SOUTH ASIA MIGRATION AND CLIMATE (SAMAC)

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Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan are among the countries which are most vulnerable to climate change globally. Their populations are suffering from the severe impacts of a range of extreme and increasingly unpredictable weather events brought about by climate change; including droughts, severe heatwaves, erratic rainfall patterns, heavy rainfall, flooding, landslides, rising sea levels, cyclones and glacier lake outburst floods (GLOFs). These trends are taking a severe and rising toll on rural communities’ farming and harvests, farmers’ livelihoods, coastal fisheries, sources of fresh water and people’s lands, homes and safety.

Across the region, millions of people are trying to adapt to these new conditions through a variety of resilience strategies. However, in many cases the climate impacts, crop failures and environmental disasters are so severe that adaptation is no longer possible. Many people are reaching the limits of adaptation, and are finding that their farming and fishing livelihoods can no longer support them or their families. They are thus moving away to urban areas or across borders in search of better opportunities for survival.

Migration is as an increasing phenomenon in these countries. However, in Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan it is still largely assumed that conflict and economic factors are the key drivers of migration. This reflects the broader trend across South Asia, in which the climate “push factor” is poorly understood against a historical background of more recognized push factors, such as conflict or poverty, or “pull factors” such as employment or kinship. The lack of clear understanding of the role of climate change in migration patterns means that there are currently no agreed operational definitions of climate-induced migration. As a result, critical data is not gathered to map the scale of the phenomenon, or the potential to alleviate the resulting migration pressures. The trend of climate-induced migration thus remains largely invisible, insufficiently recognized at policy level, and is therefore not being meaningfully addressed.

ActionAid Bangladesh, CANSA, Tadbeer Consulting and Research Organization in Afghanistan and SDPI in Pakistan implements the project which will contribute to the strengthening of national and regional policies and institutions on climate-induced migration/displacement that are in line with international human rights principles. The project envisages strengthening capacities of Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) and of their solidarity for a joint collective voice and strategizing on issues of climate-induced migration.

The objectives are to build knowledge, research and evidence-gathering on climate-induced migration by CSOs for engagement with policy makers and the media with a view to constructively advocating for effective policies that reduce the risks of environmental and climate-induced migration, and protect the rights of those forced to migrate as a result of climate change or environmental causes.

About the implementing partners:

ActionAid International (AAI) is a global movement of people working together to achieve greater human rights for all and defeat poverty.  They believe people in poverty have the power within them to create change for themselves, their families and communities. ActionAid is a catalyst for that change.  Their work falls into four broad areas: women, politics and economics, land and climate, and emergencies. They have a particular focus on women’s rights; since it is a thread that runs through all their work.

ActionAid Bangladesh (AAB) started its journey as a very small organisation with a minimalist approach, and has now grown to become a relatively significant player in the vibrant NGO movement that seeks to fight poverty in the country. ActionAid came to Bangladesh in 1983 to support an orphanage in Bhola named 'For Those Who Have Less' (locally known as 'Bittohin'). Today ActionAid is committed to changing the capacities of people and groups whose rights have been denied and violated in attaining justice and a life of dignity. ActionAid Bangladesh also assists efforts and builds capacities of actors of civil society and partner communities’ who they believe are engaged in safeguarding and promoting people’s rights. AAB constantly strives to accelerate support for anti–poverty initiatives and improve sustainability of development interventions that are inclined towards creating a confident and responsible nation, free from poverty and indignity.

Climate Action Network South Asia (CANSA) is a coalition of over 150 civil society organisations working in eight South Asian countries to promote government and individual action to limit human-induced climate change in a manner that promotes equity and social justice between peoples, sustainable development of all communities and protection of the global environment. CANSA has been at the forefront of representing the southern perspectives at international climate negotiations and undertakes inter-governmental, regional, and national actions. With its large membership base CANSA works towards linking policy activities, research and action-based work in the region to address and set workable solutions to the adverse effects of climate change affecting the region.

The Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI), founded in 1992, is a leading development research institute in Pakistan. It has a number of specified research programmes dedicated to catalyzing and supporting sustainable development within Pakistan and across South Asia, including programmes on sustainable livelihoods, social sector development and governance. SDPI maintains close engagement with policy makers and practitioners across all relevant sectors, including government, NGOs and international organisations.

Tadbeer Consulting and Research Organization is a multi-disciplinary organization, active in three major divisions; research, consultancy and capacity building. Tadbeer is built on a core staff of environmental and social scientists as well as monitoring and evaluation specialists.  The organization staff is supported by international and local associates for specific project assignments within their specialization. They have partnered with local and international development actors to contribute sustainably to development efforts that are appropriate for Afghanistan’s needs.