Densely populated and low-lying, Bangladesh is one of the most climate-vulnerable countries in the world. How can millions of Bangladeshis protect their families and incomes from rising sea levels, erratic rainfall and temperature extremes? That’s the topic of a new film by tve: Television Trust for the Environment, commissioned by CDKN. The filmmakers follow a group of researchers from Bangladesh and the UK as they investigate how climate change is causing people to migrate within Bangladesh, as a way of coping.
They follow communities in the Gabura, Satkhira region that were affected by Cyclone Aila in 2009. Some families, exasperated by the damage to croplands, decide to migrate to inland cities for good, while others try their hand at seasonal work in the city, returning to their home village every few weeks or months.
“When people are in stress, they use migration as a climate change adaptation tool,” said Dr Tasneem Siddiqui, the study lead and a founding chair of the Refugee and Migratory Movements Research Unit (RMMRU) at the University of Dhaka.
The research team investigates whether public policy options are available to protect migrants’ livelihoods, in facing such climate-related stress.
One of the team’s key conclusions, says Dr Siddiqui, is that once internal migrants arrive in cities, they lack some of the basic employment rights and social support mechanisms of established residents. The government could do more to recognise migrants’ vulnerability and protect them: “Mega city development [should] take into account that these people should have their rights. All this can be done through preparing an internal migration policy and following it up with the employers, so that [there is a] certain type of rights protection.”
Join the film crew and the research team as they travel down the Kholpetua River to Gabura and talk with climate-affected families, then visit migrant workers in the cities, to hear how they are making ends meet.
Watch the short version of the film: Climate change and migration – Living on the Go (12 minutes)
Watch the longer feature version with more material from Bangladesh’s climate-affected villages: Climate change and migration – Living on the Go (20 minutes)