This study is one of a series of regional studies which aim to present evidence of the interactions between environmental, social, political and economic risks at the local level in Bangladesh, India, Nepal and Pakistan. Drawing on field research and consultations with policy-makers, practitioners and academics, this case study seeks to identify obstacles to and opportunities for interventions to build resilience to interlinked environmental and security risks among vulnerable communities in Bangladesh. The case study specifically looks at local resilience among the coastal communities in Satkhira and their knock-on effects in terms of migration to urban centres such as Dhaka. In order to understand local resilience, the case study aims to address two key questions:
1. What are the root causes of vulnerability (to climate and conflict risks)?
2. How can external adaptation interventions (by the state or international institutions) address these root causes of vulnerability?
Findings from the case study lead to the following conclusions:
• Whilst livelihood diversification into perceived “climate resilient” areas such as tailoring, poultry farming, duck rearing, mat weaving and basket making are helping families better cope, they are not seen by beneficiaries as sufficient to build their resilience in and of themselves;
• Livelihood dependency on the Sunderban forests continues despite the security threats people face in accessing the forests. This dependency needs to be reduced;
• In the absence of a comprehensive policy framework, seasonal migration is a significant cost to human development through poor labour arrangements and working conditions of migrants. Safe migration needs to be prioritised to maximise its benefits and also be given due consideration in climate change and development plans;
• Interventions around other sectoral strands such as security and democratic governance could contribute to building community resilience if they are both climate and conflict sensitive.
Mitra, S.; Vivekananda, J. Strengthening responses to climate variability in south Asia. Discussion paper: Bangladesh. International Alert, (2013) 40 pp.