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Gobeshona 6: Climate Change and Chittagong Hill Tracts

Manusher Jonno Foundation on the impact of climate change in the Chittagong Hill Tracts.

This parallel session titled “Climate Change and Chittagong Hill Tracts” was hosted by Manusher Jonno Foundation at Gobeshona 6 Conference, a four-day conference organized by the International Centre for Climate Change And Development (ICCCAD) at Independent University, Bangladesh (IUB) today. The presenters or the panelist of this session were Ms. Shaheen Anam, Executive Director MJF: Welcome address, Ms.Banasree Mitra Neogi, Gender Advisor, MJF: Project Overview, Dr. S. N. M. Azizul Hoque, Assistant professor IUB, Ms. Farhana Hafiz, Gender Mainstreaming Analyst, UN women: Panel Discussion, Dr.Saleemul Huq, Director, International Centre for Climate Change and Development: Panel Discussion. 

Ms. Shaheen Alam inaurgurated the session, she introduced the panelists and gave a short briefing about Manusher Jonno Foundation (MJF),a non-government and non-profit organization that works with local organizations to improve the well-being of poor and marginalized communities, through increasing their voices. It is a foundation to help them realize their fundamental rights. It is one of the largest national non-governmental organizations in Bangladesh. It is built to support human rights and good governance. She concluded that MJF is working hard to recognize the problems of these ethnic communities and upgrade their livelihood. 

Ms. Banasree Mitra Neogi professed about the ongoing project, which is identifying the ethnic groups and their relationship with climate changes. These ethnic groups are very vulnerable because they are restricted in terms of health, education and need holistic development. For example: In the Chittagong hill tracts many ethnic people are being affected because of deforestation that resulted in Landslides. She concluded that development resources and management is very important in terms of taking the parameters adapting to climate changes.

The next presenter was Mr. Orishman Dutta, he discussed the research about Climate Change trends, situation and impacts in Chittagong Hill Tracts of Bangladesh. He discussed the objectives of his project which were: 

1.Analysing the current climatic situation and trends in the Chittagong Hill Tracts

2.Exploring climate change impacts on everyday life and livelihoods

3. Understanding climate induced changes in agricultural practices

4 .Assessing communities’ potential exposure to climate change induced risks and vulnerabilities given economic, social and cultural diversity within the CHT.

The impacts of Climate Change in that area mostly resulted in Landslides, Soil Erosion, Floods, Cyclones and Droughts. These climate changes caused a lot of difficulties for the people in that area with increased diseases, Financial Loss, Communication loss, Decreased land fertility and Loss of infrastructure. The research also included the perception of the people about climate change, the difficulties they faced due to these changes. He concluded his speech with risk reduction measures, long term and short term management and recommendations to reduce and adapt to these situations.

Ms. Farhana Hafiz added some suggestions that should be included in this project. She pointed out that as these hazardous climate changes are occurring she wanted to know especially about the condition of the women population. She quoted that “Women are more vulnerable in these kinds of situations. Due to climate change the death toll of women has increased.” She informed some key issues or problems that women’s mobility is disrupted due to hazardous climate change, there is less accessibility to products,communication is affected. She lastly professed that it’s very important to acquire in depth details about women’s perception and the difficulties they are facing.

The last presenter was Azizul Hoque; his project was about predicting landslides in Chittagong Hill Tract Zones. Those zones are most vulnerable due to heavy rainfall and people there are suffering the most. In Manikchari area due to landslides 152 people have died. He researched by locating specific coordinates of the locations through Remote Sensing Technology and then identifying the exact locations. This research was initially dedicated to alert the people in those areas so that appropriate measures can be taken and reduce destruction. He concluded by saying that this research is ongoing and more improvements will be conducted to help these people.

Dr. Saleemul Huq lastly shared some thoughts about these topics and said “Identification of the most vulnerable people should be prioritized, we need to think about them first”                      

He said that we should do something about them, that “We need to move from awareness to the action research phase.”   

Farhana Akter Nitu is an Environmental Science and English Language Teaching (ELT) student at Independent University, Bangladesh.

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