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CARE BANGLADESH LAUNCHES “RAINFALL, FOOD SECURITY AND HUMAN MOBILITY: CASE STUDY BANGLADESH”
June 23, 2013
CARE Bangladesh has launched the report “Rainfall, Food Security and Human Mobility: Case Study Bangladesh” today at Hotel Lakeshore in Dhaka. The ceremony also served as a platform for participants to discuss the implications of changing rainfall patterns for rural livelihoods, food security and gender as the panel discussions was followed by a Question & Answer session.

The report has been launched as a part of Where the Rain Falls which is a 3-year, 8-country project that addresses how changing weather patterns, food security and human mobility affect the world's most vulnerable people. The 8 countries involved in the study are Bangladesh, Ghana, Guatemala, India, Peru, Tanzania, Thailand and Viet Nam, co-managed by CARE International and the United Nations University's Institute of Environment and Human Security. The project is sponsored by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation and The AXA Group.

In a bid to investigate the linkages and highly complex relationships between climate change, in particular in terms of rainfall variability and shifting seasons, rural livelihoods, food security, social inequality and migration and also to inform policymakers about the implications of climate change, the United Nations University Institute for Environment and Human Security (UNU-EHS) and CARE International embarked on a joint empirical research study in 2010. As a part of this effort, Bangladesh has been selected for a case study, because it is one of the countries that are most severely affected by climate change. Dr. Ahsan Uddin Ahmed, Executive Director of Centre for Global Change (CGC) presented the key findings of the study report which took part in Kurigram district of Bangladesh by explaining how it has served as an ideal example of understanding how climate change has been having serious impact in the rural especially the extreme poor.

The Bangladesh case study conducted in Kurigram, considered household survey-based statistical data, meteorological data, as well as qualitative data which was gathered via focus group discussions and key informants’ interviews. The key findings of the study are:

1.Local people have been noticing changes in rainfall patterns especially more extremes events, less floods, more droughts and dry spells during rainy seasons
2.Poor farming households are recognizing that rain-fed agriculture is increasingly a less viable livelihood option, since the available rainfall has become ‘too erratic’ and unpredictable while irrigation is costly. Their livelihoods are highly sensitive to changing rainfall patterns and most of them do not have adequate capacity to cope with these changes and overcome their negative effects.
3.Despite the government safety net programmes, the poor and the extremely poor households have become increasingly vulnerable to food insecurity.
4.While people from Kurigram have been migrating since the early seventies the absolute number has increased. Migration is predominantly male and confined to selling labor in agricultural fields in far away districts due to lack of education and skills and rising competition. Consequently the women in a migrant’s household pay a heavy toll when the men leave, as they have to work harder to sustain their family’s food security and also carry out extra workload to pay off the debts their husbands have left.
5.In the migrants’ households, women and adolescent girl children face social vices in the form of sexual harassment, which force the migrating parent to arrange a marriage for the child soon after her puberty. Such practices, though legally banned, have been affecting reproductive health condition of the married adolescent girls and influencing to rapid population growth.
6.As a coping strategy, aside from migration and switches in livelihood options, poor households especially the women practice self-depriving measures to address food insecurity, which in turn is taking heavy toll on nutrition, food intake of the poor people, particularly that of women and children;

Among the distinguished guests Dr. Md. Asaduzzaman, Former Research Director, BIDS and Chairman, SDNF was the chief guest of the launch. The event was chaired by Alexandra Maclean, Assistant Country Director, CARE Bangladesh while panelists include Dr. Ahsan Uddin Ahmed (Centre for Global Change), Dr. Aminul Islam (UNDP), Mr. Selim Reza Hassan (Solidaridad Network Asia) and Professor Ishrat Shamim (University of Dhaka). During the event, a policy video was screened to open the floor for discussion.

“Kurigram is a district with 16 rivers and the primary livelihood mode of the area used to be fishing. But now there are only a few fishermen families- this is just an extreme example of challenges faced due to the changing patterns of climate and its impact on people’s lives. The most vulnerable population is the extreme poor and lower middle classes. There is in fact a higher risk of the lower middle class to fall under the poverty line”, said Dr. Selim Reza Hasan, Country Manager Solidaridad Network Asia.

While changes in weather patterns have impact on people’s livelihood, food security and migration, Professor Ishrat Shamim, Dhaka University highlights the gender dimensions due to climate change. Known as ‘cracked population’ or the people who have never migrated even at the odds of environmental and livelihood challenges are particularly women, extremely poor and elderly people. “One of issues behind is that they don’t have social network and mobility to explore possibilities”.

Dr. Asaduzzaman, Chief guest pointed out that the broader policies in Bangladesh are not reflected well in coordination with sectoral policies. Such as the argiculture policies date back to 1999. Attention given on climate change and adaptability to the draft was submitted in 2010 and yet to be approved for operation. “So, in order to create a climate resilient Bangladesh, we need to look at holistic manners to make our policies in place and began working from small scales to broader“. He concluded.

“This is one part of research to deepen our understanding and coming out with sollutions together how we can address the challenges. Climate change affects us all in various degree so, CARE Bangladesh wants to continue working in coordination with all to improve the lives of the poor in Bangladesh, especially the marginalised women“, mentioned Jamie Terzi, Country Director, CARE Bangladesh.

For further information, please contact:
Harun-or-Rashid, Climate Change Coordinator, CARE Bangladesh, E-mail: harun.rashid@bd.care.org
Anahita Ahmed, Coordinator, Advocacy & Communications, CARE Bangladesh, Email: anahita@bd.care.org
Suchismita Roy, Communications Officer, Advocacy & Communications, CARE Bangladesh, Email: sroy@bd.care.org



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