Bangladesh's Second National Communication - In Progress

Introduction

The creation of a National Communication offers countries the opportunity to contribute with technically sound studies and information that can be used for designing mitigation and adaptation measures, and project proposals that can and will help increase their resilience to the impacts of climate change. Activities generally include: V&A assessments, Greenhouse Gas Inventory preparation, Mitigation Analysis or Education, and awareness raising activities. The ultimate goal is the integration of climate change considerations into relevant social, economic and environmental policies and actions.

Bangladesh remains one of the world’s poorest and most densely populated countries despite its considerable development gains in the past several decades, including in the areas of gender parity, education, and infant and maternal health.  Low economic strength, inadequate infrastructure, low level of social development, lack of institutional capacity, and a higher dependency on the natural resource base makes Bangladesh particularly vulnerable to climate stimuli (including both variability as well as extreme events). Recognizing these vulnerabilities, Bangladesh has developed many adaptation measures to address adverse effects of climate change based on existing coping mechanisms and practices.
 
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Project Details

Bangladesh remains one of the world’s poorest and most densely populated countries despite its considerable development gains in the past several decades, including in the areas of gender parity, education, and infant and maternal health (MEF, 2009).  Low economic strength, inadequate infrastructure, low level of social development, lack of institutional capacity, and a higher dependency on the natural resource base makes Bangladesh particularly vulnerable to climate stimuli (including both variability as well as extreme events). Recognizing these vulnerabilities, Bangladesh has developed many adaptation measures to address adverse effects of climate change based on existing coping mechanisms and practices.

Bangladesh, except for the hilly regions in the northeast and southeast and terrace land in northwest and central zones, is one of the largest deltas in the world, formed by the dense network of the distributaries of the mighty rivers namely the Ganges, the Brahmaputra and the Meghna. The country is located between 20°34’ to 26°38’ north latitude and 88°01’ to 92°42’ east longitude. The total land area is 147,570 sq. km. and consists mostly of low and flat land. A network of more than 230 major rivers with their tributaries and distributaries crisscross the country. It has a population of about 131 million (BBS, 2002) with very low per capita Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of US$ 351 per annum (UNDP, 2004). Of this, just about a quarter was in the urban areas including the metropolitan cities . The country’s economy is primarily agricultural, and the majority of the population depends on agriculture for their livelihoods(USDS, 2010). The country’s main crops are rice and jute, along with maize, vegetables and tea.
 
Population growth quickened in the sixties and the seventies. The inter-census growth rates had been rising and then falling over the last four decades or so. The falling population growth rate had been possible due to a sharp decline in the total fertility rate which had fallen from 6.3 per woman of reproductive age (15-49) in 1975 to 3.0 by 2004 (NIPORT and Mitra and Associate: 2005). For the future under the assumed rates for this report, the expected population for the year 2030 is 186 million, 61 million in the urban and the rest 125 million in the rural areas. Most people, live in the rural areas. On the other hand, urbanization is growing fast in the country. Between 1961 and 1974, the rate of growth in urban population had been 6.7 % per annum. Between 1974 and 1981 it shot up further to 10.7 % per annum. Since then the rate has fallen, but between 1991 and 2001 it was 3.15 % which is just double the rate of overall population growth. 
 
Strategy and Actors

Although Bangladesh is among the least developed countries in the world, the country has developed good adaptation approaches, especially in the field of disaster management. Bangladesh has always had to fight floods and other natural disasters; therefore, despite limited resources it has developed a comprehensive system in order to handle these threats. However, unlike countries such as the Netherlands, Bangladesh cannot protect the whole population from the consequences of climate change. The goal is rather to minimize the impacts on people and the economy. The most important natural disaster program is the Comprehensive Disaster Management Programme (CDMP), initiated by the government in 2003. CDMP is a comprehensive program that aims to limit the long-term risks and to build operative capacities in the field of disaster control. It also deals with many of the main adaptation challenges. The program is supported both by UNDP and by the British development organization Department for International Development (DFID). The CDMP also includes central guidelines and strategies for the Ministry of Food and Disaster Management (MoFDM), established in 2003. In addition to the steering committee, which is the central decision-making body, there is the Program, Policy and Partnership Development Unit (PPPDU), tasked with coordinating the different actors involved, as well as with mainstreaming disaster control and development policy. The CDMP is complemented by UNDP’s Participatory Disaster Management Programme (PDMP), which also serves other Asian countries.

