Six rights groups and civil society networks yesterday demanded that the government conduct a survey and assessment on the internal climate-induced migration in Bangladesh before taking the issue to the upcoming international climate negotiations.

The Bangladesh delegation must demand a solid programme on climate migrants in the Poland conference due in November so that there is some agreement in Paris in 2015, said Qumrul Isalm Chowdhury of Forum of Environmental Journalists of Bangladesh (BEJF), addressing a seminar at the capital’s Jatiya Press Club.

Environment and Forest Minister Hasan Mahumd declared that Bangladesh Climate Change Strategic Action Plan would be revised and money would be allocated there for researches on climate migrants.

He said the developed countries had to take the responsibility of these migrants, and the definition of the UN refugee had to be revised to accommodate them.

At the seminar, “Climate-induced migrants: Responsibilities at national and international level”, Dr Ahsanuddin of CGC said that if Bangladesh failed to present the estimated number of climate migrants, it would not get proper response at international level.

Bangladesh must tell the developed world that within its limited capacity, the country is spending almost $1 billion annually on safety net programmes, he added.

The seminar was jointly organised by Bangladesh Paribesh Andolon, Bangladesh Indigenous People Network on Climate Change and Biodiversity, Coastal Livelihood and Environmental Action Network, Climate Change Development Forum, Equity and Justice Working Group Bangladesh, and Campaign for Sustainable Rural Livelihood.

Citing data of CristianAid and prediction of Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Hasan Mehdi, chief executive of Humanitywatch, said 2.5 crore people of the world were displaced due to climate change in 2007, while 15-20 crore people would be displaced by 2050. In Bangladesh, it causes displacement of 6-10 lakh people annually, he said.

Published in The Daily Star.