RELEASE: Climate Change, Migration, and Conflict in South Asia
Contact: Christina DiPasquale
Washington, D.C. — Today, as the effects of climate change are gaining increased attention due to recent natural disasters and the international climate talks taking place in Doha, the Center for American Progress released “Climate Change, Migration, and Conflict in South Asia,” which examines the role of climate change as it intersects with migration and security broadly at the national level in India and Bangladesh. This report zeroes in more closely on northeast India and Bangladesh to demonstrate the interlocking tensions that might face the population in the future, there and writ large across all of South Asia.
The new CAP report identifies the northeast Indian province of Assam as a test case for the overlap of climate, migration, and security concerns in South Asia because of its existing climate vulnerability and tensions surrounding migration. This province is examined closely because tensions surrounding unauthorized Bangladeshi migration there could become more pronounced in the future if climate change displaces or appears to displace residents across the subcontinent.
As the United States shifts its strategic focus to the Asia Pacific, a clear understanding of climate change and human mobility will be central to development and security goals in the region and for this reason, the report discusses three policy collaborations that the United States can initiate with South Asian partners as these complex crisis scenarios unfold in the wake of climate change: high-level climate-vulnerable cities workshops, an open dialogue on migration, and ecological infrastructure development.
The United States has the opportunity to build vital partnerships with countries in the region to mutually cope with climate change. Hurricane Sandy, a record breaking year of drought, heat waves, and extreme weather proved that potential impacts of climate change are not problems of distant shores; they are a globally shared burden. The United States has much to learn and offer in the way of best practices as climate change worsens in the decades to come.
Large cities in the United States, such as New York and Miami, will be hit hard with extreme weather in very similar ways as South Asian megacities such as Dhaka and Mumbai. Partnering with India and Bangladesh in complex climate scenarios is smart policy and smart diplomacy for the United States.
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