In Bangladesh, the program targets the most urgent measures with a short-term implementation horizon. It is an action- and project-based addition to CDMP’s strategy, focusing on simple preventive measures and on handling the consequences of natural disasters. Action plans are developed in cooperation with the most important stakeholders in the region. Other measures include the training of catastrophe management staff, the implementation of local risk reduction concepts, and the establishment of early warning systems. In 2005, Bangladesh also developed a National Adaptation Programme of Action (NAPA) within the framework of the UNFCCC. The preparation process was handled by a steering committee of representatives of the most important ministries. The Ministry of Environment and Forest (MoEF) leads the project. During the development of the plan, strategy workshops with affected stakeholders were organized, and NGOs and academics were involved in the process. The plan identifies the most important vulnerabilities, and recommends a comprehensive catalog of prioritized measures. The 15 most important measures are accompanied by a specific project.

Sources:

  • Dr. Hans-Peter Meister, I. K., Martina Richwein, Wilson Rickerson, Chad Laurent.
  • Floating Houses and Mosquito Nets: Emerging Climate Change Adaptation Strategies Around the World.
  • Boston: Meister Consultants Group. p. 67-69._ For more detailed information and references refer to [Floating Houses - Full Report](http://files.mc-group.com/clst/Study%20Climate%20Change%20Adaption.pdf).
Adaptation Needs and Priorities
 
Bangladesh’s current climate is monsoonal and subtropical, and the country experiences seasonal rainfall, warm temperatures and high humidity. Bangladesh’s marshy coast is located at the tip of the northern Indian Ocean, an area that is susceptible to strong cyclonic storms and tidal waves; nearly annually the country experiences  floods, cyclones, tornadoes and tidal bores, caused in part by the country’s unique geography (CIF, 2010). With an average elevation of four to five meters above sea level, approximately one-third of the country is prone to tidal inundation, and during monsoons up to 70 per cent of the country becomes flooded (CIF, 2010). 
 
Recent data indicates that Bangladesh’s temperature has increased during the monsoon season, which lasts from June through to August (MEF, 2005). The country is experiencing the impacts  of a warmer climate; summers are growing hotter, monsoon seasons are becoming more irregular, and heavy rainfall is occurring over short periods (CIF, 2010). The country’s National Adaptation Programme of Action (NAPA) indicates there is also evidence of greater saline intrusion in coastal zones. 
 
Bangladesh is generally recognized as the country most at risk due to climate change, particularly to the effects of sea-level rise (CIF, 2010; MEF, 2010). The country is likely to experience more frequent and severe tropical cyclones, heavier and more erratic rainfall, higher river flows, erosion of river banks, melting of Himalayan glaciers, and sea level rise (MEF, 2009). By 2050, 70 million people could be affected annually by floods, 8 million by droughts, and up to 8 per cent of low-lying lands may be under water due to rising sea levels. Climate projections using older and newer versions of General Circulation Models have revealed that the water related impacts of climate change in Bangladesh are likely to  be the most severe challenges the country faces (MEF, 2005). These impacts include the possibility of drought during winter—the dry season—and coastal and riverine flooding. A number of studies indicate the coastal zone impacts will be severe, given the combined effects of sea level rise, subsidence, changes in upstream river discharge and erosion of coastal embankments (MEF, 2005). Moreover, most of the coastal population will face increasingly intense cyclones and tidal surges along with increasing salinity in water and soil.
 
In physical and economic terms, climate change is expected to severely impact Bangladesh’s: agricultural crops, fisheries and livestock (food security); water resources (in- and off-stream availability, navigation); health (malnutrition, frequent outbreak of vector borne diseases); infrastructure (coastal and inland embankments, road and drainage systems); and forests (especially the Sundarbans) and biodiversity (MEF, 2005). Moreover, urban areas—which are extremely  densely populated and largely unplanned—are likely to face incidences of severe water logging due to poor drainage conditions and possible leakage through or breach of defensive levees. 
 
