CLIMATE DISPLACEMENT LAND INITIATIVE
(2016 - 2020)
As our name suggests, Displacement Solutions works on finding solutions to climate displacement. Over the past decade we have been working in the field in some of the countries hardest hit by climate change, from Bangladesh and Kiribati, to Panama and the Maldives. Our work centres around communities whose homes will soon or have already become uninhabitable due to the effects of climate change.
We are one of very few international organizations that works on this issue through practical programmes in the field, as well as through efforts to improve national and international legal, policy, and institutional frameworks. We are also the only organization that focuses on what we believe is at the very centre of solving climate displacement – land. Much of our effort is directed towards finding alternative land and housing for communities already facing or threatened with losing their homes to the effects of climate change.
We work with a wide range of partners, including communities affected by climate displacement, grassroots organisations, governments, UN and other international agencies, NGOs and academic institutions.
Humanity has never faced a greater challenge than climate change. While the most dramatic impacts of climate-change, such as the complete submersion of island states like the Maldives, are many years in the future, climate disasters are already displacing tens of millions of people worldwide every year. Over the past decades, natural disasters have increased in force and frequency, forcing hundreds of millions to leave their homes in a bid to survive. As recent floods, storms, and droughts have shown, the current system is ill-prepared to effectively respond to the enormity of this challenge.
Building on our work since 2007 to repair climate displacement with land-based solutions and planned relocation since, from 2016-2020 DS will implement a five-year plan in five focus countries to secure housing, land and property rights for as many climate displaced communities as possible. Our book – REPAIRING DOMESTIC CLIMATE DISPLACEMENT: THE PENINSULA PRINCIPLES, was published in September 2015 by Routledge.
Join us to find land solutions for the world’s climate displaced communities!
From the first days of DS involvement in questions of climate displacement, we have advocated for land-based and rights-based practical solutions for those forced to flee their homes and lands. This work commenced in 2007 with our efforts to secure some 7000 acres of land on the island of Bougainville for the 3000-strong community of the Carteret Islands, and now forms a core part of our global work plan. DS has worked directly on these issues in a range of countries.
In Bangladesh, we have identified 10 land parcels in Chittagong district that we and our partners YPSA are now seeking to acquire to provide new land resources for the growing climate displaced population in eastern Bangladesh. Our aim is to have the first parcels ready for relocation by the end of 2015, and it is our fervent hope that this method of securing new land resources for at least some of those who are no longer able to live on land they once called home can form a precedent-setting model that will inspire the government of Bangladesh to pursue similar projects at a much larger-scale level throughout the country.
We are also active in Panama, working with the Gunayala indigenous communities of the eastern coastline of the country to find the best way to protect the rights of the up to 30,000 that are now contemplating leaving their small islands for new settlements on the mainland.
We were the first organisation to visit the 6000 acre land site in Fiji recently purchased by the government of Kiribati, and also the only group that has sought to estimate the total amount of land required globally to ensure access to new land resources for the entire current and future climate displaced population of the planet; which lies somewhere between 12.5-50 million acres, or 0.14% of the Earth’s land surface (roughly the size of Costa Rica up to the size of Uganda). DS is now expanding our work on the land sector and intends to further advance the stubble for land across the globe.
BOOK: REPAIRING DOMESTIC CLIMATE DISPLACEMENT
Our book Repairing Domestic Climate Displacement: The Peninsula Principles is now available from Routledge. Edited by DS Director Scott Leckie and long-time DS associate Chris Huggins, the ten chapter edited volume brings together chapters by many leading experts on the question of climate displacement. The book analyses in detail each of the 18 principles comprising the Peninsula Principles, and explores how the perspectives taken within this normative framework can be used as a basis for repairing climate displacement within States.
The book can be purchased here.
BOOK: LAND SOLUTIONS FOR CLIMATE DISPLACEMENT
Land Solutions for Climate Displacement, edited by DS founder and director Scott Leckie, is based on field work in more than a dozen frontline countries already grappling with climate displacement including Bangladesh, Fiji, Kiribati, Panama, Papua New Guinea, and Tuvalu. The book is the first in a new series of books published by Routledge on Development, Displacement and Resettlement.
It argues that the mass human displacement expected to be caused by climate change can be prevented and repaired through policies focusing on ensuring access to land for those affected.
