The brief highlights how climate change has the potential to reduce GDP per capita by 8.5-14.5% in the deltas, through impacts on infrastructure, agriculture and fisheries. Traditional adaptation options, such as embankments and protection and restoration of mangroves, could only reduce these effects by up to 40-50%, thus minimising but not ruling out negative impacts.
DECCMA has just released a new publication, “Climate change, migration and adaptation in deltas. Key findings from the DECCMA project” available to download in optimal resolution (15MB) and lower resolution (6MB). The publication summarises our key findings on the present and future situation of deltas, highlights some of the impacts our research has had on policies and plans in Bangladesh, India and Ghana, and reflects on the capacity that has been built through the DECCMA project.
DECCMA has released a new infographic that summarises what we know about deltas in the present and future. Deltas are already exposed to sea level rise, coastal erosion, flooding and salinisation. In the future climate risk will increase beyond 2050, but the particular nature of hazards differs between deltas. In the Volta in Ghana, for example, erosion and flooding is driven by waves and sea level rise; whereas the future of the Ganges-Brahmaputra-Meghna is more dependent on sediment input than other deltas.
Deltas are already important contributors to national economies. In the future agriculture will become less significant in economies due to land degradation and erosion, but models show a slight increase in the productivity of brackish fisheries.
People in deltas are already mobile but in future mobility will be exacerbated by the effects of climate and environmental stresses on livelihood options.
Adaptation is already taking place, but more will be required in future. Infrastructural adaptations, such as dykes and embankments, are required, as is effective planning, such as the Bangladesh Delta Plan 2100. Policy frameworks should be revisited to enable gender-equitable adaptation and support for internally displaced persons. Migration also provides opportunities for adaptation.
DECCMA and the Delta Alliance recently co-convened a session on 21st June at Adaptation Futures 2018 in Cape Town on the topic “Adaptation practice and experience in deltas in the global south”. The session included presentations from both DECCMA and Delta Alliance members.
Ricardo Safra de Campos presents on “Migration as an adaptation”
DECCMA PI Robert Nicholls chaired the session. Katharine Vincent from Kulima Integrated Development Solutions presented research on observed adaptations in deltaic Ghana, India and Bangladesh and Ricardo Safra De Campos from the University of Exeter presented the first research findings of the DECCMA project on “Migration as an adaptation”. The presentation showed that households in deltas employ a variety of adaptation strategies in the face of environmental and climate risk, including migration.
The Delta Alliance Egypt and Ghana wing coordinators presented experiences in delta planning and management. Professor Mohamed Soliman from the Coastal Research Institute presented innovative ways to create natural flood defenses and sand dunes along Alexandria’s coast to stop recurrent coastal flooding. Ken Kinney from the Development Institute in Ghana, presented the challenges of the Volta delta and the process of establishing a network of knowledge institutes, governments and local communities to work on integral land use planning. Both presentations showed that a holistic coastal management plan is needed that integrates coastal management with economic and land use planning.
As with all sessions at Adaptation Futures 2018, DECCMA and the Delta Alliance were invited to provide three “takeaway” points for consideration by the authors of the IPCC 6th Assessment Report. The points were:
There is a growing body of literature highlighting the potential future of deltas under climate change, taking into account sea level rise and sediment flux, among others.
Hard adaptations such as embankments are critical to protect infrastructure, lives and livelihoods in deltas.
There is evidence of a variety of household adaptations in deltas, which include in situ adaptations and migration.
A new book “Ecosystem services for well-being in deltas. Integrated assessment for policy analysis” has just been published open access by Springer. The book is an output of a predecessor project to DECCMA, ESPA Deltas. Chapters include analysis of ecosystem trends and projected futures under climate change, governance analysis, poverty and social-ecological systems analysis, and the linkages between poverty and ecosystem services in the Ganges-Brahmaputra-Meghna delta in Bangladesh.
Contributors include DECCMA PI Robert Nicholls, Co-PIs Craig Hutton, Stephen Darby, Andrew Allan, Neil Adger, Susan Kay, Sugata Hazra, Tuhin Ghosh, Munsur Rahman and Masfiqus Salehin, as well as DECCMA researchers Helen Adams, Anisul Haque, Paul Whitehead, Sally Brown, Shahjahan Mondal, Fiifi Amoako Johnson and Attila N. Lázár.
DECCMA Bangladesh team members were invited to participate in a consultation to formulate a project addressing climate change risks in selected Agro-Ecological Zones (AEZs) in Bangladesh. The project is likely to be funded to the tune of $8 million by the Global Environment Facility (GEF) and United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and will benefit five pilot areas in Bangladesh: Chittagong, Chittagong Hill Tracts, dryland, floodplain and haor (wetland ecosystem).