The prospect of large scale relocation of people from coastal districts (due to cyclones, inundation and increased salinity) to other parts of Bangladesh and abroad is considered by some as a serious security concern. There are 19 coastal districts in Bangladesh with a population of close to 40 million. Should adaptation measures in the coastal belt fail, around 10 to 15 per cent of this population may become displaced.
 
The Bangladesh Climate Change Action Plan (BCCAP), updated in 2009, provides a review of the country’s adaptation needs by priority area, as summarized below: 
 
Food security, social protection and health.  Priority actions include: 
 
  • Increase resilience of most  vulnerable groups through community-level adaptation, diversification of livelihoods, improved access to services and social protection schemes (e.g. insurance);Develop climate resilient cropping systems (including agricultural research), as well as fisheries and livestock systems to ensure local and national food security;
  • Implement surveillance systems for existing and new disease risks and to ensure health systems are poised to meet future demands; and
  • Implement drinking water and sanitation programs in areas at risk from climate change, including coastal zones and other flood- and drought-prone areas.
Comprehensive disaster management.  Priority actions include:
  • Improve the government’s and civil society’s ability to manage natural disasters and ensure that effective policies, laws, and regulations are in place;
  • Enhance community-based adaptation programs and ensure they are in place in disaster prone parts of the country; and
  • Enhance cyclone, storm surge, and flood early-warning systems. 
  • Infrastructure  Repair existing infrastructure  – including coastal embankments, river embankments, and drainage systems  – to ensure effective operation and maintenance systems; 
  • Plan, design and construct needed new infrastructure, including cyclone shelters, coastal and river embankments, water management systems, urban drainage systems, etc.; and
  • Undertake strategic planning of future infrastructure needs, and take into account (a) patterns of urbanization and socioeconomic development; and (b) the changing hydrology of the country.

Research and knowledge management.  Actions include:

  • Improve climate change modeling scenarios for Bangladesh by applying methodologies at the regional and national levels;
  • Model the likely hydrological impacts of climate change in the Ganges-Brahmaputra-Meghna system in order to assess future system discharges and river levels to feed into flood protection embankment measures;
  • Monitor and research the impacts of climate change on ecosystems and biodiversity; 
  • Analyze the impacts of climate change on Bangladesh’s macro-economy as well as key sectors; 
  • Research the linkages between climate change, poverty, health, and vulnerability in order to ascertain how the resilience of  the most vulnerable households may be improved; and 
  • Create a Centre for Research and Knowledge Management on Climate Change to ensure that Bangladesh has access to the most current ideas and technologies available globally. 
 
Capacity building and institutional strengthening
 
  • Revise all government policies to ensure they consider climate change and its impacts; 
  • Mainstream climate change considerations in national, sectoral, and spatial development planning; 
  • Build the capacity of key government ministries and agencies to move forward on climate change adaptation; 
  • Improve the capacity of the government to undertake international and regional negotiations on climate change; 
  • Build the capacity of government, civil society, and the private sector on carbon financing; and
  • Build the capacity for education and training of environmental refugees to ease migration to other countries and integration into new societies.  
 
National Level Policies and Strategic Documents
 
Awareness of the potential effects of climate change in Bangladesh occurred comparatively  earlier than many other LDCs, with knowledge of impacts existing in the academic community as early as the mid-1980s (Ayers, 2008). Throughout the 1990s, a number of prominent studies raised awareness of the impacts of climate change in the country, including  those by  the  Bangladesh Centre for Advanced Studies in 1994,Bangladesh Unnayan Parishad in 1994, and the Bangladesh Climate Change Country Studies Program in 1997 (Anwar, 1999), as well as a study published by the World Bank in 2000 entitled  “Bangladesh: Climate Change and Sustainable Development.” While the country has a long history of research on the effects of climate change, as well as a number of early climate change adaptation projects, studies note a lag between research and policy initiatives, which were not implemented until the 2000s (Ayers, 2008; Adaptation Knowledge Platform, 2010). 
 
However, given the country’s long history of dealing with climate related natural disasters, the Government of Bangladesh has invested over  US$10 billion over the past 30 years to make the country more resilient to extreme climate events. This process has included shifting from a response based approach to one characterized by emergency preparedness and risk mitigation (CIF, 2010). Bangladesh has established a Participatory Disaster Management Program that focuses on disaster management and prevention as well as adaptation to climate change. In addition, in 2003, the government established a Comprehensive Disaster Management Programme with donor support, aiming to refocus the government’s efforts towards disaster preparedness and risk reduction (EP, 2007).
 
