DECCMA participates in webinar on gender roles in water scarcity-induced migration

by Katharine Vincent

Creating evidence to contribute to policy support for gender-sensitive adaptation in deltas requires significant sex-disaggregated data and investigation of gender implications of migration. DECCMA has, so far, surveyed 6000 households across four deltas in migrant-sending areas, and is in the process of surveying a further 6000 households in migrant-receiving areas.

Where possible in the survey, the household head and an adult of the other sex have been separately surveyed, giving rise to a significant data set. This illuminates gender differences in the causes, patterns and consequences of migration, and was highlighted by DECCMA during a webinar on “Gender roles in water scarcity-induced migration.”

The webinar took place as part of the GEF International Waters: LEARN project (gender sub-component), undertaken by UNESCO’s World Water Assessment Programme and the World Wildlife Fund (WWF). The aim of this project is to raise awareness of the importance of gender mainstreaming and how to do it in international waters project. They recently published a report on “Migration and its interdependencies with water scarcity, gender and youth“.

Senior Bangladeshi policy maker visits University of Southampton

By Alexander Chapman, University of Southampton

Professor Shamsul Alam, Senior Secretary of the General Economics Division (GED), Government of Bangladesh visited the University of Southampton (24-25 August 2017) to continue our collaboration on several large delta-focused projects.

Prof Alam visit

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The severe flooding ongoing in Northern Bangladesh, which has destroyed an estimated 640,500 homes, highlights the threat the country faces from a wetter, more extreme, future climate. As head of GED Prof. Alam oversees the development strategy in Bangladesh, including the design of over 70 large projects associated with the Bangladesh Delta Plan 2100, the centrepiece of the country’s response to climate change.

In his meeting with Southampton’s Vice Chancellor & President, Professor Sir Christopher Snowden, Prof Alam emphasised the importance of designing interventions which give consideration to the complexities of the social-ecological system of the Ganges-Brahmaputra-Meghna Delta (GBM). In the low-lying GBM, where interactions with upstream developments, flooding and storm surges, and rural livelihoods are constantly changing actions can often have detrimental effects if not systemically analysed. Through three ongoing multi-million pound research projects the University of Southampton and its partner The Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (BUET) aim to provide integrated systems modelling support to the government. Our work will help stakeholders, drawn from a cross section of society, understand the impacts of future policy trajectories.

On day one of the visit Prof Robert Nicholls, Principle Investigator of the ESPA Deltas project, reported on our progress evaluating two of GED’s key coastal zone projects. The team are currently calibrating the ESPA Deltas model, ΔDIEM, ready to simulate development of large-scale coastal embankments and natural buffers in the Southwest region. In March 2018 ESPA Deltas will report on the poverty, livelihood, and ecosystem service implications of various different options being looked at in the Delta Plan. Looking forward, the DECCMA project, which has also placed great emphasis on stakeholder engagement, hopes to provide insight into different migration and adaptation policy trade-offs in the coastal region. Prof Alam is Chair of the Bangladesh National Advisory Expert Group within the DECCMA project – a group of key stakeholders that provides high level direction to the project.

On day two we discussed the projects’ legacies. In October Southampton will host a further representative from GED, as well as two researchers from BUET, as we aim to build in-country capacity to run and best utilise ΔDIEM and other integrated models for policy evaluation. Both building knowledge sharing and capacity building into ongoing projects, and ensuring a pipeline of technical and research projects into the future are important objectives for GED, who have strong ambitions for poverty reduction and livelihood improvement in Bangladesh. The team spent a productive afternoon with Ken de Souza of DFID discussing how to build legacy for the current work which, it is hoped, is only a test case to demonstrate what is possible with collaboration on integrated systems research projects.

It was a pleasure to welcome Prof. Alam to Southampton, his passion for achieving ambitious poverty reduction goals in such a challenging context, and his openness to challenging conventional approaches to policy were impressive. We look forward to working together further and playing our part in building in-country capacity which will hopefully serve Bangladesh long beyond the lifetime of our research there (which, with a bit of funding luck, still has a good few years left in it!).