It is the first publication to attempt to calculate the precise amount of land resources that will be required to provide new land and livelihood options for the growing number of people forced to flee their homes.
The book can be purchased here.
REPORT: FINDING LAND SOLUTIONS TO CLIMATE DISPLACEMENT: A CHALLENGE LIKE FEW OTHERS
This DS report examines the real world challenges of securing and repurposing land to resettle people displaced by climate change. It takes an in-depth look at DS’ efforts to secure new homes for lost homes and new lands for lost land for people already on the move due to the consequences of global sea-level rise, melting arctic ice and severe weather events, in several climate-affected countries.
This 112-page report proposes a number of practical recommendations for governments and advocacy NGOs that will assist in resolving climate displacement, including land acquisition, planned relocation measures and creative methods of compensation.
CLIMATE CHANGE DISPLACED PERSONS AND HOUSING LAND AND PROPERTY RIGHTS
Preliminary Strategies for Rights-Based Planning and Programming to Resolve Climate-Induced Displacement
This 2009 publication was one of the first to examine the distinct housing, land and property rights challenges facing people and communities displaced due to climate change. The report provide a series of practical preliminary strategies for securing these rights and forms the foundation for all subsequent work by DS towards finding land solutions to climate displacement. It can be accessed here.
Bangladesh is one of the countries most vulnerable to the effects of climate change. The regular and severe natural hazards that Bangladesh already suffers from – tropical cyclones, river erosion, landslides and drought – are all set to increase in intensity and frequency as a result of climate change. Sea level rise will increasingly inundate coastal land in Bangladesh and dramatic coastal and river erosion will destroy lands and homes. These and the many other adverse effects of climate change will severely impact the economy and development of the country.
One of the most dramatic impacts will be the forced movement of people throughout Bangladesh as a result of losing their homes, lands, property and livelihoods to the effects of climate change. While it is impossible to predict completely accurate figures of how many people will be displaced by climate change, the best current estimates state that sea level rise alone will displace 18 million Bangladeshis within the next 40 years. The vast majority of these people will be displaced within Bangladesh – not across international borders – presenting the Government with enormous challenges, particularly when it comes to finding places to live and work for those displaced.
Displacement Solutions and Young Power in Social Action (YPSA) have been engaged for several years on the issue of climate displacement in Bangladesh as part of the multi-faceted Bangladesh Housing, Land and Property Rights Initiative. The Initiative has undertaken a series of fact-finding missions to all corners of Bangladesh, in-depth research and analysis projects, and extensive engagement with government and non-government stakeholders, including climate displaced communities throughout the country.
The Initiative acts on the basis that land will play a key role in ensuring solutions for the current and future millions of persons who will be displaced across Bangladesh due to the effects of climate change. The Initiative also works on the basis that – in the absence of regional or international obligations to receive and protect climate displaced persons as refugees – that Bangladesh must focus on domestic solutions to climate displacement.
Further details on the work of the Bangladesh HLP Initiative, including publications, resources and updates can be accessed below.
For further information about the work of the Bangladesh HLP Initiative, please contact: email@example.com
Displacement Solutions and our partners Young Power in Social Action (YPSA) have been working since 2011 to find innovative rights-based solutions to climate displacement in Bangladesh.
Some of the recent highlights of the Bangladesh HLP Initiative include:
EU WORKSHOP IN DHAKA – “GROWTH AND CLIMATE CHANGE OPPORTUNITIES AND CHALLENGES IN BANGLADESH”
On 27 October 2015, on behalf of the Bangladesh HLP Initiative, Young Power in Social Action (YPSA) presented at the Delegation of the European Union, BRAC and the Centre for Climate Change and Environmental Research (C3ER), BRAC University high-level workshop on “Growth and Climate Change: Opportunities and Challenges in Bangladesh”.
This half day event was an opportunity for strategic policy dialogue and technical contributions in preparation of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) 21st Conference of the Parties (CoP) that will take place in Paris in December. Presentations of global initiatives and reports on climate change by representatives of development partners were complemented by interventions by high Government officials, the private sector, civil society and researchers from C3ER, BRAC University.
YPSA shared their perspectives and experience working to prevent and resolve climate displacement in Bangladesh, as part of the Bangladesh HLP Initiative with Displacement Solutions.