The key policy framework for climate change action in Bangladesh is the  Bangladesh Climate Change Strategy and Action Plan (BCCSAP) completed in 2009, which supersedes its NAPA and various previous positions papers. All on-going and planned climate change adaptation efforts in Bangladesh are essentially about supporting the BCCSAP. It was  estimated that  US$5 billion would be required in the first five years to implement this Action Plan. Bangladesh, like most other least developed countries affected by climate change, will require external financial support to implement its planned actions under the BCCSAP without sacrificing other development priorities.
 
The BCCSAP identifies six pillars under which climate  change mitigation and adaptation will take place: (i) food security, social protection and health; (ii) comprehensive disaster management; (iii) infrastructure; (iv) research and knowledge management;  (v) mitigation and low carbon development; and, (vi) capacity building and institutional strengthening. Based on review of earlier national assessments, stakeholder consultations and expert opinions, a set of 44 priority actions to be undertaken in the next 10 years have been identified under these six pillars. Of these 44 priority actions, 34 are to support adaptation to climate change (see Table 1). As the BCCSAP is a “living document,” it will be reviewed and periodically updated by a review committee appointed by the Government of Bangladesh (GOB). As such, new priority actions may be added and present ones amended in future versions of this document.  As most of Bangladesh’s sectoral development policies and plans were drafted before the BCCSAP was prepared, climate change has yet to be integrated formally into them. For example, the National Water Management Plan of 2004 recognizes climate change as a potential threat, but it also identifies climate change as a knowledge gap area and calls for quantifying the risk associated with it. This need has been recognized as a priority in the Action Plan of the BCCSAP.
 
The GOB has designated the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MEF) as the “focal ministry” for providing coordination and the technical lead on all climate change related matters. MEF led the drafting of Bangladesh’s Initial National Communication, NAPA, various position papers and the BCCSAP.  In 2010, MEF established a new department—the Department of Climate Change—which will eventually take up the responsibility for coordinating climate change adaptation efforts in Bangladesh at the operational level.
 
Current Adaptation Action
 
There are a number of significant on-going and planned climate change interventions in Bangladesh that essentially are large-scale, national level programs. Each presently supports or would support many subsidiary projects. Many community level pilot projects (too numerous to be documented separately) are supported through these national programs. These programs are funded by the government and/or bilateral and multilateral development partners, including Australia, Denmark, European Union,  Germany, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland  and the United States,  as well as the Asian Development Bank (ADB), Global Environment Facility (GEF),  and World Bank. Ongoing projects are primarily focused on risk reduction, policy formulation and integration, and water, with fewer activities focused on agriculture, forestry, coastal zones, urban areas, and infrastructure. Table 3 lists the major adaptation projects in Bangladesh.
 
In addition, there are a few small-scale or region-specific projects supported by international NGOs and implemented by local partners. Many of these projects are primarily focused on strengthening the livelihoods of the poor and vulnerable, with elements of disaster risk reduction and adaptation to climate change added in. 
 
It should also be noted that the World Bank, ADB and a number of bilateral donors have large scale infrastructure projects—particularly in the southern and coastal districts of Bangladesh (e.g., on integrated water resources planning and management)—that will help in adapting to increased climatic variability and climate change. However, these projects were conceived solely as infrastructure development or rehabilitation projects and therefore are not included in this review. For example, relevant agencies of the GOB, with oversight from the World Bank, are undertaking the Emergency 2007 Cyclone Recovery and Reconstruction Project. The focus of this US$105-million, five year (2008-2013) project is restoration and recovery from the damage to livelihoods and infrastructure caused by Cyclone Sidr and to build long-term disaster preparedness. It has significant components focused on disaster risk reduction, water 
supply and sanitation and strengthening of local institutions and livelihoods that will contribute to the improving the adaptive capacity of the target communities.
 
Proposed Adaptation Action
 
Two main policy documents summarize proposed adaptation actions in Bangladesh—the NAPA and the BCCSAP. The most recent of these, the BCCSAP, lists proposed adaptation actions by the following categories: food security, social protection and health; comprehensive disaster management; infrastructure; research and knowledge management; and capacity  building and institutional strengthening. Bangladesh’s NAPA lists a number of priority adaptation activities, many of which are being addressed through ongoing adaptation projects.  As well, it is engaged in the development of some regional projects that have not yet received funding.  
 
