The Bangladesh HLP Initiative

Bangladesh is one of the countries most vulnerable to climate displacement.

Every year, sudden and slow onset natural hazards lead to forced displacement across Bangladesh. Sea level rise, storm surges, tropical cyclones, drought, landslides, riverbank erosion, flooding, salinity and water logging all displace large numbers of people from their homes and lands. Between 2008 and 2014 it is estimated that 4.7 million people were displaced due to disasters in Bangladesh. Within Bangladesh it is the poorest and most marginalised who are the highest risk risk of climate displacement and, once displacement occurs, their vulnerability often increases.

As climate change leads to more frequent and intense natural hazards, it is expected that climate displacement will only increase in Bangladesh. The best estimates suggest that up to 18 million people may be displaced by sea level rise alone. The Government of Bangladesh has acknowledged that by 2050, one in every 7 people in Bangladesh will be displaced by climate change. The vast majority of current and future climate displacement is projected to occur within Bangladesh, and not across international borders.

Climate displacement poses clear and immediate development, humanitarian and human rights challenges to the Government of Bangladesh. The Government and all stakeholders must act to protect populations against displacement, to respond to the humanitarian needs of climate displaced persons and to resolve climate displacement in manner that ensures truly durable solutions.

Since 2011, the Bangladesh HLP Initiative – a joint partnership between Displacement Solutions and YPSA – has sought to ensure that climate displacement is effectively addressed in a rights based framework. This work emphasises that climate displaced persons in Bangladesh are especially vulnerable to violation of their housing, land and property (HLP) rights. Equally, the Initiative emphasises that respect for HLP rights is a vital element in protecting against, responding to and resolving climate displacement.

Examples of the work of the Bangladesh HLP Initiative include:

– Engaging in comprehensive field-work across Bangladesh, meeting with communities displaced by climate hazards, communities at risk of climate displacement, local and national government representatives and officials, UN staff, civil society, academics and the media;

– Publishing a series of innovative and influential reports addressing the need to implement rights based solutions to prevent, respond to and resolve climate displacement;

– Conducting training and capacity building for civil society representatives on the human rights and HLP rights of climate displacement persons in Bangladesh;

– Supporting the creation of the “Lawyers Initiative for Displacement Solutions”, an association of lawyers and trainee judges committed to protecting the rights of climate displaced persons in Bangladesh; and 

– Undertaking advocacy with key Government officials, representatives and leaders of political parties, encouraging the adoption of effective legal and policy reform on the rights of climate displaced persons.

Further details on the work of the Bangladesh HLP Initiative, including updates and recent developments, publications, deatils of DS missions to Bangladesh and general resources can be accessed below.

For further information about the work of the Bangladesh HLP Initiative, please contact: info@displacementsolutions.org

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