DHAKA TRIBUNE – THE CRITICAL ROLE OF LAND IN SOLVING CLIMATE DISPLACEMENT
The Article highlights that Bangladesh needs to plan for the relocation of communities at extreme risk of displacement from climate hazards.
The Article is available online here.
DHAKA TRIBUNE – THE URGENT NEED FOR RIGHTS BASED SOLUTIONS TO CLIMATE DISPLACEMENT IN BANGLADESH
The Article highlights that solutions to climate displacement are possible within Bangladesh, but they must be founded on the human rights of affected communities.
The Article is available online here.
NOW AVAILABLE – UPDATED GUIDANCE NOTE ON LAND SOLUTIONS TO CLIMATE DISPLACEMENT IN BANGLADESH
An updated version of the Guidance Note on New Land for Climate Displaced Persons in Bangladesh is now available.
This Guidance Note shows that, with improvements in place, the distribution of state-owned (khas) land could provide an important solution to climate displacement in Bangladesh.
This Guidance Note examines the current process of distributing state-owned land in Bangladesh under the Khas system, as well as under the “CharDevelopment and Settlement Project”. It provides a step-by-step overview of how the distribution processes work in practice and identifies a number of shortcomings in each. Concrete recommendations for how these processes could be improved are also provided.
Click here to access the updated Guidance Note.
BENGALI VERSION OF THE POCKET GUIDE ON THE RIGHTS OF CLIMATE DISPLACED PERSONS
The Bangladesh HLP Initiative has released a Bengali language version of the Pocket Guide on the Rights of Climate Displaced Persons.
An electronic version of the Bengali version of the Pocket Book can be accessed here.
This Guide is written in non-technical language and is made specifically for climate displaced persons themselves.
As stated in the introduction to the Guide: “The aim of this guide is to provide practical, easy to follow advice on what people displaced from their homes and lands by climate change can do to get help.”
Based on the full body of international human rights law and The Peninsula Principles on Climate Displacement Within States, this quick guide provides concrete steps that climate displaced persons can take to get help, and it does so with reference to case studies of actual climate displaced communities.
Please contact Displacement Solutions at firstname.lastname@example.org if you and your community would like assistance in contacting NGOs or other organisations that may be able to provide you with further advice.
Please also contact us if you would like a hard copy of the Guide, which we can send to you free of charge.
WORKSHOP FOR BANGLADESHI LAWYERS AND JUDGES ON THE RIGHTS OF CLIMATE DISPLACED PERSONS
On 9 July 2015, The Bangladesh HLP Initiative held an orientation on the rights of climate displaced persons for lawyers and judges from the Chittagong Bar Association.
The workshop launched the new Bengali version of the Pocket Guide on “The Rights of Climate Displaced Persons” and discussed the important role that Judges and Lawyers can play to protect the rights of climate displaced persons in Bangladesh. The workshop also discussed the possibility of legal aid supporting legal actions to protect the rights of climate displaced persons.
The legal group committed to take further action to raise awareness of the rights of climate displaced persons, to take public interest cases under the Constitution of Bangladesh and to advocate for positive law and policy reform.
Displacement Solutions would like to thank Young Power in Social Action for organising this important event as well as to the lawyers and judges of the Chittagong Bar Association and Bangladesh Legal Aid Service who participated in this workshop.
DS MISSION TO BANGLADESH – APRIL 2015
In April 2015, DS representative Ezekiel Simperingham visited Bangladesh as part on the ongoing Bangladesh HLP Initiative.
During the mission, DS and local partner Young Power in Social Action (YPSA)participated in the Nansen Initiative South Asia and Indian Ocean Intergovernmental Regional Consultationin Khulna.
DS also travelled to Dacope district to again meet with communities affected by the impacts of climate change in this vulnerable coastal region of Bangladesh.
In Dhaka, DS met with representatives from UNHCR, AFD, the Delegation of the European Union to Bangladesh, USAID, DFID and the Embassy of Sweden in Bangladesh. In these discussions, DS raised awareness of the situation of climate displacement in Bangladesh, the rights of climate displaced persons and the work and plans of Displacement Solutions and the Bangladesh HLP Initiative.
