Security Challenges of Climate Change: Bangladesh Perspective

By Bashar, Iftekharul | Journal of Development Communication, June 2011 | Go to article overview

Security Challenges of Climate Change: Bangladesh Perspective


Bashar, Iftekharul, Journal of Development Communication


The global phenomenon of climate change is increasingly being recognised as a transnational challenge with complex and critical ramification on security, especially in developing countries. Analysing the current and emerging security implication of climate change in the context of Bangladesh, this paper argues that though climate change is a global phenomenon, some countries have comparatively high local vulnerability due to their geographic distinctiveness, demographic pattern and dynamics, resource scarcity and socio-economic factors like poverty. Effective international policy response to climate change with regard to vulnerable countries is dependent on in-depth and country-specific understanding of the problem. Though there have been attempts in the developed world to understand the impact of climate change on security, there exist a scope to understand the relations from the context and perspective of developing countries. Such context and perspective is expected to develop a broader and comparatively better understanding of the concerns of the people living in the zones of climate vulnerability and help the internal and external actors to respond to climate change in an enlightened and effective manner. The paper also intends to develop a multidisciplinary framework for understanding security challenges in the context of climate change in developing countries.

This paper focuses on Bangladesh as a developing country. In the first part, it discusses the evolving idea of security and Bangladesh's perspective on security. The second part discusses Bangladesh's geographical issues, population dynamics and climate vulnerabilities. The third part discusses the future of development in a changing climate, the forth part discusses regional climate scenario in South Asia, the fifth part discusses climate change and human migration in the context of Bangladesh , the fifth part analyses the impact of climate change on Bangladesh's Agriculture, the sixth part discusses Bangladesh's Responses to climate change, the seventh part discusses regional solutions for managing climate change, finally the paper draws some points from the discussion.

Situated at the geographic link way of South and Southeast Asia, Bangladesh has complex multidimensional security threats emanating from climate change. The security impact of climate change in Bangladesh needs to be understood in its unique geographic, demographic and economic and developmental context. The paper attempts to map the overall security impact of climate change and argues that domestic and international policy response to climate change in Bangladesh should consider a concerted and integrated multi-sector strategy addressing the current and emerging issues impinging on Bangladeshis water security, food security, and energy security.

The Evolving Idea of Security and Bangladesh's Perspective

The concept of security has undergone a tremendous change since the end of the Cold War. The inadequacy of realist or neorealist paradigm of security to meet the multifaceted threats to individual human beings and non human beings has impelled the scholars to move beyond even the most influential arguments of Stephen Walt in 1991 that security studies "should focus on the threat, use and control of military force". (1)

The multifarious nature of security threats and their diverse sources and severity signalled a broadening and deepening phase of conceptualising security in non-statist terms. Necessity of new thinking on security beyond statist discourse renewed in its most recent phase in 1980s beginning notably with Barry Buzan book People, State and Fear (2) and Richard Ullman's article "Redefining Security." (3)

But it was really with the end of the Cold War, it came to be broadly recognised that insecurity, instability and violence are brought about not by military aggression alone, but may have complex political, economic, socio-cultural and ecological origins. …

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