Bangladesh is located in a low-lying delta, formed by the dense network of the distributaries of the mighty Ganges, the Brahmaputra and the Meghna, between the Himalayas and the Bay of Bengal. The total land area is 147,570 sq. km and consists mostly of low and flat land, with some hilly areas in the northeast and southeast. A network of more than 230 major rivers and their tributaries crisscrosses the country. With an average elevation of 4 to 5 meters above mean sea level (MSL), nearly a third of the country is susceptible to tidal inundation and nearly 70% gets flooded during heavy monsoons. About 10% of the country is only 1 meter above the mean sea level, and one-third is under tidal excursions.
Bangladesh has a population of about 150 million and Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of US$ 67.7 billion per annum. With over 1000 people per sq. km. the country has one of the highest population densities in the world. Poverty has declined from 57% of the population in 1990 to 40% in 2005 ; however, around 56 million people are still living below the poverty line. Infant mortality has declined steadily from 92 per thousand live births in 1992 to 53 in 2002. Similarly, the under-five mortality rate (U5MR) has declined from 144 per thousand live births in 1990 to 76 in 2002. Inadequate power and gas supplies are a major constraint to growth. Only 47% of households have an electricity connection. In addition, Bangladesh is one of the most vulnerable countries in the world to natural calamities like cyclones and floods - 60% of the worldwide deaths caused by cyclones in the last 20 years occurred in Bangladesh.
The Bangladeshi economy is based predominantly on agriculture, forestry, and fishing, though recently it has diversified to include manufacturing. Manufacturing contributes more than agriculture to the national income, steadily increasing its percentage of GDP. Agriculture, however, is still crucial as it supports a large number of people and most other sectors (like energy) or activities depend on it ? either for processing its products or for servicing it. Overall, climate change is expected to decrease agricultural GDP by 3.1 percent each year—a cumulative $36 billion in lost value-added for the period 2005-2050.
Selected Indicators for Impacts and Vulnerabilities