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Interview with #DECCMA5th Poster Winner – Gregory Cooper

Poster Greg Cooper

Greg Cooper poster

Gregory Cooper, PhD student at the University of Southampton, won the Poster Competition at DECCMA’s 5th Consortium Workshop in Kolkata (Aug 2016). Here he is interviewed.

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1. Why did you choose the topic for the poster?

This poster relates to the wider topic of my PhD, which focuses on exploring social-ecological tipping points and nonlinearities in delta systems. The Chilika lagoon of the Mahanadi delta, India, captured my interest due to its historical productivity collapse from 7200 tonnes/year (1980s average) to 3100 tonnes/year (1990s average), triggering declined fisher wellbeing, livelihood opportunities and the first recorded instances of economic migration from the region. Therefore, this poster communicates progress (September 2016) on the development of a systems dynamics model of Chilika’s fishery, to assess the causes and probabilities of future productivity collapses. The model’s structure and parameters show how the different components of the system fit together. The small section on model performance analysis argues that the model is capable of reproducing historical fishery trends. Thirdly, initial findings show that the model is producing realistic and policy relevant outputs, which may eventually inform the future governance of Chilika’s fishery.

2. What data sources have you used for the analysis?

The construction of the model has relied on a combination of quantitative and qualitative data, from a mix of primary and secondary sources:

  • The rainfall-runoff models of the Lower Mahanadi and Chilika’s western catchments are built from daily resolution rainfall and temperature datasets from the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD). Daily river discharge from Tikarapara on the Lower Mahanadi catchment is obtained from the Indian Central Water Commission’s ‘Water Resource Information System of India’.
  • Ecohydrological monitoring datasets of the Chilika Development Authority (CDA) parameterise interactions between freshwater inflows to Chilika and lagoonal salinity, dissolved oxygen, temperature and aquatic vegetation coverage.
  • CDA datasets also inform the model’s socioeconomic components, including estimations of fisher populations, boat numbers, fish price, fishing costs, catch per unit effort and so on.
  • Interviews were conducted with Chilika’s stakeholders and experts to understand any qualitative feedbacks driving Chilika’s fishery catch. For example, Chilika’s fishers spoke of how they adapt fishing efforts to their perceptions of fish stock abundance, in an attempt to protect against overexploitation of Chilika’s resource. Moreover, interviews with Chilika’s scientists and governors have helped consider feasible management approaches to model, such as the necessity of continued sediment dredging and the difficulties of implementing productivity quotas.
  • With the exception of the hydroclimatic datasets, all data was obtained during the field visit of February-April 2016. I express gratitude to the CDA, Integrated Coastal Zone Management Project of Odisha and Jadavpur University for their kind assistance during my visit.

3. What’s the significance of your conclusions?

The model’s outputs have two main significances:

  • Although known since the lagoon’s ecorestoration in 2000, outputs support the argument that Chilika’s sediment requires periodic flushing to sustain fish catches. Without reopening, the lagoon’s main tidal outlet effectively closes by 2040, inhibiting the seasonal migration of 70% of Chilika’s marine and brackish species.
  • Outputs also show that higher annual catches do not necessarily mean higher income for Chilika’s fishers. Fish catch may decline beyond 2060 as fishers pursue alternative livelihoods, but per capita income is higher than it would otherwise be under a future without alternative livelihoods. By guarding against anthropogenic overexploitation, such falling catches promote the multidecadal sustainability of Chilika’s fish stock for future generations of fishers.
    Further work aims to assess how alternative governance approaches can enhance Chilika’s sustainability under a spectrum of plausible futures, before investigating critical driver thresholds leading to collapse, to design a “regional safe and just operating space” for Chilika.

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Indian Bengal Delta State Level Stakeholder Workshop 2nd Round

indian bengal stakeholder workshop

Indian Bengal stakeholder workshop

The second State level Stakeholders’ Workshop in Indian Bengal Delta (IBD) was organized with active support from Department of Environment, Government of West Bengal on 10th November, 2016 in Kolkata.

With this workshop, the DECCMA India team tried a new strategy to ensure wholesome participation from government departments. The team approached the Department of Environment, Government of West Bengal, to send out invites for this workshop. A total of 19 Departments from the State Government Departments, and 4 Chambers of Commerce and 4 Non Governmental Organisations (NGOs) were invited for the Meet through the office of the Principal Secretary, Department of Environment, Government of West Bengal. This was beneficial as the number of senior government officials attending the workshop was more than the last workshop.

