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| Last Updated:20/01/2021

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Climate change, migration burdening urban areas in Bay of Bengal

KOLKATA: Rising urban population following forced migration from rural areas is a result of climate change and poses a burden upon urban risk-reduction efforts, aver experts from Bay of Bengal countries.

Participating in a sub-regional workshop here last week, the experts adopted a 'Charter for Disaster Risk Reduction' with key policy recommendations for the ongoing World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction (WCDRR) in Sendai, Japan. The document also brought to the fore the need to localise disaster risk-reduction (DRR) approaches, said a statement made available on Tuesday.

The charter was adopted at the third sub-regional workshop on "Community resilience to climate change in Bay of Bengal" with more than 120 representatives, including members of parliaments and legislative bodies, from India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Nepal participating.

"The trend of rising urban population with continuous and large inflow of migrants from rural to urban areas is creating several challenges in both rural and urban areas. The forced migration as a result of climate impact is adding burden to manage urban risk reduction efforts," said the charter.

The charter said: "Urban centres must have the plan to address the issues for migrants to the cities and develop a comprehensive strategy to promote resilience with necessary skills to address their vulnerabilities."

The document also emphasized the necessity to strengthen institutional instruments to support data management, habitat planning and capacity building.

"Weak resource management as well as faulty development design and initiatives have created several challenges in urban areas such as flood, health related problems," the statement said citing the charter.

Other key recommendations in the charter focused on the importance of inclusion of social parameters in the "implementation and monitoring frameworks, with focus on impacts and not only activities".

"A highly pertinent response needs specific attention to engage with youth and children to facilitate a safe school model and ensure the sustenance of the child friendly environment in disaster context," said the charter.

The charter also called for strengthening the linkages between science, policy and practice for a comprehensive engagement finally resulting in policies and strategies that lead to benefits for the communities at risk.

Spearheaded by global agencies such as Concern Worldwide and BCAS-Bangladesh, SEEDS Asia and others, the workshop and the subsequent charter also advocated the evolution and establishment of monitoring mechanisms for "rigorously keeping track of impact on community level, besides conduct of activities".