PM Sheikh Hasina calls for int'l support for countries affected by climate displacement


Published on November 28, 2023
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Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has called for international support for countries affected by climate displacement.

"Most climate displacements take place within national borders and across borders in some dire situations. The worst-affected countries need international support and solidarity to prevent such situations from turning into a humanitarian crisis," she said.

She made the remarks in a video statement broadcast at the high-level segment on "Climate Impact on Human Mobility: A Global Call for Solutions" in the three-day 114th Session of the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) Council at its headquarters at Geneva, Switzerland.

The prime minister said those who have been displaced or trapped due to climate change need to have access to basic services, social protection, and livelihood options. She noted that the adverse impacts on their host communities also need to be addressed in an inclusive manner.

It is estimated that climate change could displace 216 million people by 2050, Sheikh Hasina said, adding that among these, 40 million alone would be in South Asia. In Bangladesh, 20 percent of our population lives along the coastal belt.

"Sea-level rise, salinity intrusion, frequent floods, and severe cyclones make them vulnerable to forced displacement. Such displacements are happening faster than we think," she warned.

Bangladesh's coastal district of Cox's Bazar now hosts 1.2 million forcibly displaced Rohingyas from Myanmar, the premier said.

"Some of these people fall victim to trafficking networks with security risks for the entire region. Such mixed migration flows make the issue of climate mobility even more problematic," she added, reports state news agency.

The Prime Minister mentioned that Bangladesh believes climate change's impact on human mobility should be placed high on the international agenda.

She also said that Bangladesh is working with IOM and other partners to highlight the need for effective solutions.

Five recommendations:

The Prime Minister offered five suggestions to address the issue of the impact of climate change on human mobility.

  • Addressing the climate impact of human mobility in a rights-based manner in line with the Global Compact on Safe, Orderly, and Regular Migration;
  • Considering the situation of climate migrants through the lens of climate justice to find context-specific solutions for the loss and damage they suffer.
  • Must be prepared at local, national, and international levels for looking at migration as a climate adaptation strategy where it proves to be the best possible solution;
  • Review the existing international protection standards to repurpose them for climate migrants, especially women, children, and other vulnerable groups.
  • Invest in well-researched data and evidence on the impact of climate change on human mobility to build an objective case for it beyond narrow political considerations.