Bangladesh is one of the countries most vulnerable to the effects of climate change. The regular and severe natural hazards that Bangladesh already suffers from – tropical cyclones, river erosion, landslides and drought – are all set to increase in intensity and frequency as a result of climate change. Sea level rise will increasingly inundate coastal land in Bangladesh and dramatic coastal and river erosion will destroy lands and homes. These and the many other adverse effects of climate change will severely impact the economy and development of the country.
One of the most dramatic impacts will be the forced movement of people throughout Bangladesh as a result of losing their homes, lands, property and livelihoods to the effects of climate change. While it is impossible to predict completely accurate figures of how many people will be displaced by climate change, the best current estimates state that sea level rise alone will displace 18 million Bangladeshis within the next 40 years. The vast majority of these people will be displaced within Bangladesh – not across international borders – presenting the Government with enormous challenges, particularly when it comes to finding places to live and work for those displaced.
Displacement Solutions and Young Power in Social Action (YPSA) have been engaged for several years on the issue of climate displacement in Bangladesh as part of the multi-faceted Bangladesh Housing, Land and Property Rights Initiative. The Initiative has undertaken a series of fact-finding missions to all corners of Bangladesh, in-depth research and analysis projects, and extensive engagement with government and non-government stakeholders, including climate displaced communities throughout the country.
The Initiative acts on the basis that land will play a key role in ensuring solutions for the current and future millions of persons who will be displaced across Bangladesh due to the effects of climate change. The Initiative also works on the basis that – in the absence of regional or international obligations to receive and protect climate displaced persons as refugees – that Bangladesh must focus on domestic solutions to climate displacement.
Further details on the work of the Bangladesh HLP Initiative, including publications, resources and updates can be accessed below.
For further information about the work of the Bangladesh HLP Initiative, please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
Displacement Solutions and our partners Young Power in Social Action (YPSA) have been working since 2011 to find innovative rights-based solutions to climate displacement in Bangladesh.
Some of the recent highlights of the Bangladesh HLP Initiative include:
EU WORKSHOP IN DHAKA – “GROWTH AND CLIMATE CHANGE OPPORTUNITIES AND CHALLENGES IN BANGLADESH”
On 27 October 2015, on behalf of the Bangladesh HLP Initiative, Young Power in Social Action (YPSA) presented at the Delegation of the European Union, BRAC and the Centre for Climate Change and Environmental Research (C3ER), BRAC University high-level workshop on “Growth and Climate Change: Opportunities and Challenges in Bangladesh”.
This half day event was an opportunity for strategic policy dialogue and technical contributions in preparation of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) 21st Conference of the Parties (CoP) that will take place in Paris in December. Presentations of global initiatives and reports on climate change by representatives of development partners were complemented by interventions by high Government officials, the private sector, civil society and researchers from C3ER, BRAC University.
YPSA shared their perspectives and experience working to prevent and resolve climate displacement in Bangladesh, as part of the Bangladesh HLP Initiative with Displacement Solutions.
DHAKA TRIBUNE – THE CRITICAL ROLE OF LAND IN SOLVING CLIMATE DISPLACEMENT
On 17 October 2015 the Dhaka Tribune published an article by Displacement Solutions on “The Critical Role of Land in Solving Climate Displacement”.
The Article highlights that Bangladesh needs to plan for the relocation of communities at extreme risk of displacement from climate hazards.
The Article is available online here.
DHAKA TRIBUNE – THE URGENT NEED FOR RIGHTS BASED SOLUTIONS TO CLIMATE DISPLACEMENT IN BANGLADESH
On 10 October 2015 the Dhaka Tribune published an article by Displacement Solutions on “The Urgent Need for Rights Based Solutions to Climate Displacement in Bangladesh”.
The Article highlights that solutions to climate displacement are possible within Bangladesh, but they must be founded on the human rights of affected communities.
The Article is available online here.
NOW AVAILABLE – UPDATED GUIDANCE NOTE ON LAND SOLUTIONS TO CLIMATE DISPLACEMENT IN BANGLADESH
An updated version of the Guidance Note on New Land for Climate Displaced Persons in Bangladesh is now available.
This Guidance Note shows that, with improvements in place, the distribution of state-owned (khas) land could provide an important solution to climate displacement in Bangladesh.
This Guidance Note examines the current process of distributing state-owned land in Bangladesh under the Khas system, as well as under the “Char Development and Settlement Project”. It provides a step-by-step overview of how the distribution processes work in practice and identifies a number of shortcomings in each. Concrete recommendations for how these processes could be improved are also provided.
Click here to access the updated Guidance Note.
BENGALI VERSION OF THE POCKET GUIDE ON THE RIGHTS OF CLIMATE DISPLACED PERSONS
The Bangladesh HLP Initiative has released a Bengali language version of the Pocket Guide on the Rights of Climate Displaced Persons.
An electronic version of the Bengali version of the Pocket Book can be accessed here.
This Guide is written in non-technical language and is made specifically for climate displaced persons themselves.
As stated in the introduction to the Guide: “The aim of this guide is to provide practical, easy to follow advice on what people displaced from their homes and lands by climate change can do to get help.”
Based on the full body of international human rights law and The Peninsula Principles on Climate Displacement Within States, this quick guide provides concrete steps that climate displaced persons can take to get help, and it does so with reference to case studies of actual climate displaced communities.
Please contact Displacement Solutions at email@example.com if you and your community would like assistance in contacting NGOs or other organisations that may be able to provide you with further advice.
Please also contact us if you would like a hard copy of the Guide, which we can send to you free of charge.
