Unraveling the Nexus of Climate Migration and Human Security

Navigating Climate Migration in Bangladesh

The peril of climate change looms large over Bangladesh, amplifying the frequency and severity of natural disasters while spurring significant internal migration. With its massive population of 170 million, Bangladesh finds itself increasingly vulnerable to climate-induced calamities like rising sea levels and extreme weather events. This vulnerability fuels a surge in internal migration, propelling the country towards rapid urbanization. Recent studies indicate that Bangladesh could witness a surge in domestic mass migration prompted by climate change, underscoring the urgent need for proactive government intervention. As climate-driven migration reshapes population dynamics, it is crucial to comprehend its impact on urban development and societal structures, laying the foundation for sustainable progress.

Is Bangladesh Prepared to Help Climate Migrants Adapt?

Migration, often viewed as a failure of adaptation, presents a critical challenge for Bangladesh in the face of climate change. Despite the recognition of migration as a key component of climate vulnerability and hazards in national strategies such as the NAPA and BCCSAP, concrete policies addressing the issue remain lacking. While the Disaster Management Act of 2012 mandates the relocation of affected individuals, the absence of comprehensive measures leaves climate migrants without adequate support. With the inevitability of increased migration due to climate change, Bangladesh must pivot towards transformative adaptation strategies that empower migrants and mitigate poverty. By integrating migration into broader resilience frameworks and collaborating with stakeholders, including NGOs and civil society groups, the government can foster climate-adaptive strategies tailored to local contexts. As Bangladesh navigates the complexities of climate-induced migration, proactive measures are essential to ensure the well-being and security of vulnerable populations.

Navigating Urban Climate Migration Challenges

Urban local governments face a daunting task in grappling with the intricacies of climate migration. As discussed in Diplomats Magazine, when local authorities fail to effectively address environmental threats, vulnerable households often resort to migrating to urban areas in search of refuge. However, this influx places immense strain on city infrastructure and resources. Illegal land occupation further complicates matters, exacerbating socio-economic disparities. Impoverished climate migrants, settling in congested neighborhoods, add to the complexity of urban management. Accommodating this influx while ensuring access to essential services poses a significant challenge. Compounded by the inadequacies of existing urban structures in countries like Bangladesh, addressing the plight of migrants and host communities becomes even more urgent. Innovative strategies are essential as urbanization and climate migration converge, demanding holistic solutions to navigate these complex urban challenges.

Empowering Urban Governance for Migrant Adaptation

Dhaka, Bangladesh’s bustling capital, serves as both an economic hub and a battleground against various socio-economic challenges, including poverty, public health threats, and the looming specter of flooding. Each year, Dhaka witnesses an influx of approximately 400,000 low-income migrants, driven by a myriad of factors, from climate-induced calamities to economic hardships. Yet, this migration often symbolizes a stark failure in adaptation, signaling desperate attempts to escape perilous conditions. While governance in Bangladesh strives to address these issues through development planning, social initiatives, and disaster preparedness, the plight of disaster-induced migrants remains largely marginalized. Despite government efforts to provide aid and support, social security mechanisms fall short of meeting the dire needs of catastrophe victims and climate refugees, leaving them in vulnerable positions.

People, especially migrants and disaster victims, are struggling as a result of unemployment, health risks, population expansion, and exorbitant prices for necessities. One of the deciding elements for potential migrants’ future is their ability to make a living in a particular climate and location. In Dhaka city’s slums and squatter settlements, more than 3 million people reside with scant access to utilities. The low-income segment of people in Dhaka city is housed in slums and squatter settlements.

Conflict (quarrel, clash, brawl) among squatters and residents of slums is a common occurrence. Noise and violence are produced as a result, disturbing city inhabitants, especially those who live nearby, as well as office employees and schoolchildren. In addition, a significant portion of slum dwellers engages in prostitution, drug trafficking, hijacking, mugging, etc. The social and cultural environments of the city are at risk from these actions.