Publication

Additional References

  • Ayers, Jessica M. and Saleemul Huq (2008). The Value of Linking Mitigation and Adaptation: A case study of Bangladesh. Environmental Management. Retrieved from http://pubs.iied.org/pdfs/G02370.pdf

 

Climate-Related Hazards Addressed: 
Level of Intervention: 
Primary Beneficiaries: 
Through improved identification of national circumstances, government agencies and other actors will increase their abilities to insulate at risk urban and rural populations from the adverse effects of climate change.
Implementing Agencies & Partnering Organizations: 
Government of Bangladesh
Bangladesh Ministry of Environment and Forests
Bangladesh Forest Department
Global Environment Facility (GEF)
United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)
Project Status: 
Under Implementation
Location: 
Urban
Funding Source: 
Financing Amount: 
420,000
Co-Financing Total: 
410,000

Key Results and Outputs

  • Sustainable development and the integration of climate change concerns into medium- and long-term planning
  • Inventories of anthropogenic emissions by sources and removals by sinks of greenhouse gases
  • Measures contributing to addressing climate change
  • Research and systematic observation
  • Climate change impacts, adaptation measures and response strategies
  • Education, training and public awareness

Output 1: National Circumstances

  • Analyze all available national and sectoral strategies, plans, programmes and studies relevant to the formulation of the SNC, including national development blueprints and poverty reduction strategy papers and strategies.
  • Collect and analyze information on specific needs and concerns arising from climate change impacts and/or the implications of the implementation of prioritized response measures.
  • Update the information base on national circumstances.          
  • Prepare a Draft National Circumstances chapter of the SNC based on outputs of the above activities.
  • Conduct consultation of stakeholders on the draft national circumstances chapter, and finalize as an input to the SNC by incorporating comments and feedbacks of stakeholders.
  • Workshops/consultations on National Circumstances  
  • Peer review of Output-1 Documents  
  • Incorporation of workshop comments & reviewers’ comments   

Output 2: GHG Inventory

  • Mobilize a core Inventory Team involving sector-specific experts.  
  • Develop a work programme for the GHG Inventory preparation.   
  • Familiarization with revised 1996 IPCC Guidelines etc.     
  • Technical Review of 1990 & 1994 inventories, identification of data gaps and areas requiring improvement.
  • Review and select methodologies, identify level of analysis for each sector      
  • Identify relevant national institutions from where activity data will be  gathered and build their capacity to collect/share activity data.
  • Review of reporting instructions for GHG inventory.     
  • Identification of priority GHGs, analyze key source categories (organizing a national workshop).
  • Collection of activity data and develop inventory datasets.
  • Review and select appropriate emission factors, and if necessary develop local emission factors.
  • Prepare GHG Inventory    
  • Build national capacity on inventory preparation by offering a training course for relevant institutional representatives.
  • Carry out uncertainty assessment of emission coefficients.
  • Conduct stakeholder consultation on relevant key emission coefficients & devise cost-effective modalities to collect/generate such data.
  • Organize capacity building exercises for CCC/DOE and other government personnel
  • Prepare draft National Emission Inventory Report    
  • Organize peer reviewing of GHG Emission Inventory   
  • Finalize Inventory by incorporation of review comments  

Output 3: Measures to Mitigate Climate Change

  • Review USCCCSP, ALGAS, INC and other documents to evaluate mitigation from various activities/ sectors.
  • Assess whether and how far the current policy regime has ensured GHG mitigation as an autonomous development.
  • Assess potential of the above mitigation measures against the emission inventory.
  • Identify individual mitigation options having potential for win-win scenario.
  • Organize training on mitigation options involving public and private sector representatives, specialists and experts.
  • Organize national stakeholder consultation and prioritize win-win mitigation options mentioned above.
  • Analyze top three win-win mitigation options.        
  • Identify institutional/policy barriers for each of these options and develop/propose mechanisms to remove such barriers.
  • Assess whether any of these measures have actual potential to become one or more CDM-able project and share with the DNA for CDM project formulation.
  • Develop a Draft National Mitigation Strategy, keeping in view the post-Kyoto deliberations
  • Organize awareness workshop on mitigation options   
  • Organize a NTAC Meeting for discussing mitigation issues/outcomes.
  • Arrange Peer reviewing of the Draft National Mitigation Strategy.   
  • Incorporate the findings of the  informed roundtable and finalize the  National Mitigation Strategy.