INNOVATIVE NEW WORK ON LAND SOLUTIONS TO CLIMATE DISPLACEMENT WITHIN BANGLADESH
The work of the DS-YPSA Bangladesh HLP Initiative centres on our view that rather than focusing on technological or engineering solutions to climate adaptation (which, in many instances, will have only very short-term impacts) or placing faith in the good will of the international community to accept Bangladesh’s “climate refugees”, it makes far more sense and stands a far greater chance of success if this focus is instead placed on the prospects of internal relocation within the borders of Bangladesh as the primary solution to ongoing climate displacement.
If pursued cleverly and supported by sub-district, district, divisional and national governments, concrete, human rights-based and land-based HLP solutions are available in Bangladesh for the vast majority of the current climate displaced population, as well as for most of those to be affected by the anticipated displacement in coming decades.
The Bangladesh HLP Initiative is a complex, multi-year and multi-layered plan designed to empower Bangladesh’s displaced communities to realise their HLP rights through a detailed process involving training and capacity building, monitoring where and how climate displacement occurs in the country on a regular basis, acquiring and allocating land from private individuals and government for the exclusive use of climate displaced families, preparing model relocation housing sites, designing and building prototype climate-resilient housing and various advocacy measures.
One of the key areas of intervention concerns the identification of land that could be distributed to climate displaced communities to enable them to re-establish homes on safer land. DS and YPSA have identified 10 land parcels in Chittagong district that we are now seeking to acquire to provide new land resources for the growing climate displaced population in eastern Bangladesh. Our aim is to have the first parcels ready for relocation by 2016, and it is our fervent hope that this method of securing new land resources for at least some of those who are no longer able to live on land they once called home can form a precedent-setting model that will inspire the government of Bangladesh to pursue similar projects at a much larger-scale level throughout the country.
For more information about this innovative work, please contact email@example.com
ROUND TABLE DISCUSSION IN DHAKA ON THE RIGHTS OF CLIMATE DISPLACED PERSONS
On 1 September 2014, the Bangladesh HLP Initiative held a major round table discussion on the rights of climate displaced persons in Bangladesh.
The round table launched the DS and YPSA Mapping Study on “Climate Displacement in Bangladesh: Stakeholders, Laws and Policies – Mapping the Existing Institutional Framework”.
Participants and guests included Dr. Hasan Mahmud, MP Chairman of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Environment and Forest and former Minister for Environment and Forest; Dr. Niaz Ahmed Khan, Chairman, Department of Development Studies, Dhaka University; Md. Rafiqul Alam, Chief Executive of Dwip Unnayan Sangstha; Md. Shamsuddoha, Chief Executive of Centre for Participatory Research and Development (CPRD); Sujit Chowdhury, Senior Advisor of Climate Change at the German Embassy Bangladesh; AKM Sirajul Islam, Paribesh Bachao Andolon; Mihir Kanti Biswas, Bangladesh Paribesh Andolon; Alisan Subrata Baroi, Director of Sushanar Jonno Pracharabhijan; Mizanur Rahman Bijoy, Network on Climate Change of Bangladesh; Aminul Rasul Babul, Executive Director of Unnayan Dhara Trust; Rafiqul Islam Montu, Special Correspondence, BanglaNews24 and Gaohar Nayeem, Convenor, Disaster Forum of Bangladesh.
Thanks to YPSA and to the many guests and participants at this important event.
THE PENINSULA PRINCIPLES ON CLIMATE DISPLACEMENT WITHIN STATES – NOW AVAILABLE IN BENGALI
To add to the English, Spanish, Vietnamese, Arabic and Romanian versions of the Peninsula Principles on Climate Displacement Within States, the Principles are now available in Bengali. DS thanks Young Power in Social Action (YPSA) for this translation.
The Bengali translation of the Principles can be accessed here.
Fiji lies at one of the global epicentres of climate displacement, both in terms of internal displacement within the country, as well as acting as a potential port of call for climate displaced populations from nearby Kiribati and Tuvalu should conditions in those countries deteriorate further.
