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Friday, September 25, 2009

Strategic migration for Bangladeshi climate refugees

So we have got another great opportunity to get some more funds now! This time its under the guise of the hottest topic on earth--Climate Change. Bangladesh has sought 5 billion US dollars from the developed countries in compensation as an affected country due to climate change caused by global warming. Read here to know more.

I would rather not talk about foreign direct investments or development funds that have been arriving to the country since independence. We all are pretty much aware how much of that inbound foreign currency, grant, aid, fund (whatever you call it) have been channelled to build religious establishments, fill up personal pockets of corrupt politicians and bureaucreats and how much of that have exactly been applied to achieve mass development objectives. I am sure getting fresh funds from developed nations would help to a great extent in building dams for protection against rising sea level or for increased forestation etc. But is it not obvious that its a competition against nature at its worst case? How much fund do we need to stop the fury and whims of mother nature from being unleashed on our naturally vulnerable piece of land?

Certainly the big brothers around and away have contributed a lot to the overall deterioration in the climate change status, but lets not forget the mindless urban planning (or no planning) and lack of environmental laws and their implementation which are any ways so rampant all around Bangladesh. Unless we take care of our own backyard first and foremost, no amount of fund will be able to stop the ever increasing leak in our ship. Moreover, we are not very sure about our captains at helm, its very likely that with these funds to fight climate change, they will fight personal 'poverty' and safeguard their own sending their offsprings to 'safer' locations abroad for study and settlement. To wash off the lifelong accummulated sins, they might however establish a three star mosque or madrasa somewhere in their native village. As they make merry with the fresh funds yet again, the whole country would keep on waking up with unexpected earth-quakes, more frequent thunderstorms, colder and shorter winter and hotter and longer summers. Who cares?

I mentioned something called 'Strategic migration' in one of my earlier posts. A visitor jokingly also argued that what else to expect from a business graduate of strategic management (that is me). I think its time again that we revive this concept and find out how we can link the concept of climate refugees and Bangladeshi export-ready manpower to 'strategic migration'. The claim is simple. We do want free compensation..or fresh funds..whatever you call it. However, I am sick and tired of getting free alms which almost always go down the drain (or personal pockets and fortunes). Let the deal be fair.....we will train our manpower to serve your foreign labor markets, we will take care of all legal and social coverage return we demand preference in overseas recruitment selection and eventual settlement in foreign territories, provided the incumbent meets criteria set and agreed by host and source countries. The idea is to convert potential climate refugees from burden to skilled workforce and help them get (either local) job assignments in countries which are held culprit for the climate change fiasco. In other words, if a time arises that 5,000 people are displaced due to rising tidal waves in Satkhira district, they need to be labelled formally as 'climate refugees' first. These people are free to move to higher lands or even to capital to seek for security of life and food. They need to be trained and made export ready to countries which are primarily responsible for global warming.However I am aware of the fact that many of our creative countrymen would be up and running to label themselves in unthinkable ways as 'climate refugee's to get a passport out of the sinking delta. I am afraid of our own spoilsports.

However all this sounds a bit like fairytale and as if I am on drugs right? Well, atleast no more fairytales from politicians. Lets plan something which is sustainable and linked to local context. Instead of being wary of a half sunk Bangladesh and 150 million plus people crammed in the northern highlands of the country, lets think of ways how we can ride the right wave to strategically migrate some semi-skilled, skilled climate refugees outside Bangladesh.


BApPI said...

I have read this 'post' 2 or 3 times but couldn't gather enough courage to write a few line. We are slowly and slowly moving towards a 'great' natural calamity, may be in the form of an earthquake or may be in the form of a tsunami. We shall take lessons from the Philippines, 3 typhoons in a row, and I'm sure the country have to have a herculean help to revive to its immediate past position. Our 'super power nations', who are our good friends (!!) are on their feet to provide us development funds (??) to 'fight' the global crisis - Climate Change. Because, they know, they have good business prospect event during this 'economic meltdown'. Strategically, we could have opted for a migration scheme with these 'good friends' to migrate skilled / semi skilled resources for future actions. Anyways, i believe you have written a timely post which may create an awareness in a few people like us.

Shehzaad said...

thanks for the comment Bappi. You are right, we can't pretend to be cats drinking milk with eyes shut and assuming that everything around us is safe and sound. We need to think of ways to mitigate damage caused by climate change even before it strikes us hard. We need to look for ways out which are naturally available to us and which are naturally more vulnerable to climate change...manpower.

Lin the Finn said...

I would welcome any initiative that trains ordinary people in useful skills to improve their job prospects. But this shouldn't need to wait for the climate catastrophe and it shouldn't just cover directly displaced climate refugees! Any skills and training initiative now gives another batch of people - maybe hundreds rather than thousands, but still - a better chance, abroad or in Bangladesh. Then when the climate really rets rough, these peoples' children will have a better chance to migrate. Hm, maybe that's just common sense and too vague.
My other comment is whether many Bangladeshis are aware of Brazil as a destination country? Their culture is friendly and it is a country built by immigrants, and in addition, it is ENORMOUS.