Global Center on Adaptation joins forces with BRAC to scale up locally-led adaptation to build climate resilient migrant-friendly towns

R otterdam, the Netherlands, 10 December 2022 – The Global Center on Adaptation (GCA) today announced it has joined forces with BRAC to pilot locally-led urban planning approaches to accelerate and scale up the creation of climate-resilient, migrant-friendly towns across Bangladesh.

Working with GCA, BRAC will initially pilot a process to develop locally-led town climate adaptation plans in the town of Mongla, the second largest seaport in Bangladesh, led by the Mayor and local government and developed with and validated by urban residents. This includes the provision of capacity-building support under the leadership of the Mayor to facilitate the implementation of the town climate adaptation plan. Mongla already faces significant climate threats including rising salinity levels and a lack of freshwater.

If proved successful in Mongla it is expected this model of locally-led town climate adaptation plans will be scaled up across Bangladesh: initially to a further three towns by 2026 and an additional 26 towns and cities by 2030.

“Bangladesh already has a long history of promoting locally led adaptation as it plans for adaptation to climate change. We expect this work will supercharge those efforts to ensure it can deliver the transformational action required over the next decade to keep people safe from the worst impacts of our climate emergency,” said Professor Patrick Verkooijen, CEO of the Global Center on Adaptation, commenting on the announcement.

“The development of locally-led climate adaptation plans is not just essential for Bangladesh but for other developing countries that are increasingly vulnerable to growing climate impacts,” said Asif Saleh, Executive Director, BRAC. “The current impacts of climate change in Bangladesh are already forcing many people migrate to major cities. We need to prioritize a planned adaptation approach, which is locally-led, for this growing number of climate migrants.”

“This is an important project for Mongla town, to turn the problem of climate migration into an economic opportunity,” said Sheikh Abdur Rahman, Mayor, Mongla Port Municipality. “I will ensure my full participation, and that of the community, in preparing the plan and creating a benchmark for other towns.” Secondary towns like Mongla are seeing an increasing influx of climate migrants – not only in Bangladesh, but also in other parts of the developing world. “We have limited resources to ensure even basic rights for these migrants,” said Mayor Rahman.

“The seasonal pattern in Bangladesh has changed – instead of six seasons, we now have a long summer with heat stress and irregular rainfall. This is taking a toll on our lives and livelihoods,” says Mayuri Begum, a young migrant living in an informal settlement in Mongla.

The approaches used during the development of the locally-led town climate adaptation plans will conform to the eight Principles for Locally-Led Adaptation (LLA) to which BRAC and GCA are a signatory. The pilot design will conform with LLA approaches that lend themselves to scaling up.

It is hoped building climate resilient migrant-friendly towns through locally led adaptation in Bangladesh will help relieve the pressure of increased internal migration to Dhaka. In 2019, 4.1 million people in Bangladesh (2.5% of the population) were displaced because of climate-induced disasters in Bangladesh. By 2050, the World Bank predicts the country will have 19.9 million internal climate refugees – almost half the projected number for the entire South Asia region.

Other towns and cities will be made more climate-migrant friendly through the increased provision of jobs and public services for an expanding population while at the same time making them models of disaster management, adaptation and resilience.

This project has been funded by the Global Center on Adaptation through a grant it received from the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Development Office (FCDO).

Notes to Editors
About the Global Center on Adaptation

The Global Center on Adaptation (GCA) is an international organization which works as a solutions broker to accelerate action and support for adaptation solutions, from the international to the local, in partnership with the public and private sector, to ensure we learn from each other and work together for a climate resilient future. Founded in 2018, GCA is hosted by the Netherlands, working from its headquarters in Rotterdam with a knowledge and research hub based in Groningen. GCA has a worldwide network of regional offices in Abidjan, Ivory Coast; Dhaka, Bangladesh and Beijing, China. Through this evolving network of offices and global and regional GCA teams, the organization engages in high-level policy activities, new research contributions, communications, and technical assistance to governments and the private sector.

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