Work with RMMRU and DECCMA: seeing a new side of Bangladesh and feeling a deeper connection to the country as a whole

by Rabeya Bosri Chandni, Research Assistant

While working at RMMRU, it was easy to forget I was in an office. Everyone is very cordial there. Colleagues are often introduced as “senior friends.”

image001We worked in Khulna, Jessore, and Bagerhat Districts. Among the various field-sites we worked at, I remember two names especially – Moralganj and Amurkata. In my opinion, the situation in Amurkata indicates the unequal development that occurs across Bangladesh. Many essential facilities seem to be lacking or in need of improvement. Similarly, people in Moralgonj face difficulties in accessing clean water, while also being vulnerable to getting trapped in the oppressive loan-interest cycle.

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These experiences have certainly impacted my professional life, but they have also made an impression upon my personal life. The culture of teamwork that I encountered in the work especially, has influenced me in a personal way.  Also, I feel even more connected to my identity as a Bangladeshi citizen because of my participation in this work.

Through this work, I have seen my country in a new face, which is not gorgeous and not well-developed.  It is, I think, a sleeping beauty.  The visits to various Upzillas of Bangladesh have created a feeling of real citizenship for me. Living in a particular area gives a person a particular sense of identity, of belonging. However, I feel as if this fieldwork experience has enabled me to go beyond my Dhaka and Gazipur identities, so that I now feel that the whole country is my place.
I would like to thank the DECCMA project and all of my colleagues at RMMRU – I’m grateful that I had the chance to work with them, and learn so many things from them.

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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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The lengths one must go for drinking water

by Aysha Akter Akhi

image003I went to Noakhali, Laxmipur, Khulna, Bagerhat, Jessore, and Gopalgonj for field surveys for the DECCMA project and gained so many experiences from this journey.  Among them, I can share the place called Amurkata of Paikgacha of the Khulna district where there is a scarcity of drinking water. This area of six or seven kilometres has no internal transport. People paddle from one part to another. The ground in that area is high in salinity. There are also very few trees and the weather is quite rough. People often travel three of four kilometres by foot to collect drinking water from a deep well which is placed in a “Local Bazaar.” Every day in the morning or evening, they go with one or two jars to collect water. In today’s age, this scenario is shocking to see.image001

Working with RMMRU on DECCMA; The memories I will not forget

by Rafiqul Islam, Research Assistant (RMMRU)

Life is full of experiences and I want to share my experience about the journey to perform research with RMMRU and about the memorable time I spent with my colleagues.

First, I want to give thanks to my Lord because I think I am so lucky to work with RMMRU for a few months. In those few months I have learned many things from RMMRU and from my colleagues.



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First, I went to Chandpur, Lakshmipur and Bhola to conduct household listing surveys. We faced some accommodation problems. My colleagues were very supportive and helpful to me as we overcame all sorts of problems regarding staying, eating, and travelling. I was one of the younger members of the team, so I received love from my senior brothers.  I am a jolly-minded person, so I can communicate with my respondents and my colleagues spontaneously but when we had to do the surveys, we had faced some problems because we had no female members in the group. When we reached each household, a few people were reluctant to participate in our survey but generally the majority were very helpful to us in our research. After completing these surveys, we returned to Dhaka.

In April, we left Dhaka again for another round of field work and to conduct interviews with selected respondents. This time I was in a new group. Our journey was good and we had 7 members on our team, including me. My partner was Tamanna Apu. Frankly speaking, at first I was not comfortable with her because her way of thinking and my way of thinking was a little bit different. Gradually we understood each other’s work and we became good friends for the purpose of the work. My other team members including Musabbir Bhai, Saiful and Roni Bhai, Ridita and Popy Apu were too good.  We had two members replacing Roni Bhai and Saiful were Himel and Tanjim Bhai. They were also friendly.  Every morning the females got up early in the morning, got ready quickly and were waiting for us.  All of these moments were so memorable for me and made for a very friendly work environment. This friendly attitude among the team members was not limited to the work but also in all spheres, generally, we got along as a team. I really will not forget those days.

Another memorable day was visiting our field work by Ricardo and Rocky Bhai in Lakshmipur.  I was little bit sick and nervous that day because Rocky Bhai scolded us for our mistake. At that moment I was sad but after, I realised that it was my fault. I always respect and love Rocky Bhai from the core of my heart undoubtedly. A most horrible experience occurred on 28th May 2016.  On that day we started our journey from Lakshmipur sadar to Bhola on a trawler ship, when suddenly a storm began.  All of us had begun to fear for our lives, but by the grace of almighty Allah we made it through. We have finished our journey through some ups and downs but in the end, the experience left me with one of the more significant memories in my life.

It was a great opportunity for me to work with a reputed organisation like RMMRU. Finally, I want to thank all the members of RMMRU.

