'If we make urban areas too much migrant-friendly, nobody will stay in villages'
Providing good facilities for urban migrants is never going to stop people from migrating to urban areas, instead, urban facilities should be made available in villages, and municipalities, speakers opined.
Deputy Minister for the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Habibun Nahar, said: “If we make urban areas too much migrant-friendly, nobody will stay in villages.”
She came up with the comment while speaking as the chief guest at the 4th Annual National Conference on Urban Resilience to Climate Change, hosted by the International Centre on Climate Change and Development (ICCCAD), at the Institute of Architects, Bangladesh on Thursday.
“No matter what we do, we cannot expand the size of this city,” she said.
She also said that 40% of the population in Dhaka lives in slum areas.
If people keep migrating to this city, the number of slums will increase, she said.
Palli Karma Sahayak Foundation Chairman Dr Qazi Kholiquzzaman Ahmad said that policies and planning should be designed in a way so that people would not want to migrate to urban areas.
He pointed out that sometimes it is difficult to make plans because of data unavailability.
“A survey should be done to know how many people are becoming homeless,” he said.
ActionAid Bangladesh Country Director Farah Kabir shed light on the psychosocial issues of the urban migrants.
She said young people should be trained to provide psychosocial first aid to the urban migrants who goes through trauma.
“The whole country should be climate resilient, not just the urban areas,” said Dr Shamsul Islam, senior secretary of Planning Commission (GED).
Dilruba Haider, program specialist of UN Women, said there should be a gender guideline for dealing with urban migration related issues, because women are more vulnerable when they migrate to a new city.
Following the plenary session, five individuals were awarded for their contributions to urban climate resilience.
The awardees are: Md. Zannatul Ferdous, mayor of Singra Municipality, Hasina Mushrofa, programme head of BRAC-UDP, Ahsan Rony, founder and president of Green Savers, Dr. Khalid Hossain, program manager of Oxfam, and Shafiqul Islam, assistant engineer of Shariatpur Municipality.