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Developing more towns - key to climate resilience

Source(s):  Daily Star, the - Bangladesh

By Saleemul Huq

Bangladesh is facing two global megatrends with significant national repercussions. The first is the rapidly urbanising world we live in, where half the global population is already living in cities and towns and Bangladesh will soon cross that threshold as well. The government of Bangladesh under the direction of the prime minister has taken up the policy to enable every village to avail the services of a town so that people no longer feel that they have to move.


This megatrend of urbanisation has also affected the second megatrend of climate change which is likely to cause significant adverse effects on Bangladesh, with particularly severe impacts on the low lying coastal areas of the country as it will mean significant numbers (possibly around ten million over the next two decades) of climate migrants moving from rural to urban areas.


The answer to this second megatrend of climate change impacts on coastal areas must rely on a twin track strategy with two distinct time lines and target populations. The first time line is the “short to medium term” and the target population are the adults living in the climate affected areas; to help them to adapt to the changing scenarios. This is now already happening at scale with provision of rainwater harvesting for drinking water and saline tolerant crops in the coastal areas.


The International Centre for Climate Change and Development (ICCCAD) together with a number of partner organisations working on urban issues in Bangladesh has held annual conferences on Urban Resilience for the last four years where the concept of climate resilient migrant friendly towns was first introduced last year. Since then a number of mayors of smaller towns, starting with Mongla have already embarked on trying to explore and embrace the concept. This is not a government or even NGO project or programme; rather a concept that anyone, including individual citizens, can embrace and explore.


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  • Publication date 30 Oct 2019

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