 2010, and underscored social and economic analysis of climate change on agriculture, water, transport, gender and poverty issues.

Local institutionalisation and assessment of fiscal aspect of climate change are necessary for economic emancipation and sustainable development of the poor, said UNDP Country Director Pauline Tamesis. “It is the local people of Bangladesh who have to institutionalise processes to mitigate sufferings caused by natural disasters.”

BBN/SSR/AD-28Mar14-6:40 pm (BST)