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The meeting was presided by the Principal Secretary, Mr. Arnab Ray, IAS, Department of Environment, Government of West Bengal. In his inaugural speech, Mr. Ray mentioned about the West Bengal State Action Plan on Climate Change and how the Line Departments are trying to implement the plan collectively.

DECCMA’s initial findings were shared with all to give an idea how we are approaching towards our research goals. The different government departments and NGOs were invited to share their experiences relating to DECCMA’s key areas of climate change, vulnerability, migration and adaptation. While the issue of climate induced migration due to possible loss of livelihood came up a number of times, we learnt of successful adaptation instances to make alternative livelihoods, renewable energy, viable for all.

Garnering stakeholders’ opinions and feedback is crucial to DECCMA’s research as it opts for a stakeholder-driven approach. Stakeholders’ feedbacks were collected on Evaluation Criteria of Successful Adaptation and Barriers to Policy Implementation. The research team, comprising members from Jadavpur University and Centre for Environment and Development, helped the attendees by guiding how to fill the questionnaires and resolving any queries. Difficulties with the questionnaire and suggestions to simplify those were received from the stakeholders.

This stakeholder workshop gave us a day to exchange our experiences, findings, and learning to strentgthen our work.

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Out-migration and effects on women in the Mahanadi delta

DECCMA is committed to providing policy support to develop sustainable, gender-sensitive adaptations within deltaic environments. Taking a gender-sensitive approach to the research process, and ensuring that data can be analysed with a gender lens, are integral to achieving this aim.

Awareness of the importance of gender has increased as a result of global commitments, such as the Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) and the Beijing Platform for Action. The recently-announced Sustainable Development Goals includes one where the aim is to achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls. Gender equality and empowerment of women also features in the text of the Paris Agreement under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

At local level, however, gender differences are pervasive. Understanding context-specific differences in the roles of men and women, and the relations between them, is essential. Only when these are known is it possible to ensure that planned adaptations are equitable and contribute to gender equality.

In this clip, University of Southampton PhD researcher Giorgia Prati explains how she is investigating the effects of out-migration on women left behind in the Mahanadi delta, India.

Examples of adaptation to climate change in deltas

examples of adaptation

Examples of adaptation

The DECCMA WP6 partners have been recording examples of adaptation that are in practice across our study sites. These examples, from literature and observation, are being collated into Adaptation Inventories for each area – a database of current adaptation practices that are being utilised to combat climate change in deltas.

For a sneak peak at some of the types of adaptation that have been recorded, see these illustrated examples:
Mahanadi Delta, India
Volta Delta, Ghana
Ganges Brahamputra Meghna Delta, Bangladesh
Indian Bengal Delta, India

The full Adaptation Inventories will be completed later in 2016.

Drone footage of community flooding and coastal erosion in the Volta delta

On February 3rd 2016, the Daily Graphic, the main newspaper in Ghana, reported of destruction being caused by ocean waves in a number of communities within the Volta Delta, including Fuveme. In response to the news, the DECMMA Ghana team set out to verify the situation on 6th February 2016 and carried out a drone survey using DJI Phantom 3 Professional drone.

The video shows strong wave activities during high tide resulting in overtopping of the beach and flooding of the Fuveme community. Buildings were destroyed during the flooding, which rendered people homeless. Natural fish landing sites were also eroded. This has affected fishing business, which is the main source of livelihood in the community and resulted in migration from the community.

Qualitative research training in India

qualitative research training

Qualitative research training

On Friday February 26, 2016, School of Oceanographic Studies, Jadavpur University (JU) organised a One Day Workshop on Introduction to Qualitative Research which was facilitated by Dr Colette Mortreux of University of Exeter.

The workshop had 26 participants out of which 16 were female participants. Most of the participants were young researchers who are either pursuing MPhil or PhD degrees from schools and departments of JU. There was also representation from Calcutta University and NGOs like WWF and DRCSC Kolkata.

