Macquarie University
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Protecting climate change induced displacement in Bangladesh: legal and policy responses

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posted on 2022-03-28, 14:15 authored by Mostafa Mahmud Naser
Climate change and human migration are two cross-cutting issues that demand immediate and appropriate responses from both international and national authorities. As a result of climate change, in the decades to come, large numbers of people may face the loss of homes, land and livelihoods due to environmental degradations such as rising sea levels, floods, droughts, famine and hurricanes. In Bangladesh alone, it is forecast that around 30 million people will be displaced by 2050. Despite staggering predictions and likely violations of human rights stemming from such displacement, the protection of persons displaced by climate change has remained largely beneath the domestic and international policy radar. -- In this milieu, this thesis focuses on the matrix of human dimensions of climate change and population dynamics in Bangladesh. In doing so, it addresses the question of how, and to what extent, a legal and policy apparatus can be developed to address the existing protection gaps and legal vacuum in dealing with persons who are likely to be displaced by climatic effects. To this end, it reviews existing laws and policies to understand the status of this emergent migrants group, and it identifies the protection gaps in both national and international legal frameworks. It suggests integrating international human rights norms, principles and best practices in national laws and policies related to the protection of climate change induced displacement. The thesis closely examines the wide spectrum of adaptive strategies and their feasibility and effectiveness in addressing climate change induced migration. It sets out a roadmap showing how the policy interventions could contribute to better integrating the full spectrum of migration issues and concerns into overall environmental and developmental policy and vice-versa within Bangladesh. Finally, it offers certain pragmatic rights-based law and policy responses to address this issue in Bangladesh. -- This thesis deals with a number of complex issues under international environmental law, human rights law, and migration and refugee law, which have important ramifications for the protection of climate change induced displacement at national, regional and international levels. The development of 'soft guidelines' suggested in this study would establish an international framework for the specific recognition, treatment and protection of climate change displaced persons and fill the legal gap with the specificity required by states and communities. Negating a 'one-size-fits-all' approach, a range of legal and policy options are suggested in this thesis, such as providing humanitarian assistance to forced climate migrants, pre-emptively managing migration with safety and dignity for climate-motivated migrants, and strengthening adaptation so that climate victims do not need to rely on migration for alternative livelihoods. These measures will capacitate Bangladesh to respond proactively to minimise the risks and maximise the benefits for climate change induced migrants. The suggested national legal and policy responses, although designed in the context of Bangladesh, could be used as a model or guideline for the protection of people who are at risk of displacement due to the effects of climate change in other developing countries and small island countries with similar socio-economic and environmental conditions.


Table of Contents

1. Protection of climate change induced displacement in Bangladesh: an overview -- 2. Contextualising climate change as a cause of migration -- 3. Conceptualising climate change induced displacement in Bangladesh -- 4. Climate change induced displacement in Bangladesh: recognition and protection under international law -- 5. Human rights implications for climate change induced displacement in Bangladesh -- 6. Climate change induced displacement in Bangladesh: legal and policy responses -- 7. Protection of forced climate migrants: human rights-based policy framework -- 8. Protection of climate motivated migrants in Bangladesh: facilitating migration as an adaptation strategy -- 9. Protecting potential climate migrants through adaptation assistance -- 10. Protection of climate change induced displacement in Bangladesh: the way forward.


Includes bibliographical references (pages 317-341) Thesis by publication. "October 2012"

Awarding Institution

Macquarie University

Degree Type

Thesis PhD


PhD, Macquarie University, Macquarie Law School

Department, Centre or School

Macquarie Law School

Year of Award


Principal Supervisor

M. Rafiqul Islam

Additional Supervisor 1

Shawkat Alam


Copyright disclaimer: Copyright Mostafa Mahmud Naser 2013.






1 online resource (xxx, 341 pages)

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