Bangladesh, with up to 19.9 million internal climate migrants by 2050, is likely to have almost half the projected internal climate migrants for the entire South Asia region, says the latest Groundswell report 2021 of the World Bank.
According to the report, in the pessimistic reference scenario, South Asia is projected to have 35.7 million climate migrants by 2050 (1.6 percent of the total population; this is the ensemble average). This reflects the region's high vulnerability to climate change impacts, particularly in coastal and deltaic areas facing sea-level rise and storm surges.
Bangladesh drives the numbers in the region, with a projected 13.3 million climate migrants in the pessimistic reference scenario, or 37 percent of the region's projected climate migrants. Indeed, in Bangladesh, climate migration could outpace other internal migrations by 2050.
In the more inclusive development scenario, the ensemble average of climate migrants in the region overall is cut by 40 percent (down 14.6 million) in comparison, while in the more climate-friendly scenario, it is cut by over 50 percent (down 18.8 million). Here too, sustained development gains and lessening climate change impacts on highly densely populated vulnerable areas will be crucial.
In the first Groundswell report, Bangladesh was projected to account for a third of internal climate migrants in South Asia by 2050 in the pessimistic reference scenario, due to its growing population and high vulnerability to climate change. Model results showed that in all scenarios, urban and coastal areas could see dampened growth as climate out-migration hotspots, as sea-level rise, augmented by storm surges, would make them less liveable.
Bangladesh's Perspective Plan 2021–2041 factors in climate change as a driver of future migration and shifting population centres, while also recognising migration as a potential adaptation option for people living in the most vulnerable areas.
It also acknowledges the need for both incremental and transformational approaches to build resilience to climate change in key sectors, especially agriculture. The Bangladesh Delta Plan 2100, adopted in September 2018, lays out a comprehensive strategy for managing risks in delta regions, including those from climate change. Bangladesh has also adopted a strategy to develop secondary cities and towns and make them hubs of innovation, providing new economic, education, and employment opportunities
The report has four policy recommendations that could reduce the number of people forced to move because of climate change by 80%.
The ensemble Groundswell reports show that by 2050, as many as 216 million people could be internal climate migrants across the six World Bank regions- Sub-Saharan Africa could see as many as 85.7 million internal climate migrants (4.2 percent of the total population); East Asia and the Pacific, 48.4 million (2.5 percent of the total population); South Asia, 40.5 million (1.8 percent of the total population); North Africa, 19.3 million (9.0 percent of the total population); Latin America, 17.1 million (2.6 percent of the total population); and Eastern Europe and Central Asia, 5.1 million (2.3 percent of the total population).