Saturday, July 25, 2015

Reducing vulnerability through a better understanding of migration and adaptation in the Ganges delta in Bangladesh

Jon Lawn and Michele Leone in the Dhaka Tribune (Bangladesh): An abundance of scientific evidence shows that the people living in deltas have an increased vulnerability to sea-level rise and effects of climate change. In 2007, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) reported that low-latitude and less developed areas generally face greater risk, for example in dry areas and mega-deltas. These risks increase vulnerability of specific groups such as the poor.

The poor and vulnerable have migrated in different forms to cope with the disruptions climatic changes has brought upon their lives. Research is crucial to understanding the suitability of migration as an adaptation option to the threats of climate change, and the implications migration has on society and the environment. There is a new project tackling these issues in Bangladesh: a research collaboration between the Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (BUET) and the University of Southampton in the UK, which is part of a larger initiative studying migration and adaptation across Africa and South Asia.

The “Deltas, vulnerability and Climate Change: Migration and Adaptation” (DECCMA) project is a five-year long program of applied research which started in early 2014, focusing on the potential and limits of adaptation options in deltaic environments.  The project will analyse the impacts of climate change and changes in other environmental  pressures (such as demand for agriculture or damming rivers) across three contrasting deltas: The Ganges-Brahmaputra-Meghna in both Bangladesh and West Bengal, the Mahanadi delta in India, and the Volta delta in Ghana. The University of Southampton provides the overall leadon the project, partnering with BUET, Jadavpur University in Kolkata, India and the University of Ghana, who lead research in the delta study sites.

We aim to understand the effectiveness of adaptation options for individuals and communities in the coastal zone of the Ganges-Brahmaputra delta, whilst also evaluating the potential for migration to be an active and positive response to climate change. Ultimately, the project team anticipates that the uptake of a robust scientific evidence base for decision-makers and practitioners will lead to improved livelihoods and reductions in poverty in delta regions....

An outline map of the Ganges Delta by John Oldale, Wikimedia Commons, under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license

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