Meaningful and concerted efforts are essential to face the challenges stemming from climate-induced migration, according to experts and stakeholders.
At a policy dialogue in Dhaka on Monday, they warned that millions of people in the country will face the climate migration fallout if solid countermeasures are not in place immediately.
"Today we are talking about only the areas that have the engagement and support by the IOM [International Organization for Migration]. But are we really talking about the meaningful action plan," Saber Hossain Chowdhury, chair of the Parliamentary Standing Committee of the Environment Ministry, told the event jointly convened by the foreign ministry and the IOM.
"Are we going to address the symptoms or the disease," he asked, after terming the climate change the disease. "If we cannot solve the problem, all of these dialogues will lead us to more dialogues only."
At the dialogue titled "Human Mobility in the Context of Climate Change: Towards a Common Narrative and Action Pathway", Saber Hossain Chowdhury said, "We need more action, and the international community has to deliver on their commitments."
He said, "When we talk about the action plan, we have to have more funds from the international community for adaptation."
According to the World Bank, the number of people displaced by the impacts of climate change could reach 1.33 crore in Bangladesh by 2050, making it the country's number-one driver of internal migration.
As the chief guest of the event, Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen said, "Around 60 lakh people in Bangladesh have already been displaced by the climate emergency. Such displacement is mounting a burden on Dhaka and other major cities of the country."
"Bangladesh is already hosting 12 lakh forcibly displaced Rohingyas from Myanmar at the cost of massive environmental loss and ecological damage in Cox's Bazar. The government is countenancing these twin displacement challenges, while also accelerating the trajectory of our socio-economic development," said the foreign minister.
"We commit to direct our diplomatic efforts towards amplifying the voice of the climate migrants the way we have remained steadfast in keeping the Rohingya crisis alive in all relevant international deliberations," he added.
Ugochi Daniels, IOM's deputy director general for operations, called for working together for a climate-smart Bangladesh.
She said the IOM is strongly committed to develop solutions for people impacted by climate change, including people on the move, people seeking to move and those seeking to stay.
Among others, UN Resident Coordinator in Bangladesh Gwyn Lewis, IOM Bangladesh's Chief of Mission Abdusattor Esoev, Environment Secretary Farhina Ahmed and climate expert Saleemul Haque, spoke at the event.
Caroline Dumas, special envoy for Migration and Climate Action, IOM, and Golam Rabbani, head of Climate Bridge Fund Secretariat, shared keynote papers.