Output 4: Measures to facilitate Adaptation to CC

  • Provide an updated synthesis on vulnerability to climate change.       
  • Check consistency in national climatological datasets by using globally accepted models (such as Climdex) and consider correction measures as necessary.
  • Analyze national trends on climate parameters such as temperature, rainfall, degree of aridity, etc. on the basis of past observed datasets.
  • Pull national experiences on adaptation in various sectors and devise new programmes/ activities to reduce vulnerability at various tiers. 
  • Assess current institutional weaknesses including  those in the policy regime, which act barriers of mainstreaming adaptation, and devise mechanisms to overcome such identified barriers. 
  • Establish synergies between adaptation to climate change and UNCBD as well as UNCCD
  • Synthesize a Draft  National Adaptation Strategy, based on NAPA and other documents, and establish linkages among strategic measures and national poverty reduction strategy paper as well as MDGs. 
  • Conduct at least two National Consultations on the Draft  National
  • Adaptation Strategy for awareness creation among stakeholders, particularly among National Focal Points (NFP) and KnoCC members, and endorsement. 
  • Organize a NTAC Meeting for discussing adaptation modalities. 
  • Arrange Peer reviewing the Draft National Adaptation Strategy.  
  • Incorporate reviews and comments of NFPs and National Steering
  • Committee (NSC) as well as National Technical  Advisory Committee (NTAC) members towards finalize the National Adaptation Strategy.

Output 5: Other information considered relevant

  • Identify needs for awareness raising, capacity building, and education programmes on climate change issues. 
  • Preparation of a working paper on climate resilient development with particular focus on Bangladesh. 
  • Identify technology and financial resources needs
  • Formulate a sustainable institutional mechanism for collection of emission related activity data, institutional advancements made in view of mainstreaming/servicing adaptation, and good practices on adaptation. 
  • Assess constraints and gaps towards the development of SNC. 
  • Identify national needs for technology transfer and technology adoption for both mitigation and adaptation
  • Drafting of a Technical Report on constraints and gaps, and on assessment of technical, capacity and financial needs for institutionalizing the periodic preparation of National Communications in Future.
  • Arrange Peer Reviewing of the products developed.
  • Organize a stakeholder consultation. Invite/involve NTAC members.
  • Finalize the products.

Concluding Phase

  • Compile all the reports and draft the National Communication based on reports/documents being generated.
  • Organize a National Workshop on information/results dissemination.
  • Arrange peer reviewing of the Draft Final Report.
  • Finalize the National Communication (report).
  • Place the National Communication Report to the NSC for endorsement
  • Publish the National Communication and disseminate.

Monitoring and Evaluation

In 1992, countries joined an international treaty, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, to cooperatively consider what they could do to limit average global temperature increases and the resulting climate change, and to cope with whatever impacts were, by then, inevitable.

Parties to the Convention must submit national reports on implementation of the Convention to the Conference of the Parties (COP). The required contents of national communications and the timetable for their submission are different for Annex I and non-Annex I Parties. This is in accordance with the principle of "common but differentiated responsibilities" enshrined in the Convention.

The core elements of the national communications for both Annex I and non-Annex I Parties are information on emissions and removals of greenhouse gases (GHGs) and details of the activities a Party has undertaken to implement the Convention. National communications usually contain information on national circumstances, vulnerability assessment, financial resources and transfer of technology, and education, training and public awareness.

Since 1994, governments have invested significant time and resources in the preparation, collection and validation of data on GHG emissions, and the COP has made determined efforts to improve the quality and consistency of the data, which are ensured by established guidelines for reporting. Non-Annex I Parties receive financial and technical assistance in preparing their national communications, facilitated by the UNFCCC secretariat.

Contacts

UNDP
Yamil Bonduki
Coordinator, National Communications Support Programme (NCSP)
Government of Bangladesh
Moazzem Sheikh Hossain
Project Affiliate