The MDG goals in 2015, but significant challenges still

The importance of water security for a sustained economic growth and poverty
alleviation has substantially increased within Asia and the Pacific in recent developments.
The 48 countries within Asia and the Pacific have progressed overall in the
past few years to maintain a certain standard, most countries attaining their
MDG goals in 2015, but significant challenges still persists.1
Water risks in economies and well-being derive from annual flooding damage,
inadequate access to water supply and sanitation, as well as water scarcity in
agriculture. These all act as hindrances on economic growth.2
“Asia and the Pacific remains the world’s most vulnerable region to water
insecurity and cannot sustain its recent economic growth without addressing
this issue,” states Vice-President Bambang Susantono from Asian Development
Bank (ADB), an affiliate of the United Nations. “Meeting the region’s
socioeconomic challenges and achieving Sustainable Development Goal 6 on water
will require bridging the gap in provision of water services between rich and
poor in urban areas”.3
This specific goal is to ensure access to water and sanitation for all.4
Reports from ADB cites that in Asia and the Pacific, 1.7 billion people
lack access to basic sanitation.5
Recent evaluations suggest that by 2050, 3.4 billion people could be living in
water-stressed areas in Asia and the Pacific while water demand will escalate
by 55%.6
These staggering statistics are a result of a detrimental association between a
multitude of influences. With the implementation of a global framework for
investment and infrastructure, the rampant problem of water security
susceptibility will be contained and reduced.

Bangladesh has been making efforts to eradicate water
security vulnerability by implementing plans and policies aligned with poverty
alleviation. The leading negative aspects of this susceptibility is the
correlation between poverty, climate change, and Bangladesh’s geographical
location.7
Bangladesh has made considerable progress in reducing poverty since its
independence in 1971, a significant achievement for one of the most densely
populated countries in the world with a population of 160 million inhabitants.8
By 2021, Bangladesh intends on ending extreme poverty with accelerated poverty
reduction measurements through institutional responses and investment
strategies.9
Prevailing hazards and disasters in the country together with socioeconomic
exposure have a profound bearing on poverty incidences. High poverty incidences
were found in chronic disaster-prone areas such as districts along rivers where
the communities are repeatedly affected by river erosion and flooding and in the
south- west which is prone to cyclones, tidal surges, salt water intrusion and
water-logging.10
Agricultural water security is a major issue, especially in coastal areas where
the lack of irrigation water limits crop intensification due to increasing salinity.11
Despite the on-going economic transformation to a manufacturing-based economy,
the dependency of the rural population on agriculture continues to be a
significant driver of poverty. Exposure to water-related hazards in coastal
areas is on the rise due to growing populations and assets.12
Expected annual damage due to flooding in these regions ranges from 2 % to 10 %
of Gross Domestic Product and is projected to worsen due to the combined
impacts of coastal urbanization and sea level rise.13
Current water security interventions in the coastal area are mostly focused on
achieving flood protection, without sufficient attention being paid to how
these investments can be sequenced and designed to address multiple
water-related risks to achieve multiple objectives and benefit poor
communities.14
The unique attributes of Bangladesh’s geographical location places it between
the lower riparian of three of the largest river systems in the world; Meghna, Ganges
and Bhrahmaputra.15
This means that portions of these rivers in amongst many other small rivers are
situated in other sovereign countries. The possibility of aggravating conflict
to the right of transboundary water sources will proliferate if not taken care
of. Understanding how the likelihood and consequences of how these water-risks
vary over space and time and for different sectors of society, especially for
the poor, is key for designing more effective and fair policies and programs to
global water security.

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Moving forward, Bangladesh seeks to introduce a risk
based framework to evaluate the likeliness of poverty based on the interactions
between hazardous and exposures across different socioeconomically
vulnerabilities. This evaluation will present the different outcomes of
investment choices as productivity investments in water security are needed for
poverty reduction. In addition, continuous investments in helping Bangladesh’s
economic transformation to a manufacturing-based economy from an agricultural
economy is crucial. An alternate source of water security implementation would
be through the use of green, renewable energy growth.