Dhaka and Chittagong working dialogues
On 9 and 10 September 2012, the Brooks World Poverty Institute's ClimUrb research programme, in collaboration with BRAC Development Institute, hosted working dialogues on urban poverty and climate change in Bangladesh’s two biggest cities – and two of the fastest growing cities in the world – Dhaka and Chittagong.
These events brought together a wide variety of key stakeholders at multiple levels. They highlighted the voices and perceptions of local government officials, elected representatives, the academic community and NGOs, alongside those of some our low-income respondents.
Participants spent the day discussing the key challenges faced by the urban poor, as well as how they are being exacerbated by climate change. They also explored the coping strategies on which low-income urban households are relying in vulnerable urban environments. They then considered how existing policies and programmes can be improved, so to better support the urban poor in advancing and strengthening these strategies.
Their discussions were diverse, passionate and at times heated, given the different perspectives and interests represented. They led, however, to broad agreements that we need more informed knowledge of the realities of urban poverty. We also need recognition of the innovative ways in which low-income households are struggling to secure their livelihoods under conditions of resource scarcity and extreme vulnerability. Only through doing so can existing policies can move beyond formal documents to implementation.
With Bangladesh’s cities continuing to grow rapidly, and millions of climate change-induced migrants expected to make the transition to urban life, our findings from this three-year research programme will be key to filling in these crucial knowledge gaps.
Panel of discussants at the Chittagong dialogue.