ADB study focuses on more challenges for Bangladesh
Bangladesh will face mounting challenge of resettling and rehabilitating the people displaced by climate change, says an Asian Development Bank study.
The country is already at high risk of catastrophic environmental hazards and floods from sea surges, river flow, rainfall and coastal and riverbank erosion that are likely to force more people from their home.
Those together with economic factors are causing rural-urban and international migration, said the study titled Climate Change and Migration in Asia and the Pacific finalised in 2011 and to be released soon.
The existing patterns include rural-urban migration, mainly to the mega cities, cross-border migration to India, migration of semi-skilled labourers to the Southeast Asian and Middle East Asian countries and well-educated peoples’ migration to the developed countries.
“Greater frequency and intensity of changes in the climatic situations at the regional and local level may facilitate the development of new semi-urban areas that will provide resettlement options to displaced populations,” the ADB study said.
The study said inundation due to sea-level rise, landlessness and loss of livelihood will encourage increased migration from both rural and other densely populated urban regions such as Dhaka and Chittagong to these new urban centres.
Careful planning and infrastructure development at the institutional level may further encourage displaced communities to settle in these new semi-urban areas rather than exacerbate socioeconomic and environmental pressure on existing mega cities.
Increasing drying in winters and resulting water stress for agriculture as well as home use will further increase internal displacement, primarily from rural to urban regions.
“The increasing likelihood and impact of abnormal floods, when combined with high population growth, weak governance structures, and widespread poverty, could worsen the socioeconomic situation in Bangladesh and undermine the capacity of communities to adapt,” the study said.
In addition, the emigration of relatively well-educated or wealthy Bangladeshis has been blamed for undermining the nation’s development. That brain drain, generally to more-developed counties, combined with perceptions of environmental risk, is likely to exacerbate that trend.
The ADB study said there might be particular cases where international resettlement will be necessary, for example where low-lying islands states do not offer any potential resettlement sites within national boundaries.
Given the specific challenges of international forced migration due to climate change, it is important to have in place the international institutional capacity, systems of governance, funding arrangements, and programmes to facilitate and support development of mobility as an adaptation and, in extreme cases, esettlement, said the study.