People in countries vulnerable to the impact of climate change should be trained in skills to facilitate their migration to other countries. There should be provisions for climate passports. Adaptation strategies should also be put into place and the countries responsible for climate change must also come forward with pragmatic action.
These were some of the recommendations put forward by experts at a roundtable held yesterday, Tuesday, at The Daily Star Centre in the capital. The roundtable, ‘Security Implications of Climate Change’, was organised by Bangladesh Institute of Peace and Security Studies (BIPSS) in collaboration with The Daily Star.
Presenting the keynote, BIPSS president ANM Muniruzzaman, also the chairman of the Global Military Advisory Council on Climate Change, said that the impact of climate change was so wide that states would not be able to manage it in the classical manner of disaster management. The discourse of security was closely linked to climate change. It was a major security issue that posed as a serious global threat and could heighten existing social and political tensions and lead to new ones.
The key impact areas of climate change, the paper pointed out, included increases in global temperature, melting glaciers, extreme weather events and more.
One of the fallouts of climate change, said Muniruzzaman, was food security. But 2050 the risk of hunger could go up by 10 to 20 per cent, by which time the world population could have increased by one-third. ‘Reduced agricultural productivity is potentially the most worrisome consequence of climate change,’ he said, adding that hunger was significantly worse in countries with agriculture systems that are sensitive to rainfall.
Water security was another threat of climate change, with global demands for water to increase by 50 per cent by 2050.
Climate change was also likely to exacerbate health security, according to the keynote paper.
Development was threatened too, as climate change could drive more and more people towards poverty unless concerted action was taken.
Poverty, energy security, hard security dimensions, nuclear vulnerability, sea level rising, human displacement and other crises were also highlighted.
The paper presented response mechanisms to the issue of climate change. These included an expansion of global information and early warning systems, the role of the military, contingency planning, sharing and exchange of information, technology and expertise, comprehensive adaptation, an intentional and regional policy framework, an effective migration strategy, public awareness, political will and cooperation, and, importantly, global consensus.
Climate change expert and director of the International Centre for Climate Change and Development (ICCAD) at the Independent University of Bangladesh (IUB), Saleemul Huq, said that climate change was not just a major challenge, but it was also an opportunity.
Given the inevitable displacement of tens of millions of people due to climate change, there was need to help them to adapt. There was need to invest in children.
“If we don’t help the displaced people,” he pointed out, “they will all end up in Dhaka. But other towns can be developed with schooling, economic activities, health facilities, and so on, to make this climate-resilient migrant-friendly towns.”
On the international level, Saleemul Huq pointed out, there was the matter of global responsibility. The developed countries which are displacing our people must then take some of them, he said, highlighting the need for ‘climate passports’. He said that the people needed to be educated, to be trained into becoming doctors, engineers and a qualified skilled workforce so that when they migrate, they will not be destitute, but will be good citizens.
Former director general of the department of disaster management under the ministry of disaster management and relief, MA Wazed, said that adaptation is the best way to deal with the situation. It was necessary to have capacity development, and good disaster management policy. This would need technical and financial support.
Dr Imtiaz A Hussain, professor of the global studies and governance programme of IUB’s School of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences, highlighted the need for pre-emptive measures when it came to climate change. One such measure was to do away with the use of plastic products and replace these with environmental friendly products such as jute.
Moderated by Shahedul Anam Khan, associate editor of The Daily Star, the roundtable was also addressed by The Daily Star editor Mahfuz Anam, executive director of Bangladesh Centre for Advanced Studies Atiq Rahman, and others.