Community and Institutional Responses to the Challenges Facing Poor Urban People in an Era of Global Warming in Bangladesh

Climate change is impacting on the living conditions and livelihoods of poor people. These effects will deepen over coming decades. Increased exposure to minor shocks and major disasters can dramatically increase poor urban people’s vulnerability and damage their economic and social prospects - dwellings are damaged/destroyed, casual labour is laid off, fuel prices rise, water supplies become contaminated, children get sick ... a downward spiral may result. Yet most governments in developing countries see climate change purely as a rural problem with impacts on agriculture and food security. Nowhere in the world are these problems more evident than in Bangladesh. Its urban population already exceeds 40 million and is growing at 3.4% per annum. With 20 million people potentially displaced by rising sea levels in coming years, the urbanisation rate seems likely to increase. Urban poverty is already high and in the bustees (i.e. “slums”) living conditions are deteriorating.

This project seeks to fill this important research gap in policy-relevant knowledge by exploring how to effectively address the problems of poor urban people, in a context of rapid climate change. It adopts a cross-disciplinary perspective, and brings together a team of leading Bangladeshi and UK researchers and policy activist. The rigorous academic findings will have international standing and make high impact policy recommendations for agencies in Bangladesh and beyond.

Funded by: 
ESRC Area & Development Studies and Environmental Planning.
Principal coordinator: 
David Hulme, Brooks World Poverty Institute, School of Environment and Development
Lead contact: 
Project timeframe: 
September 2010 - August 2013
Brooks World Poverty Institute, School of Environment and Development