Colette is a human geographer specialising in qualitative research methods and during her visit to India as a part of the DECCMA consortium to conduct resettlement field visit and interviews, she took time out to conduct this workshop. When multi-country projects function well, such effective exchanges between countries become possible thereby opening portals for knowledge sharing.

The workshop provided an introduction to Qualitative Research based on what it is, its strengths and weaknesses, its theoretical foundations, comparison with quantitative research. The workshop was evenly punctuated with activities which encouraged interactions among the group. The participants felt the interactions helped them to learn better. Adequate stress was laid on choosing the right method of for research design – deciding on the sample size and strategy, which method is best suited for what purpose. This gave ample clarity for the young researchers on the differences between when to use a focus group discussion and when to go for in-depth interviews. The issue of Ethics was discussed as involvement of human participants in research needs informed consent. Procedures for written/oral consent were discussed and ethical considerations during interviews were also laid stress upon.

Role of interviewer, practical tips for interviewing, tactfully combating challenges during the interviews and focus groups, how to make the respondents feel comfortable and ideas for group activities were shared.

Following the in-depth guidance on data collection, the workshop then steered towards the analysis of data and use of software to aid the analysis.

Lastly, the communication of findings was discussed and the workshop was summarised.
As a concluding activity, DECCMA brochures were distributed among the participants and a small talk was given on DECCMA’s research areas and objectives.

The workshop was closed by distributing certificates to all the participants and gratitude was extended to Dr Mortreux for conducting such a fruitful workshop.

Pre-test of sending area household survey at Jhapa Village of Satkhira, Bangladesh

Refugee and Migratory Movements Research Unit (RMMRU) carried out a pre-test survey on the DECCMA Sending Area Household Survey on 8-12 December, 2015 at Jhapa village of Shyamnagar, Satkhira, Bangladesh. A team of 9 researchers traveled to Satkhira, Bangladesh to conduct the survey.

The objectives of the pre-test were:

  1. To assess the effectiveness of the questionnaire in collecting information on migration and adaptation.
  2. To explore different issues related to sending survey questionnaire e.g., length of the interview, flow of logic, wording of the questionnaire, logistics issues etc.
  3. To produce a report on the questionnaire to assist northern team to modify the final questionnaire for sending household survey.

pretest of sending area household survey

Survey setting

A total of twelve households were interviewed during the pre-test survey. Among the households, 9 were migrant households and 3 were non-migrant households. From each household, the team interviewed two persons – one with the household head and another adult of opposite sex (except one household where the household head was migrant and no other adult family members were available). Altogether, the team interviewed 23 people(12 female and 11 male).

After the survey, a detailed report on the questionnaire was prepared and sent to the DECCMA Northern team to assist them to produce the final questionnaire. The report contained the issues encountered by field facilitators during the interviews. Among the issues, personality related questions, adaptation related questions and length of the survey were of major concerns. The average time of the survey varied from two and half hours to three hours. The report compiled every single comment made by the field facilitators to help the Northern team to enlighten the actual scenario of the pre-test.

The DECCMA Household Survey is scheduled to be rolled out to 1500 households within the delta study site in February and March 2016.

Findings from the District Level Stakeholders Workshop in Ramgoti, Lakshmipur, Bangladesh

district level stakeholder workshop

District level stakeholder workshop

DECCMA Bangladesh team organized 2nd District Level workshop at Ramgoti Upazila of Lakshmipur District on November 18, 2015. The objectives of the workshop were:

i. To explore migration, adaptation and governance issues of Ramgoti Upazila related to climate change.
ii. To compare the findings with the 1st District Level Workshop held at Khulna on August 31, 2015
iii. To sensitize different upazila/local level stakeholders about the DECCMA project

Refugee and Migratory Movements Research Unit (RMMRU) and Bangladesh University of Engineering Technology (BUET) jointly organized the workshop with the help of the local Upazila Nirbahi Office (UNO). There were 104 participants (69% Male and 31% Female) from different communities, government organizations, NGOs and media.

To conduct the group discussion, the participants were divided into five different groups: three community groups, one government officials and one media and NGO representatives. Each group was facilitated by a DECCMA member who collected the responses from the relevant group. A lively and informative group discussion took place which was later shared and validated among other groups through the oral presentation from different groups.

