Saleemul Huq: Developing Climate Resilient Migrant Friendly Towns in Bangladesh to Tackle Future Climate Migration
Russell Van Nest Black Lecture
Saleemul Huq has been the director of the International Centre for Climate Change and Development (ICCCAD) at Independent University, Bangladesh, since 2009. He is also a senior fellow at the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED).
Prior to joining ICCCAD, Huq was a director of the Climate Change Programme at the IIED. He has worked extensively in the interlinkages between climate change (both mitigation as well as adaptation) and sustainable development from the perspective of the developing countries, with special emphasis on least developed countries. Before that he was the founding executive director at the Bangladesh Centre for Advanced Studies, a leading independent research and policy think tank in Bangladesh.
Huq completed his B.Sc. (with honors) in 1975 from Imperial College London, and his Ph.D. in plant sciences also from Imperial College in 1978. He has published numerous articles in scientific and popular journals, was a lead author of the chapter on adaptation and sustainable development in the third assessment report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), and was one of the coordinating lead authors of "Interrelationships between Adaptation and Mitigation" in the IPCC's Fourth Assessment Report (2007). He is also the author of "Streamlining Adaptation to Climate Change into Development Projects at the National and Local Level," in European Parliament, Financing Climate Change Policies in Developing Countries (2008).
Bangladesh is one of the most vulnerable countries to climate change and is expected to have around 10 million climate-change refugees — mainly from low-lying coastal regions — due to sea-level rise over the next few decades. These migrants will almost certainly end up mostly in Dhaka, which is already the fastest-growing megacity in the world and would have great difficulty absorbing so many climate change–induced refugees. We have identified approximately 20 secondary towns around the country with current populations of around half a million that could potentially absorb another half a million refugees each, and are developing a program for making these secondary towns into climate-resilient, migrant-friendly towns.