The Knowledge: Climate Change Policy versus “Char” People: An Anthropological Framework

By Asha Naznin.

Published by The International Journal of Climate Change: Impacts and Responses

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

The Bangladesh Government has already announced Bangladesh Climate Change Strategy and Action Plan 2009 (BCCSAP), publicly known as Climate Change Policy. By its own statement this is also part of the overall development initiatives of the country. The southern, coastal region of Bangladesh is considered the hardest hit due to rising sea levels as a result of climate change; it contains most of the Char (low lying Small Island, often described as raised riverbeds) community. But, the action plan doesn’t have any specific program for the Char community; in addition it didn’t count their knowledge and the root cause of vulnerability. In terms of local knowledge, this paper is going to focus on two Char communities of the Bhola district for various reasons; this community (1) is considered as extremely poor, usually deprived from land ownership and a conflict prone area over land resources, (2) is going to be the hardest hit due to rising sea levels and (3) has an extraordinary knowledge of coastal adaptation mechanisms. Besides these features, these communities seek social justice, which they think is the root cause of their vulnerability, not rising sea levels, and they do not believe that Char land will be drowned permanently. From this empirical study finding, I point out some local knowledge for BCCSAP, which has been overlooked but could be an influential factor in minimizing Char vulnerability to climate change and increasing the opportunity for successful policy action. Finally, this paper reveals it is ‘Donor’ whose knowledge has been considered in the climate change policy of Bangladesh.

Keywords: Char Community, Climate Change Policy, Knowledge, Land Conflict, Rising Sea Levels, Bangladesh

The International Journal of Climate Change: Impacts and Responses, Volume 4, Issue 3, pp.13-30. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 915.838KB).

Asha Naznin

MSc, 1st Batch, Climate Change and Development, Institute of Development Studies (IDS), Science Policy and Research Unit (SPRU), University of Sussex, Adam Smith International, UK

Asha Naznin is specialized in climate change and development and has experience as a multidisciplinary scientist, researcher and consultant. In recent years, Asha developed her expertise on a wide range of areas such as climate change resilience, water governance, river basin management, climate and migration etc. Asha holds several academic and professional awards. Beginning her career as a journalist, sociologist, later she turned her career as a climate change consultant and development professional. Asha is affiliated as an Associate Consultant of the Adam Smith International, UK for its Climate Resilient Infrastructure Development Facilities (CRIDF) project in the Southern Africa. She has served for the PANOS London, NTV UK, the Centre for Environmental and Geographic Information Services (CEGIS), Amader Gram Project, the Delft Institute of Technology, University of Dhaka, Research Initiatives, Bangladesh (RIB) and the daily Prothom Alo. Asha was awarded with the UNICEF’s Meena Media Award 2007 for her journalistic work in Bangladesh and Ananda-Alo literature award 2013 for her debut novel Shashuripuran (Uncovering the Mother-in Law). Asha holds a Master of Science degree in Climate Change and Development from the Institute of Development Studies (IDS) and the University of Sussex, UK. She did her 4 years Bachelors of Social Sciences and 1 year Masters in Sociology from the University of Dhaka. She is currently pursuing her further studies in Environmental Science at the Australian National University.

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