The responses from different stakeholders on different issues are as following:

Hazard types

  • River Erosion
  • Storm Surge
  • Cyclone
  • Water-logging
  • Salinity
  • Tidal Flooding
  • Drought
  • Sea level Rise

Migration patterns, reasons and destination


  1. Seasonal /Temporary
  2. Permanent
    a) Internal
    b) International (very low)
    c) One Family Member
    d) Whole family (The number is moderate or high when they migrate within the same upazila, but the number is very low when they migrate to other places e.g. other upazilas, district town and divisional towns)

1. River erosion
2. In pursuit of better life (voluntary)
3. Storm surge
4. Sea level rise
5. Temporary migration for climatic hazards
6. Lack of job opportunity

1. Upazilla (Sub-district)
a) Within same upazila: Char to Char
b) To other upazilas within the same district
2. District Town
a) Within the same district: Lakshmipur
b) To other districts (but not divisional town): Noakhali, Feni, Bhola
3. Divisional Town
a) Within same division: Chittagong
b) To other divisions (but not the capital): Barisal
4. Capital: Dhaka
5. International: Oman

Adaptation types, results and recommendations

1. Government Initiatives:
a) Resettlement Projects: Guchhogram, Asrayon project
b) Shelter Projects: Cyclone Centre, Killa
c) Protection Initiatives: Polders (Past), Bank protection measures, sluice gate (to reduce congestion)
d) Agricultural Intervention: Cultivation of flood tolerant rice variety,
e) Fishing Intervention: Restriction in fishing during breeding/reproduction season
Relevant Organizations/Projects: Prime Minister’s Office; Water Development Board; Department of Fisheries; Water Resources Planning Organization (WARPO); Cyclone Preparedness Programme (CPP)

2. NGO Initiatives:
a) Resettlement Projects: Guchhogram, resettlement centres
b) Agricultural Intervention: Cultivation of hybrid crops
c) Advocacy Initiative: Awareness building
Relevant Organizations: Community Development Centre (CODEC); Centre for Natural Resource Studies (CNRS)

3. Self-initiatives:
a) Tree plantation in vacant land and mangrove forest
b) Change of Profession: (i) fisherman/farmer to rickshaw puller, Brick field workers, micro business; (ii) fisherman to farmer
c) Employment of Female Members: (i) garment workers in divisional town (Chittagong); (ii) local income earning activities: making caps, mats etc.
d) Raising livestock (hen, duck)
e) Raising plinth

4. Other Interventions:
a) Reserve rain water adjacent to Killa
b) Drinkwater from river using Phitkiri (Alum)

Result of Adaptation (Successful Adaptation/Maladaptation):

1. Successful Adaptation:
a) Meghna river bank protection
b) Asrayon project
c) Livestock farming (hen, duck)
d) Soybean cultivation
e) Women Employment: Cap making

2. Maladaptation:
a) Reducing depth of connecting canals/ water bodies
b) BishwaBeri

1. Inefficient money transaction
2. Insufficient funding
3. Lack of sustainability/proper planning
4. Lack of coordination with experts/interagency
5. Management and supervision

1. Increased height of the roads

Governance Issues

Existing Gaps/problems:
1. Embankment and river protection mechanisms are not efficient
2. Irregular river dredging
3. Inequitable distribution of resources
4. Lack of proper management of in resettlement interventions(Guchogram, resettlement centres)
5. Inefficient number cyclone centres andKilla
6. Lack of coordination in among different stakeholders in different development interventions
7. Lack of forest coverage

Gender Issues

1. Women’s Participation in income generation activities followed by disasters (garment worker, cap and mat making)
2. Fewer natural resources (firewood, vegetables, fruit) available to provide family members
3. Increased domestic (duck/ hen rearing) and financial responsibilities

Considerable number of participants from different stakeholder groups (government officials, NGOs, media personnel, community members) participated in the workshop and expressed their opinions willingly. Learning about the potential of DECCMA project, participants shared their knowledge with DECCMA Bangladesh team members without much reservation. Significant number of female participation also enlightened DECCMA Bangladesh with their concerns. Overall, the workshop provided DECCMA Bangladesh team with insightful and interesting information for their research activities.