The stakeholder consultation was organized by the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC) on 5 July 2018 at Pan Pacific Sonargoan Hotel, Dhaka. Dr. S. M. Munjurul Hannan Khan, Additional Secretary, MoEFCC presided over the consultation meeting. Mr Abdullah Al Mohsin Chowdhury, Secretary-in Charge, MoEFCC and Dr. Sultan Ahmed, Director-General, Department of Environment (DoE) contributed as Chief Guest and moderator respectively.
DECCMA, Bangladesh members Dr. Md. Munsur Rahman, Dr. Mohammed Abed Hossain and Saiful Alam attended the meeting, and provided comments on the approach and methods proposed. They also shared feedback on possible adaptation measures, informed by DECCMA’s adaptation research in the Ganges-Brahmaputra-Meghna delta.
Summing up the findings from the consultation, Mr Abdullah Al Mohsin Chowdhury, Secretary-in Charge, MoEFCC, proposed taking into account DECCMA’s adaptation inventories so as to not unnecessarily re-invent the wheel. Dr. Sultan Ahmed, DG, DoE, further suggested referring to DECCMA’s findings on hotspots of climate change risk in Bangladesh.
The DECCMA team comprises an international, multi-disciplinary consortium all working together to achieve the common goal of evaluating migration as an adaptation in the context of climate change in deltas. In this short clip we outline some of the highlights and challenges of working as part of a consortium, and some lessons learned for future consortium projects.
DECCMA PI Professor Munsur Rahman led a seminar on ‘Recent sediment flux and its implications for river and delta management in the Ganges-Brahmaputra-Meghna system’ on 3rd April at the Institute of Water and Flood Management (IWFM) at the Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology.
Sediment flux is the mechanism that creates the nature of a delta, and thus is essential for river and delta management. The physical sustainability of the river and delta environment is very sensitive to the volume of water and sediment that arrives from rivers upstream. In most of the planning documents in Bangladesh, the total sediment flux is assumed to be a constant value of around 1 billion tones per year. Recent models shows that, under climate change, there is likely to be an increase in sediment flux. However, this contradicts historical time series data, that shows a decreasing trend of sedimentation.
Courtesy of the Institute of Water and Flood Management
Studies on the total sediment load in the Ganges and the Brahmaputra show that the quantity transferred along the bed of the river is decreasing more rapidly than the sediment that is suspended within the water. A reduction in sediment within the system reduces the scope for offsetting future sea level rise, and thus has implications for subsidence and loss of land.
A joint stakeholder workshop was arranged by DECCMA and HI-AWARE to present Bangladesh research findings. The meeting took place at the Water Resources Planning Organisation (WARPO) in Dhaka on 17th January 2018. Attendees included the Ministry of Water Resources, Ministry of Forest and the Environment, Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Planning, Housing Authority, Local Government Division, and UNDP.
DECCMA Bangladesh Principal Investigator, Professor Munsur Rahman, and Co-Principal Investigator, Professor Mashfiqus Salehin, made a joint keynote presentation on ‘Adaptation and Migration in GBM Delta, Bangladesh’. HI-AWARE Bangladesh Principal Investigator, Md. Abu Syed, made a keynote presentation on ‘Climate resilience and adaptation in Teesta sub-Basin of Brahmaputra Basin’.
Stakeholders provided inputs to highlight their particular areas of interest in DECCMA findings. Among the key themes were an understanding of the reasons for migration, quantifying negative and positive impacts, and projections for the future-to add to those already outlined in the Delta Plan 2100. There was also interest in modelling the impact of climate change on the economy, as is being undertaken within DECCMA, led by the Bc3 Basque Centre for Climate Change, and supporting the use of models at local (upazila) level.
The Ecosystem Services for Poverty Alleviation Delta Project has just published a short film that highlights its findings in Bangladesh. The project was concerned with assessing health, livelihoods, ecosystems and poverty alleviation in populous deltas to provide knowledge and tools to enable policy-makers to evaluate the effects of policy decisions on people’s livelihoods.
A multidisciplinary and multi-national team of policy analysts, social and natural scientists and engineers collectively used a participatory approach to create a model to formally evaluate ecosystem services and poverty in the context of the wide range of changes that are occurring. In the film, DECCMA Principle Investigator Professor Robert Nicholls and researcher Dr Helen Adams talk about the environmental and social stresses facing delta populations, from salinity and subsidence to poverty and marginalisation.