Forced displacement driven by disasters and climate change poses a potential threat to national security and stability. In 2018 alone, more than 17 million people worldwide were newly displaced by sudden onset disasters linked to cyclones, storms, floods, and other natural hazards. Bangladesh, the consistently cited ‘one of the top-ranking countries in the world’ to face the consequences of climate change is highly exposed to internal displacement of people.
To manage the disaster and climate induced internal displacement, the Government of Bangladesh will release the updated national level strategy outlining the actions for creating necessary policy framework and pathways to meeting the commitment to UN Platform on Disaster Displacement (PDD).
Dr. Enamur Rahman, Hon’ble State Minister for the Ministry of Disaster Management and Relief (MoDMR) made this remark as Chief Guest today at BRAC Centre Inn in the capital while addressing at a National Workshop jointly organized by Refugee and Migratory Movements Research Unit (RMMRU), Bangladesh Center for Advanced Studies (BCAS), International Centre for Climate Change and Development (ICCCAD), Centre for Climate Change and Environmental Research (C3ER) and Raoul Wallenberg Institute (RWI).
The MoDMR in September 2015 initiated the development of the National Strategy on the Management of Disaster and Climate Induced Internal Displacement (NSMDCIID). As several major developments at global level took place since the draft strategy was prepared, the government decided to update and revise the strategy in collaboration with RMMRU, BCAS, ICCCAD, C3ER and RWI. The revised strategy was presented at the workshop today to secure input from the wider civil society.
The event was chaired by Dr. Qazi Kholiquzzaman Ahmed, Chairman, PKSF and Mr. Md. Shah Kamal, Senior Secretary, Ministry of Disaster Management & Relief and Ms. Judith Herbertson, Country Representative, Department for International Development (DFID), Bangladesh attended the workshop as Special Guests. Among others Dr. Ainun Nishat, Adviser, C3ER of BRAC University, Dr. Tasneem Siddiqui, RMMRU made special remarks at the event.
“We will take this document that was presented today for inter-ministerial review. We believe that the National Strategy once adopted will guide us to better prepare, plan and respond to short term and longer term needs of displacement”, said Dr. EnamurRahman while speaking at the occasion. He thanked all the organizations for taking the initiative to revise the draft strategy.
During the workshop, findings of a recently conducted Regional Thematic Study on Displacement in the Context of Disasters and Climate Change in Asia and the Pacific was also launched. The study was conducted in ten countries across the Asia-Pacific region including Bangladesh. Led by RWI, the results of the research was also presented at the workshop today. Dr.Matthew Scott, RWI, presented the key findings from the study.
“In partnership with Independent University, RWI conducted a detailed review of Bangladesh law and policy relating to disaster risk management and climate change adaptation. Our research closely examined the strategies, laws and policies in the 10 countries including Bangladesh”, said Dr. Matthew Scott of RWI.
He mentioned that aligning law and policy with NSMDCIID would help to ensure that all phases of displacement are addressed in a rights-based manner.
National law and policy frameworks relating to disaster risk management (DRM) and climate change adaptation (CCA) do not systematically address the prevention of displacement, protection during displacement and facilitation of durable solutions. Rather, there are scattered references to displacement across several (occasionally) legal and (more frequently) policy documents. The lack of a comprehensive, integrated approach to addressing all phases of displacement within existing DRM and CCA work prevents coherent planning and management of this kind of risk.
On behalf of the civil society Dr. Tasneem Siddiqui, the Founder Chair of RMMRU urged the government to adopt the national strategy through inter-ministerial action. She also mentioned that the national strategy is a right-based document which will help government to attain different goals of SDGs.