Climate Change, Cross border Migration and Regional Conflicts : Risks and Strategies for Bangladesh - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

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Climate Change, Cross border Migration and Regional Conflicts : Risks and Strategies for Bangladesh PowerPoint Presentation
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Climate Change, Cross border Migration and Regional Conflicts : Risks and Strategies for Bangladesh

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  1. Climate Change, Cross border Migration and Regional Conflicts : Risks and Strategies for Bangladesh Mohammad Zaman, PhD Social Policy/Development Specialist & Executive Director, Bangladesh Calling for Climate Justice

  2. Climate Change – Its Impacts • Climate change is one of the greatest environmental,social and economic threats of our time • No debates – it is over and real • It is already happening • Glaciers are melting • Sea level is rising • Cyclones, tornados, floods, droughts are becoming more frequent and intense as well • Many say that climate change will get worse before it gets better

  3. Climate Change is a Development Issue • Developing countries are already being affected • The poorest stands to suffer the earliest and the most • MDG gains are at risks

  4. Climate Change and the South • Differential Impacts – felt and perceived differently by people • Europeans/North American may find ski holidays a thing of the past • People in the South – those in Bangladesh, Maldives, Sri Lanka and many coastal/low lying island nations are on the brink of disasters

  5. Climate Change and the South • Island countries like • Maldives, • Solomon Island, • Tuvalu, and • Kiribati are shopping for land in Australia/New Zealand to move all of their people • Sea level rise will inundate and displace millions of people in the future • It is the poor/vulnerable who are at great risks everywhere • Changing climate is changing our lives – perhaps for ever!

  6. Developing Countries Most At Risk: 6 Climate Threats Low Income Source: World Bank Middle Income

  7. Bangladesh: Climate Change Scenario • Bangladesh is on the brink of disaster • Most densely populated deltaic country with low lying coastal zone • About 23%of the country’s area is vulnerable due to sea level rise • If the water level rises by one meter, 30 million people will be displaced by 2030

  8. Bangladesh: Climate Change Scenario • Northwest will be affected by drought – indeed, already is • Agricultural production will reduce by 40% by 2050 – impact on food security • Fishery and forestry will be affected • Wide ranging adverse impacts on human health and well-being • A serious challenge to development and poverty reduction

  9. How to Contain this Common Crisis? • Provided a broad overview of the impacts of climate change on nearly all aspects of life in Bangladesh • Bangladesh can’t run away – have to live with it – adapt as necessary • Adaptation won’t be cheap – involves housing, shelter, alternative livelihood, greener development options • Focus on one important aspect • Displacement, migration – including cross-border migration • Raise awareness about “environmental” migrants or “climate refugees” in the region • How and why a new approach to cross-border/international migration is necessary • Develop a framework for recognition of environmental migrants

  10. Climate Change and Migration Issues • Debates on terminology/definitions of “internally displaced people”, “environmental” or “climate” refugee • Can environmental factors be recognized as a root cause of migration? • Should climate change induced migration be recognized? • Who is responsible for resettlement of environmentally displaced people? • New interest among scholars on environmental induced migration, particularly associated with climate change

  11. Some Estimates of Displacement • In Bangladesh, 12-15 million people have been displaced by flood and erosion in recent decades (Vedantam 2009) • In Philippines, over 4 million people have moved from lowlands to highlands as a result of deforestation ((Vedantam 2009) • 162 million people at risks due to sea level rise by 2050 (Myers 2002) • An estimated 200 million people will become permanent “climate refugees” by 2050 (Stern 2006) • 50 million environmentally displaced people by 2010 (UNFCC 2007) • These numbers are simply staggering • IPCC report states: “The greatest single impact of climate change may be on human migration.”

  12. Key Elements of Environment/Climate Migrant or Refugees • Involuntary nature • Sudden displacement • Lack of preparation • No resources • People displaced are poor and need urgent support and assistance

  13. Environmental Factors – Important Trigger • Despite the debate and conceptual fuzziness over definitions – it is important to remember that • Environmental factors are an important trigger • Widespread and recurrent displacement • Homeless and often unable to return • No confusion on the “risks” of climate change migrants • We need to understand that the world is facing major environmental changes • Disasters like flood, cyclone might become the norm and not exception • It only rational to consider environmental or climate refugees as migrants

  14. Climate-induced Displacement and Migration in Bangladesh • Over 100,000 people are displaced by riverbank erosion • Floods and droughts make many more • Most displaced migrate internally • Dhaka - already overpopulated (12 million) is the major destination

  15. Climate-induced Displacement and Migration in Bangladesh • Most migrants end up in slums – currently over 40% of the city population • No infrastructure or resources to support millions of climate-induced refugees annually • By 2030 – Dhaka will have 23 million, second largest in the world • The poor and the vulnerable are subjected to further social and economic distress and deprivation

  16. Cross border Migration and Responses • Many climate-induced displaced families from the border areas have moved to India, Nepal, often to Burma • This cross border movement has largely been influenced by • Proximity to border • Easy crossing (at night by agents) • Social network and historical connection – most migrants know some one at the destinations • Land availability (although very marginal, in chars - often uncultivable in remote areas, but provides a living) • Cross border migration to India has become a big political issues

  17. Cross border Migration and Responses • India claims that there are millions of illegal Bangladeshis in India • Ongoing movements against “Bangladeshis” in Assam, Manipur and Arunachal Pradesh • India built border fences with Bangladesh despite opposition from Bangladesh • The climate-induced migrants are considered “illegal” eco-migrant • Political tensions caused by cross border migration • Further increase in “illegal” migration will surely lead to conflicts across international borders

  18. Climate Change and SAARC • In July 2008, SAARC established a Committee to work on climate change mitigations and capacity building • To date, no attention to environmental impacts on cross border migration, climate refugees • SARRC should work together to understand the cause-effects and dynamics of cross border migration • Raising awareness of environmental migration in SAARC work • Bangladesh should raise this due to past history of migration

  19. Is Migration a Solution? • Internal migration to urban areas will be predominant • Cross border regional migration will likely continue • International migration may slowly rise • Ultimately, migration is not the solution – can’t move the country • Adaptation and local capacity building – disaster management, evacuation, warning, shelter, alternative livelihoods – are way forward

  20. Conclusions • Need to recognize migration or population mobility as one of the adaptive mechanisms to climate change • Enhancing awareness of environmental migration regionally and internationally • Need for further understanding of environmental or climate migrant issues • International/UN bodies should develop framework for recognition of environmental or climate migrants.