Many of Fiji’s 900,000 people are already suffering the effects of climate change. The government has therefore already determined that more than 676 villages will be affected by climate change and that many of these will need to be relocated in the coming years because of rising sea levels, with as many as 42 villages to be potentially relocated during the next decade. Several villages have already been relocated, including the villager-initiated relocation of Vunidogoloa. The government’s Climate Change Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is currently preparing a national climate relocation policy, and in many respects has led the world in finding land-based solutions to climate displacement. The Fiji Housing, Land and Property (HLP) Initiative will draw on DS’ extensive experience and partnership networks in the region and will work with the Pacific Conference of Churches to assist the government in ensuring that these large-scale relocations are carried out in an organised and planned process, where human rights are at the forefront of the entire effort. This project will involve fieldwork in Fiji designed to improve the planned relocation prospects of villagers throughout the country who are now threatened with climate displacement.
A growing proportion of the 560,000 people who call the Solomon Islands home have been or will be affected by climate displacement. A series of internal relocation measures have already been undertaken across the country, with further relocation plans to be implemented in the coming five-year period. Most of the relocation undertaken thus far has been in the provinces of Malaita and Temotu. Low-lying coastal areas on the mainland, notably Lilisiana on Auki Harbour, as well as the entire atoll of Ontong Java – which is one of the world’s largest atolls – are also slated for relocation due to continually worsening conditions.
Climate relocation is always complex and fraught with countless challenges. This is also the case in the Solomon Islands – a nation which recently endured a brutal internal conflict – due to potentially explosive land disputes because of cultural differences between different groups that will increasingly be forced to live in close proximity to one another as a result of climate relocation.
The government of the Solomon Islands has developed a number of national policies and plans which recognize the need for the resettlement of communities affected by climate change and the acquisition of land for this purpose. These provide a solid basis for the work planned under the CDLI to develop a clear framework on how this will take place. In particular, the acquisition of customary land for relocation needs to be examined carefully in the Solomons due to the complexity of the system, and the need for an adequate process of consultation and negotiation between landowners, Churches and the state. DS has extensive experience in the Solomon Islands, including a two-month research visit to Ontong Java in mid-2015, and maintains wide networks in the country.
Colombia combines a very extensive coastal area on the Atlantic and Pacific oceans with Andean mountains, which are split into three separate ranges, covering a large portion of the country’s territory. Historical patterns of human settlement have resulted in the fact that approximately 70% of the Colombian population lives in mountainous areas. Extreme weather-related events in these zones typically result in floods, landslides and avalanches. As a result of extreme weather-related events associated with “La Niña” phenomenon during 2010 and 2011, Colombia suffered the worst flooding and mudslides in recorded history. Some three million Colombians were affected by the extreme weather, with economic losses calculated at more than US$6 billion.
DS has worked in Colombia conducting research on climate displacement resulting from the 2010- 2011 rains, focusing on the climate displacement and planned relocation of approximately 3,000 residents of the municipality of Gramalote, and published a detailed report on this situation in 2015. The Colombian case offers a unique opportunity to build and learn from the experience of the planned relocation of Gramalote. During the coming five-year period, DS plans to work with the Association of Leaders from Gramalote, the Municipality of Gramalote, the national government, and local NGOs to promote HLP rights and durable solutions for the displaced population in Gramalote and other areas under threat of climate displacement elsewhere in Colombia.
CLIMATE DISPLACEMENT AND PLANNED RELOCATION IN COLOMBIA: THE CASE OF GRAMALOTE
In March 2015, a fact-finding mission from Displacement Solutions visited Colombia to examine a recent situation of climate change displacement and relocation.
Climate Displacement and Planned Relocation in Colombia: The Case of Gramalote details the tragedy of the people of Gramalote, a town in northeastern Colombia, which was completely destroyed by extreme flooding and landslides during “La Niña” in December 2010, leaving thousands homeless. Some 3,300 people were evacuated after the disaster and to this day are living as displaced people in temporary accommodation nearby.
Following the disaster, the government of Colombia commenced a far-reaching process to relocate and rebuild the town of Gramalote, in the words of the President “better than ever before”. The report examines the status of the relocation process almost five years later. It also explores the application of the 2013 Peninsula Principles on Climate Displacement Within States to the situation in Colombia. The document is available in English and Spanish and can be accessed here.
In Panama, the increased attention to relocation has arisen due to a series of natural disasters and weather-related events that have affected the islands of Gunayala over the last ten years. These weather-related events have put pressure on the Guna communities to start looking for long-term alternatives.
