The country needs comprehensive preparedness and concrete plan for creating livelihood opportunities to prevent massive migration and displacement to urban areas mainly from the coastal districts, observed experts in Dhaka on Sunday.
Twenty to Twenty-five million people will migrate to urban areas from coastal districts by next several years, Saleemul Haque, director of International Centre for Climate Change and Development, said at a global meeting of the Platform on Disaster Displacement.
‘If we don’t plan for them, they will come to Dhaka,’ he said, adding that steps should be taken on how to empower them with creating job and livelihood opportunities for a facilitated migration.
Foreign minister AK Abdul Momen said nearly one-third people in Dhaka are just like floating population, forced out partly as their homes have been washed away and their land was not enough to provide their living due to climate change.
Recently World Bank predicts, he said, one metre rise in the sea level would inundate 20 per cent of Bangladesh coastal region leaving 25 to 30 million people without home, without jobs.
International Organisation for Migration director Michele Klein Solomon said there was a meek response from the international community when a huge disaster induced displacement was occurring.
Principal secretary Nozibur Rahman said the government was negotiating with the UN agencies to reach a consensus to relocate some Rohingya refugees to Bhashanchar as many of them are at risk of landslide in the imminent monsoon.
State minister for foreign affairs M Shahriar Alam, Platform on Disaster Displacement envoy Walter Kaelin, UNFCCC deputy executive secretary Ovais Sarmad, foreign secretary M Shahidul Haque, UN resident coordinator Mia Seppo, UNHCR country representative Steven Corliss, disaster management ministry secretary Shah Kamal, Bangladesh permanent representative to the UN offices in Geneva Shameem Ahsan, Bangladesh Centre for Advanced Studies executive director Atiq Rahman, University of Sussex professor Max Martin, Golam Rasul and Amina Maharjan of ICIMOD Nepal, among others, participated in the discussion in different sessions.
In another session organised for the local and foreign NGOs and the civil society, discussants stressed the need for adopting ‘polluter pay principle’ and demanded for a legally binding international covenant for rights and protection of climate related displaced, as they are the innocent victim. Coast Bangladesh organised the session with its executive director Rezaul Karim Chowdhury in the chair.
France will be the next chair of the Platform of Disaster Displacement, a state led body with the membership of 18 state including France, Germany and Canada and European Union, in June from Bangladesh, the current chair.
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