Durban Climate Summit: Dhaka to seek amendment to Refugee Convention
Bangladesh will urge the United Nations to amend its Refugee Convention 1951 at the upcoming Durban climate summit (COP-17) with the aim of identifying the climate-displaced people as climate refugees.
"We will raise the issue at the summit so that the climate migrants can get refugee status and rehabilitated in a proper way," State Minister for Environment Dr Hasan Mahmud told a seminar at National Press Club in the capital on Tuesday.
He further said that the government would also raise the issue in the meeting of the Climate Vulnerable Forum of most climate vulnerable nations in Dhaka on November 13-14. The meeting is being held to set a common agenda for the Durban summit.
The government would go to review the Bangladesh Climate Change Strategic Action Plan (BCCSAP) after the summit, and consider a comprehensive assessment of the climate migrants, Mahmud mentioned.
According to a report of Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), around 30 million people in the world will be displaced from their living places by 2050 if the sea level rises by one-metre due to an increase in global warming.
Addressing the function, NCCB official Mizanur Rahman Bijoy said the government should raise the issue of rehabilitating climate migrants in the forthcoming Bhutan climate conference and Saarc summit in the Maldives, aiming to seek solution at the regional level.
The government also should consider its land requisition and urban development planning issue, keeping the matter of internal migration in mind, he added.
Ziaul Haque Mukta of the CSRL suggested that Bangladesh needed comprehensive assessment and national action plan to rehabilitate the climatic change migrants.
The government should prepare a guideline on the internal displacement of people, he said, adding: "To initiate an assessment and action plan on climate migrants at the international level is very urgent."
Hasan Mehedi of Humanity Watch said several thousands of people were migrated in different places of the country after cyclonic storms – Sidr and Aila – had battered the country's coastal belts in 2007 and 2009.
No migrants are happy with their displacement and their economic condition was further degraded, he observed.
Published in Daily Sun