WORKSHOP FOR BANGLADESHI LAWYERS AND JUDGES ON THE RIGHTS OF CLIMATE DISPLACED PERSONS
On 9 July 2015, The Bangladesh HLP Initiative held an orientation on the rights of climate displaced persons for lawyers and judges from the Chittagong Bar Association.
The workshop launched the new Bengali version of the Pocket Guide on “The Rights of Climate Displaced Persons” and discussed the important role that Judges and Lawyers can play to protect the rights of climate displaced persons in Bangladesh. The workshop also discussed the possibility of legal aid supporting legal actions to protect the rights of climate displaced persons.
The legal group committed to take further action to raise awareness of the rights of climate displaced persons, to take public interest cases under the Constitution of Bangladesh and to advocate for positive law and policy reform.
Displacement Solutions would like to thank Young Power in Social Action for organising this important event as well as to the lawyers and judges of the Chittagong Bar Association and Bangladesh Legal Aid Service who participated in this workshop.
DS MISSION TO BANGLADESH – APRIL 2015
In April 2015, DS representative Ezekiel Simperingham visited Bangladesh as part on the ongoing Bangladesh HLP Initiative.
During the mission, DS and local partner Young Power in Social Action (YPSA) participated in the Nansen Initiative South Asia and Indian Ocean Intergovernmental Regional Consultation in Khulna.
DS also travelled to Dacope district to again meet with communities affected by the impacts of climate change in this vulnerable coastal region of Bangladesh.
In Dhaka, DS met with representatives from UNHCR, AFD, the Delegation of the European Union to Bangladesh, USAID, DFID and the Embassy of Sweden in Bangladesh. In these discussions, DS raised awareness of the situation of climate displacement in Bangladesh, the rights of climate displaced persons and the work and plans of Displacement Solutions and the Bangladesh HLP Initiative.
INNOVATIVE NEW WORK ON LAND SOLUTIONS TO CLIMATE DISPLACEMENT WITHIN BANGLADESH
The work of the DS-YPSA Bangladesh HLP Initiative centres on our view that rather than focusing on technological or engineering solutions to climate adaptation (which, in many instances, will have only very short-term impacts) or placing faith in the good will of the international community to accept Bangladesh’s “climate refugees”, it makes far more sense and stands a far greater chance of success if this focus is instead placed on the prospects of internal relocation within the borders of Bangladesh as the primary solution to ongoing climate displacement.
If pursued cleverly and supported by sub-district, district, divisional and national governments, concrete, human rights-based and land-based HLP solutions are available in Bangladesh for the vast majority of the current climate displaced population, as well as for most of those to be affected by the anticipated displacement in coming decades.
The Bangladesh HLP Initiative is a complex, multi-year and multi-layered plan designed to empower Bangladesh’s displaced communities to realise their HLP rights through a detailed process involving training and capacity building, monitoring where and how climate displacement occurs in the country on a regular basis, acquiring and allocating land from private individuals and government for the exclusive use of climate displaced families, preparing model relocation housing sites, designing and building prototype climate-resilient housing and various advocacy measures.
One of the key areas of intervention concerns the identification of land that could be distributed to climate displaced communities to enable them to re-establish homes on safer land. DS and YPSA have identified 10 land parcels in Chittagong district that we are now seeking to acquire to provide new land resources for the growing climate displaced population in eastern Bangladesh. Our aim is to have the first parcels ready for relocation by 2016, and it is our fervent hope that this method of securing new land resources for at least some of those who are no longer able to live on land they once called home can form a precedent-setting model that will inspire the government of Bangladesh to pursue similar projects at a much larger-scale level throughout the country.
For more information about this innovative work, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
ROUND TABLE DISCUSSION IN DHAKA ON THE RIGHTS OF CLIMATE DISPLACED PERSONS
On 1 September 2014, the Bangladesh HLP Initiative held a major round table discussion on the rights of climate displaced persons in Bangladesh.
The round table launched the DS and YPSA Mapping Study on “Climate Displacement in Bangladesh: Stakeholders, Laws and Policies – Mapping the Existing Institutional Framework”.
Participants and guests included Dr. Hasan Mahmud, MP Chairman of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Environment and Forest and former Minister for Environment and Forest; Dr. Niaz Ahmed Khan, Chairman, Department of Development Studies, Dhaka University; Md. Rafiqul Alam, Chief Executive of Dwip Unnayan Sangstha; Md. Shamsuddoha, Chief Executive of Centre for Participatory Research and Development (CPRD); Sujit Chowdhury, Senior Advisor of Climate Change at the German Embassy Bangladesh; AKM Sirajul Islam, Paribesh Bachao Andolon; Mihir Kanti Biswas, Bangladesh Paribesh Andolon; Alisan Subrata Baroi, Director of Sushanar Jonno Pracharabhijan; Mizanur Rahman Bijoy, Network on Climate Change of Bangladesh; Aminul Rasul Babul, Executive Director of Unnayan Dhara Trust; Rafiqul Islam Montu, Special Correspondence, BanglaNews24 and Gaohar Nayeem, Convenor, Disaster Forum of Bangladesh.
Thanks to YPSA and to the many guests and participants at this important event.
THE PENINSULA PRINCIPLES ON CLIMATE DISPLACEMENT WITHIN STATES – NOW AVAILABLE IN BENGALI
To add to the English, Spanish, Vietnamese, Arabic and Romanian versions of the Peninsula Principles on Climate Displacement Within States, the Principles are now available in Bengali. DS thanks Young Power in Social Action (YPSA) for this translation.
The Bengali translation of the Principles can be accessed here.