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Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (BUET), Dhaka

BUET logoThe Institute of Water and Flood Management (IWFM) is a premier institute at Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (BUET) for the advancement of knowledge and capacity development in water and flood management through its unique academic and research programs. The mission of the institute is to promote integrated water resources management (IWRM), and to generate knowledge through basic and applied researches, to share knowledge and expertise with other organisations and to develop professionals in water management with multi-disciplinary backgrounds.  The multi-disciplinary postgraduate degree programs are aimed at engineers, planners, hydrologists, agriculturists, physical and social scientists, designed with a multi-disciplinary course curriculum blending engineering, agricultural, socio-economic and environmental analyses. Research activities of the institute focus on priority areas in water management, with major emphasis on water resources management in a floodplain environment, river and coastal hydraulics, wetland hydrology, hazard management, urban water management, irrigation and water management, environmental impact of water development, water resources policy, and climate change. The Institute has undertaken a significant number of collaborative research projects and programs over the years with different local and international institutions, and has established a very good science-policy linkage with government ministries and departments of Bangladesh. Currently, the DECCMA project and the ESPA Deltas project are two of several other notable large research projects of IWFM, looking into the effects of climate change on delta region, and assessing the changing ecosystem services that deltas provide and their linkages with poverty alleviation respectively.

Website: | BUET team

Centre for Environmental and Geographic Information Services (CEGIS)

CegisThe Centre for Environmental and Geographic Information Services (CEGIS) is a pioneer in Bangladesh in integrated environmental and social analysis and monitoring studies using the latest concepts and GIS and space technologies.  It started with intellectual services for natural resources and disaster management planning using GIS, Remote Sensing and database technology for integrated environmental and social analysis.  Over the years, it has expanded the service areas to other development spheres.  Its services and projects include IEE, EIA, SIA development of environmental guidelines, Resettlement Action Plans (RAP), analytical framework for integrated water resources management (IWRM), spatial analysis using GIS and Remote Sensing for flood monitoring, river morphology, climate change, drought assessment and monitoring, monitoring of river plan form changes, river erosion and accretion prediction, flood damage assessment, land use planning and zoning, urban planning, database and IT services such as the NWRD, development of metadata base and web-based spatial database, MIS and Decision Support Systems for planning, designing, implementation and monitoring of projects, etc.

Website: | CEGIS team

Refugee and Migratory Movements Research Unit (RMMRU), University of Dhaka

RMMRU logoRefugee and Migratory Movements Research Unit (RMMRU), an affiliate of the University of Dhaka, is a centre for migrant research, advocacy and training, based at the University of Dhaka, Bangladesh.  Since its inception in 1995, RMMRU has worked diligently to illuminate the potential of migration to initiate pro-poor growth and poverty reduction in South Asia.  By cooperating with regional and global organisations, RMMRU continues to facilitate collaborative research that effectively integrates and links global migration discourse with regional grassroots programs in order to identify and eradicate the key issues affecting Bangladeshi migrants.  Additionally, RMMRU has engaged in over fifty primary research studies on refugees, internally displaced persons, stateless people, labour migrants and diaspora communities.  Through ongoing programs, media campaigns, and research projects, RMMRU hopes to promote the idea that a well-governed and informed migration system will reduce poverty and benefit both receiving and sending regions and that migration is an important livelihood strategy to move out of poverty.

Website: l  RMMRU team

South Asian Network on Economic Modelling (SANEM), Dhaka

SANEM logoSouth Asian Network on Economic Modelling (SANEM) is a non-profit research organisation in Bangladesh. It is also a network of economists and policy makers in South Asia with a special emphasis on economic modelling.  SANEM aims to promote the production, exchange and dissemination of basic research knowledge in the areas of international trade, macro economy, poverty, labour market, environment, political economy and economic modelling.  It seeks to produce objective, high quality, country and South Asian region-specific policy and thematic research. SANEM contributes in governments’ policy-making by providing research supports both at individual and organisational capacities. SANEM has maintained strong research collaboration with global, regional and local think-tanks, research and development organisations, universities and individual researchers. SANEM has an internship program in place for university graduates. SANEM arranges regular training programs on economic modelling and contemporary economic issues for both Bangladeshi and other South Asian participants.

Website: l SANEM team

Bangladesh Space Research and Remote Sensing Organisation (SPARRSO)

SPARRSO logoBangladesh Space Research and Remote Sensing Organization (SPARSSO) is a state agency concerned with astronomical research and the application of space technology in Bangladesh.  Its vision is effective and peaceful application of Space & Geo-information Technology (GIT) for sustainable development and human safety, security for benefits. SPARRSO also performs research works on various aspects of geo-disciplinary subject areas of RS-GIS technologies. The research items include technological development on RS-GIS algorithms, aims at better techniques for geo-information retrieval along with effective approaches towards fruitful application of such technology.  It is also playing an active role for development of international cooperation and collaboration by participating in the international space technology related activities.  It has been maintaining very close and effective collaboration, and good cooperation with the international organisations and agencies of different countries.

