"We have established a record of doing very complex things," he said. "In a traditional, conservative country, to make it acceptable to talk about birth control shows that we are capable of sustaining social change, if we have enough support."
He said it's important to him that Bangladesh's achievements be understood, and to avoid having his country labeled as an "eternal victim."
"You basically give up as soon as you label a country a victim. There's fatigue," Rahman said. "Bangladesh is a resilient country. We have shown the world that we can adapt, that we can confront things, that we are not just passive victims of disasters."
Sarder Shafiqul Alam, a research fellow at the Bangladesh Centre for Advanced Studies, said there's a larger picture to consider. Alam said he doesn't want the world to become so focused on helping countries cope that it ignores the need to reduce emissions. All the cyclone shelters in the world, he said, will only go so far.
"Our adaptation will not last very long," Alam said. "Adaptation has some limit."
Reprinted from Greenwire with permission from Environment & Energy Publishing, LLC. www.eenews.net, 202-628-6500