BD braces for climate disasters: Experts08 May 2016
Climate change will emerge as a great threat to the country's development in the days to come, warned environmental experts at a discussion here on Saturday. "By this time, the height of the Padma Bridge Project has increased by one meter, considering impact of the future sea-level rise to be caused by climate change," said executive director of Bangladesh Centre for Advance Studies (BCAS) Dr Atiq Rahman.
COAST Trust (Coastal Association for Social Transformation Trust), a non-government organisation, arranged the discussion on 'Setting Agenda for World Humanitarian Summit Istanbul - Climate Change-Induced Displacement: Humanitarian and Rights Perspective' at Cirdap auditorium.
Dr Atiq predicted that if the sea level rises by one metre, about 20 million people will get displaced in Bangladesh, submerging huge coastal lands.
According to the fifth assessment of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the sea level could rise from 26cm - 98cm by 2100, depending on global emissions levels. If the sea level rises as per the IPCC prediction, Bangladesh will lose 17.5 percent of its total landmass while it is a small country with the total area of 147,570 square kilometers.
He said, Bangladesh is in such a situation where climate change-induced migration will surely take place.
"Urbanisation will lead climate change-induced migration in the country…we should reduce our internal migration through better preparedness," Atiq said.
Eminent economist and PKSF chairman Prof Qazi Kholiquzzaman Ahmad said, "Climate change is happening here and displacement is also happening, so it's very difficult to determine the reasons behind the displacement."
He said, urbanisation should be planned to minimise the aftermath of climate change-induced internal migration in the country.
The economist stressed the need for focusing on loss and damage issue, adaptation and economic and social development to cope with the adverse impacts of climate change.
Disaster Management and Relief secretary Md Shah Kamal said Bangladesh is a disaster-prone country where a number of natural disasters take place, but it has already achieved tremendous success in disaster management.
Acknowledging that the country will see more climate change-induced migrants in the future, he called for international humanitarian assistance to address internal climate migrants who will be innocent victims of global climate change in coming days.
Moderated by executive director of COAST Trust Rezaul Karim Chowdhury, the discussion was addressed, among others, by France Ambassador in Dhaka Sophie Aubert and Jeremy Wallard of the United Nations' Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (Bangkok).