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Gobeshona 6: Climate Change and Migration

ICCCAD and ULAB discuss the impacts of Climate Change on Migration

The third parallel session of day 3 of the four-day conference Gobeshona 6 by the International Centre for Climate Change and Development (ICCCAD) was held at Independent University, Bangladesh. The session was titled ‘’ Climate Change and Migration’’ and was hosted by ICCCAD and ULAB. The respective Chair of the session was Dr. Kamal Uddin Ahamed, Member, National Human Rights Commission Bangladesh. And the presenters were Ms. Prianka Dutta, Researcher; Ms. Bashundhara Tripathi Furlong, ULAB;  Dr. Feisal Ahmed and Mr. Istiakh Ahamed from ICCCAD; Mr.Md Shamsuddoha Chief Executive- CPRD; Mr. Abul Qayyum, Adjunct Professor of NSU.

The first speaker of the session was Ms. Prianka, introduced herself and gave a presentation about her research about Climate Induced Migrants of Chittagong City, Bangladesh. She spoke about migrants as a great impact and globally discussed issues like, Bangladesh, Tuvalu, Maldives, Vietnam are at great risk. She said that Bangladesh is the 5th most climate vulnerable country which increases the migrants to the urban cities temporarily and permanently and increases city population growth particularly in Dhaka and Chittagong and also unplanned urbanization. She defined that people who lost their traditional habitat and economical sources due to natural disaster are the climate induced migrants. She researched in two places in Chittagong Sundip Colony and Bastuhara Colony. These two colonies have been established by climate migrate people basically climate induced migrants by cutting down trees and filling the canals. They are adapting to livelihood, housing and they are also in fear of Eviction. The migrants had a statement for the eviction that,’’ If Rohingya can get shelter in Bangladesh why not us? We are the citizen of Bangladesh so Government should think about us.’’ She supports the migrants by saying that urbanization is not their fault but there should be some policies regarding their resettlement and securing economic life instead of blaming them.

Next speaker Ms. Basundhara spoke about her research findings on the climate crisis and mobility. Her area of study was South West Bangladesh, Khulna district, Koyra upazila. She spoke that human mobility is a complex, multifaceted phenomenon. In 1990 the IPCC noted that the greatest single impact of climate change might be on human migration. She related economic structure linked with climate with economic structure. She described the reason for migration and why social networks are important. Human mobility, climate change and the environment are interrelated. She said that it’s uncountable how many will migrate due to climate change but the focus should be on why they will migrate, who will remain and how they continue their lives.

Following Mr. Ishtiakh and Dr. Feisal Ahmed, both presented their research project and their research topic was, Regional Livable Cities of Bangladesh. They selected regional cities because they are under research, having a population under 500. They selected two cities of Noapara, Jessore and Mongla, Chittagong. They did 200 survey, storytelling workshops in those cities. They worked with university students to build their capacity and worked with the local people doing workshops, by acting plays of problems to the people. They formed 8 conceptual framing for livability. But people in those areas basically focus on Housing and Environment, Safety and Security.

Mr. Md. Shahabuddin spoke about how all disasters might not be linked with climate change. Displacement is involuntary but migration is. He said that disaster is primary, but food, water etc. all the issue is linked with climate change. River erosion people always stay near the river because of asset concerns. He demanded that climate change migrants should get their local securities as other urban people.     

Mr. Abul Qayyum spoke about the agreement and disagreed about the issue of climate change all over the world, but the climate is changing in our country Bangladesh. The most vulnerable impact is happening in life and livelihood. Climate change or other factors or drives of migration. Facilities and livelihood are affected. Climate change is the dominant factor, decision and government policy makers have to take some steps and actions such as to improve the coastal and river erosion areas, to make them stay in their place of origin. He spoke to treat the affected people as a human being for their displacement. Our quality of life can also be hampered.  

And last but not least the respective chair Dr. Kamal talked about all the panelists’ research and  spoke about the disaster management system in Bangladesh. He raised a statement about whether the disaster is natural or not. Adverse impact of climate change is, migrant people are aware of climate change, global warming etc. He wanted government support for planned migration, urbanization to build in every city to make the migrants attracted not only in Dhaka city.

Sameera Anowar is an Environmental Science student at the Independent University, Bangladesh

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