Empowering Urban Local Government for Climate Adaptation

People, especially migrants and disaster victims, are struggling as a result of unemployment, health risks, population expansion, and exorbitant prices for necessities. One of the deciding elements for potential migrants’ future is their ability to make a living in a particular climate and location. In Dhaka city’s slums and squatter settlements, more than 3 million people reside with scant access to utilities. The low-income segment of people in Dhaka city is housed in slums and squatter settlements.

Conflict (quarrel, clash, brawl) among squatters and residents of slums is a common occurrence. Noise and violence are produced as a result, disturbing city inhabitants, especially those who live nearby, as well as office employees and schoolchildren. In addition, a significant portion of slum dwellers engages in prostitution, drug trafficking, hijacking, mugging, etc. The social and cultural environments of the city are at risk from these actions.

Climate Migration: A Barrier to Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

The influence of climate change-induced migration (CCM) on sustainable development and achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) is still a developing and understudied problem. The surge in migration caused by natural catastrophes has garnered much attention in recent years, both in the media and the political realm. In the near term, the major problem associated with displacement induced by natural catastrophes is humanitarian; in the long run, policymakers must ensure a sustainable future for the afflicted communities.

Bangladesh is most badly impacted by the effects of climate change. Natural calamities and minor environmental changes jeopardize the livelihoods of many Bangladeshi farmers. Migration is a way of adapting to these changes. Climate change may thus influence internal migration trends in Bangladesh, while large-scale international movements of Bangladeshis are unlikely.

Forging Partnerships for Climate Resilience: A Multi-Stakeholder Approach in Dhaka

It is crucial to investigate how shifting environmental conditions influence people’s decisions to migrate as the need for discovering suitable adaption pathways for climate change grows increasingly pressing. In addition, the government must assume responsibility for providing social security for the migrant population living in slums so that they can coexist peacefully and prevent social upheaval.

To be able to support the flux of forced climate migrants at the international and national levels, institutions must be strengthened or created, and the idea of catastrophe and climate-induced migration must be developed. At the national level, this could entail bolstering and encouraging various ministries to collaborate (such as the Ministries of Home Affairs, Environment and Forest, Social Welfare, and Disaster Management, among others) in order to address the problem jointly and incorporate a multidimensional array of competencies and viewpoints.

As a matter of human security, climate change must be prioritised. In order to better understand how migration and urbanisation trends will be impacted by climate and environmental change and to incorporate these considerations in urban planning and important sectoral policies, the UN and the development partners based in Dhaka must support the Dhaka city government. They must help local governments create inclusive urban policies and guide and speed up local, national, regional, and global responses to climate change and urban migration.

Envisioning the Impact: Anticipated Outcomes of Research in Dhaka on Climate Migration and Human Security

The research I am currently undertaking will illustrate the migration scenario in urban areas, the adaptation approach, and strategies of climate-induced migrants in the urban areas due to devastating natural disasters like cyclones, floods, storm surges, droughts, and salinity intrusion etc., from the various regions of Bangladesh. I hope, this research will provide information about nature of impacts of natural disaster on life and livelihood of migrant’s people, causes, factors influencing and patterns of migration due to climate-induced disasters, economic and social aspects of climate-induced migration, copping and adaptation strategies of the migrant etc.

This research will create new opportunities for further research for researchers, practitioners, academicians, and planners in the field of climate change, natural and migration in climate change-induced natural disasters, migration in urban settings, and adaptation strategies with the adverse situation caused by climate change. The scope also extends to influence national policies by suggesting future action needs to address the displacement and migration issue with a broader socio-political, economic and environmental aspect.

Written by-

Professor Dr. Mohammad Tarikul Islam
Department of Government and Politics at Jahangirnagar University, Bangladesh and visiting scholar at Oxford, Cambridge, Harvard and SOAS.

 

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