Bangladesh research network builds climate knowledge and resilience

Cox’s Bazar sea beach, Cox's Bazar, Chittagong, Bangladesh. Credit: Imran Ahmed CC by 3.0

Contributor: Danielle Falzon, Brown University

“Gobeshona” is the Bangla word for research. It is also the name of an innovative knowledge network of climate change researchers in Bangladesh working to build capacity to adapt to climate change.

Knowledge is integral for enhancing this capacity, and the Gobeshona network is a model that can be replicated around the world to strengthen international climate adaptation.

Gobeshona was set up in 2014 by Saleemul Huq, director of the International Centre for Climate Change and Development in Dhaka. It builds knowledge through training programmes on publishing for young researchers, monthly science-policy dialogues, an annual conference and an online article database.

Most importantly, it brings together a community of academics, policymakers and practitioners to put the latest knowledge into practice.

As Gobeshona builds knowledge, it also builds resilience.

“Bangladesh has a lot of experience but we haven’t captured the knowledge that well. This is a means to try and do that,” explains Huq.

The network enables young researchers to share their work with the international community. The Gobeshona Young Researcher programme ensures that research on climate change in Bangladesh by Bangladeshi researchers is high quality and gets published in international peer-reviewed journals.

Gobeshona coordinates monthly themed dialogues with the General Economics Division of the National Planning Commission, which prepares the country’s development plans, as well as other government agencies. At these learning hub events, policymakers and researchers connect, and share their expertise and ideas.

It also highlights the knowledge generated at an annual conference each January. People from all realms of climate change work attend, including participants from around the globe, to share knowledge and learn from what is being done in Bangladesh.

In addition, Gobeshona’s web portal has compiled thousands of articles on climate change and Bangladesh. This creates easy access to a wealth of information, as well as a reliable place to access the latest research.

These initiatives increase the capacity of those who produce and use knowledge. They also enhance national adaptive capacity, as policymakers and practitioners are able to act according to the most up-to-date research.

“It’s still early days, but [Gobeshona] has gathered momentum and has now become an engine of harnessing the intellectual capacity and outcomes of the research community in Bangladesh on this issue,” says Huq.

At the end of the annual Gobeshona conference, the agenda is set through commitments for the year ahead.

At its 2018 conference in January, the network firmed up plans to:

  1. Extend beyond Dhaka to better connect with climate-vulnerable parts of the country.
  2. Develop a green-growth action programme focused on bringing in support from the private sector.
  3. Improve communication of climate information so that those who need it, such as farmers, can make better decisions.
  4. Enhance communication of research through new tools such as video.
  5. Create a youth leadership programme that connects young people from all over the world to develop solutions for climate change.

Gobeshona has an incredible ability to grow its network, and expand its influence to enhance adaptive capacity through knowledge exchange and development.

Furthermore, this knowledge is being generated and shared from the Global South. Bangladesh will be the site of many climate change impacts – from rising seas to river flooding and migration – and it has much to teach the rest of the world about building resilience to those growing pressures.

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