DS has been working with the Gunayala indigenous communities of the eastern coastline of the country to find the best way to protect the rights of the up to 30,000 that are now contemplating leaving their small islands for new settlements on the mainland.
THE PENINSULA PRINCIPLES IN ACTION: CLIMATE CHANGE AND DISPLACEMENT IN THE AUTONOMOUS REGION OF GUNAYALA, PANAMA
In 2014, DS launched The Peninsula Principles in Action: Climate Change and Displacement in the Autonomous Region of Gunayala, Panama, which presents the results of a fact-finding mission to assess the situation in the Gunayala indigenous community which is already experiencing large-scale displacement because of climate change. The report is available here in English and here in Spanish.
The Peninsula Principles have guided the work of all parties during this process and it is hoped that these Principles will continue to influence government policies on relocation in Panama to ensure that the rights of all Gunayala people are protected in full.
YOUR CHANCE TO HELP SOLVE CLIMATE DISPLACEMENT – ONE HOUSE AT A TIME
If You’ve Ever Wondered How to Solve Climate Displacement, Join Displacement Solutions in Ensuring New Homes and New Lands for the Climate Displaced People of Bangladesh
Bangladesh is one of the most climate vulnerable countries on earth. One of the most devastating impacts of climate change in Bangladesh is the forced displacement of people from their homes and lands – as a result of rising sea levels, increasing tropical cyclones, storm surges, flooding, landslides and drought.
But there is a way for these people to rebuild their lives. There is a way out. There is a solution.
That solution starts with land.
In Bangladesh, Displacement Solutions (DS) along with our partners Young Power in Social Action (YPSA) have travelled across the country, meeting with climate affected communities, discussing their needs and options, meeting government officials, NGO leaders, UN officials, academics, journalists and many others. From this work it has become abundantly clear that climate displacement in Bangladesh can be resolved in many cases through providing access to new land for climate affected communities.
After more than seven years working in the country, as a pilot project to our larger Climate Displacement Land Initiative (CDLI), DS and YPSA have identified ten land parcels near Chittagong which could be suitable as relocation sites for climate displaced people in the country.
Our ultimate aim is to secure sufficient land to support 100 climate-displaced families, one family at a time. The project has identified several plots of land in Sitakund, Chittagong Division, located near a small market town and has good access to Chittagong, Bangladesh’s second largest city – known as the business capital of the country. There is considerable scope for the 100 families to find meaningful jobs in the surrounding agricultural lands, or as day labourers in the nearby towns or to continue their previous livelihoods fishing along the Bay of Bengal.
The initial group of people who will move to this land will be climate-displaced families from nearby Sandwip Island. Sandwip Island is at the forefront of climate change in Bangladesh – suffering from increasing food and water insecurity and being constantly eroded by sea level rise, storm surges and flooding year by year.
Whilst some people have been able to leave Sandwip Island, the most impoverished and vulnerable have been forced to remain behind. It is these people that will make up the initial 100 families to move to sites in Sitakund. YPSA has a regular presence on the Island and will work with local communities to select, on an equitable basis, the first 100 families which wish to move to the new safe location where they can begin their lives anew.
What you can do to solve climate displacement in Bangladesh
For USD 8,400- you can personally ensure that one climate displaced family ends their displacement and can start to rebuild their lives, with dignity. This will include: Access to developed land in Sitakund, Chittagong, the construction of a three room house with kitchen and washing facilities, a deep tube well to provide safe drinking water, and a solar system for the house. YPSA will provide ongoing support and evaluation of livelihood opportunities, healthcare and education.
Not only will this ensure that climate displaced persons receive the best possible chance of rebuilding their lives, but Bangladesh and the world will see that solutions to climate displacement are possible. That climate displacement can be solved one house and one family at a time.
We have already succeeded in raising funds for the first two houses under this project and hope to have assisted 100 families by the end of 2016 and would welcome any support you may wish to provide.
If you would like to join in our efforts to solve climate displacement in Bangladesh or would like any additional information about the One Family and One House at a Time project please feel free to contact DS Director Scott Leckie – firstname.lastname@example.org
DS will carry out full legal and regulatory oversight of this project and will ensure full accountability and transparency of activities undertaken with your donation. This will include the publication of regular updates, reports and photographs.