Dhaka, Bangladesh (BBN) – Bangladesh’s vulnerability to climate change was a key focus of the three-day visit of UNDP administrator Helen Clark.

During the visit, the UNDP administrator met with the prime minister, Sheikh Hasina, and other senior ministers of her cabinet, the speaker of the parliament, and the leader of the opposition.

“On the MDGs, Bangladesh has much to be proud of,” said Helen Clark. “Now we must work to ensure that hard fought development gains are not eroded by the effects of climate change.”

Sea levels on the coast of Bangladesh are expected to rise significantly, directly affecting the lives of Bangladeshis living in coastal areas. More land is being affected by increasing salinity, also threatening food security, and livelihood options, a UNDP press statement said in Dhaka on Monday.

Bangladesh’s national climate change adaptation plan accepts that climate change will cause increased frequency and severity of climate events, such as flooding, cyclones, and drought which will lead to the loss of assets and livelihoods; reductions in food security; and increasing migration pressures.

To reduce the vulnerability of communities to climate change and to help them adapt to its effects, UNDP is working with the ministry of environment and forests of Bangladesh on an innovative project which uses mangrove forests to combat erosion and directly reduce CO2 emissions, the statement added.

BBN/SI/AD-16Nov10-4:26 pm (BST)