Speakers at a policy dialogue yesterday emphasised long-term planning to create sustainable cities for all, as “around 26 million people in Bangladesh will move from their places of origin by 2050”.
In parallel with decentralising sources of livelihood earnings to divisional and other major cities, they also stressed on coordination among different government authorities, policy coherence and development of a system in this regard.
Refugee and Migratory Movements Research Unit (RMMRU) organised the event at Cirdap, in collaboration with International Center for Climate Change and Development (ICCCAD), University of Exeter and Durham University -- both from the UK. Prof Neil Adger of Exeter University and Meraz Mostafa, research officer of ICCAD, presented research findings of two recently-completed studies on human security and wellbeing of new migrants of Chattogram city.
RMMRU, Exeter University and Sussex University, and ICCAD jointly conducted the studies from November 2017 to January 2019.
Prof Adger, in his keynote address, underscored the need for formalising all sorts of arrangements for civic facilities in cities.
Speaking as chief guest at the concluding session, Planning Minister MA Mannan said domestic migration will continue. “We can't stop it. We would like to help make better towns.”
“We would like to coordinate, and change things so that at the end of the day, city dwellers, new migrants, [and] old migrants… can live in peace,” he added.
He also stated that the government is ready to welcome any kind of policy-level thinking from organisations.
In 2017, around one million people were internally displaced in the country, said Dr Enamur Rahman, state minister for disaster management and relief, referring to data of Internal Displacement Monitoring Center.
For this reason, “We have to keep finding ways to make cities safe and sustainable, and the government is doing its best in this regard,” he added.
Shaheenul Islam Khan, chief town planner of Chattogram Development Authority, said, “While planning for cities, it is important to keep accommodation arrangement for people in accordance to their place of work.”
Shimul Sen, senior assistant chief of General Economic Division, said the government is trying to bring coordination among ministries to implement sustainable development goals.
Chaired by Prof Tasneem Siddiqui of RMMRU, city planners and researchers also took part in the discussion.