Website: l SPARRSO team

Water Resources Planning Organisation (WARPO)

WARPO logoWARPO is an apex organisation in macro level planning in the water sector under the Ministry of Water Resources.  It acts as a secretariat to the Executive Committee to the National Water Resources Council (ECNWRC).  It is mandated to prepare the National Water Management Plan (NWMP), maintain and update National Water Resources Database as its custodian, review and ‘clear’ project proposals and provide technical support to Planning Commission, monitor and evaluate NWMP implementation and also the state of water resources, and provide administrative, policy and strategic advice to the ECNWRC.  While these constitute the routine core functions of WARPO, it has some other periodic functions as well, including periodic updating of the NWMP, assisting other agencies in planning, monitoring, studies and investigations, providing adhoc advice on policy, strategy, institutional and legal issues, and engaging in special studies and research as required from time to time.  Recent major achievements of WARPO include preparation of National Water Policy (NWPo) 1999; NWMP Development Strategy Report, 2001; National Water Management Plan – 2001; National Water Resources Database (NWRD) and MIS; Integrated Coastal Resources Database (ICRD), 2005; Coastal Zone Policy, 2005; Coastal Zone Strategy, 2006; Impact Assessment of Climate Changes in the Coastal Zone; and Bangladesh Water Act, 2013.

Website: l WARPO team

Migration, resettlement, river erosion and cyclones; WP 3 Fieldwork in Bangladesh – May 2016

migration fieldwork in bangladesh

Migration fieldwork in Bangladesh

Of all the countries in the world, Bangladesh is one of the most vulnerable to the adverse effects of climate change. The regular and severe environmental hazards that already batter the country – tropical cyclones, river erosion, flood, landslides and drought – are all projected to increase in intensity and frequency as a result of global environmental change. Fieldwork conducted in the Lakshmipur district, southeast of Dhaka, enabled Northern and Bangladesh WP 3 members to observe first-hand how the effects of cyclones such as Roanu (heavy rain, strong winds and storm surge) together with the impact of Meghna river erosion affect the daily lives and livelihoods of inhabitants of Lakhipur and Ramgoti. The WP3 team in the field consisted of Dr Anwara Begum (BIDS), Mr Rashed Bhuiyan and Mr Mahmudol Hasan Rocky (RMRRU), and Dr Ricardo Safra de Campos (University of Exeter), with logistical support provided by BUET.

As part of our work associated with resettlement, displacement and abandonment, the fieldwork team interviewed local government officials in Lakhipur and Ramgoti, members of governmental agencies in Dhaka, NGO representatives, resettled communities and members of households residing in vulnerable localities. In total, 19 stakeholder interviews were conduct by the WP 3 field team covering resettlement policy design and implementation. The fieldwork also included visits to resettlement projects in Ramgoti Upazila where researchers conducted interviews and collected empirical evidence on perceptions, expectations, and material and subjective wellbeing of local families. Among other findings, the interviews revealed the magnitude of the impact of riverbank erosion in Ramgoti. The mighty Meghna River has already engulfed 37 kilometres of the 96 kilometre flood protection embankment covering the Ramgati and Kamalnagar Upazilas, putting agricultural land, homes and local infrastructure at risk. These and the many other adverse effects of climate change will have profound repercussions for the economy and development of the country.

One of the most important impacts related to climate change and environmental hazards will be the forced movement of people throughout Bangladesh as a result of loss of homes, lands, property and livelihoods. For many inhabitants of deltaic areas in the country, spatial mobility in the form of permanent, seasonal and circular migration has become an integral part of life. Over past decades, a significant proportion of men and women in those areas have become migrant workers in order to sustain their families back home. The vast majority of this population movement takes place internally presenting the government with enormous challenges such as addressing key issues of housing, income-generating activities and access to frontline services such as health, education and basic sanitation in large urban centres such as Dhaka, Chittagong and Khulna.

Other objectives of the field activity included pre-testing the preliminary draft of the migrant receiving area questionnaire in localities in Dhaka that concentrate large numbers of migrants. The WP 3 team visited the informal settlement districts of Mirpur-12, Bholar Bosti, Molla Bosti and Duaripara. Interviews with local residents of these localities revealed a variety of migration pathways, histories and driving factors including an environmental factor – whether climate related or not. Virtually all stakeholders interviewed suggested that rural to urban migration will continue to slums. Due to the lack of adequate income, food, water, shelter and basic amenities these migrants might be drawn into a cycle of poverty and indebtedness, as labour migration is often costly in itself. Nonetheless, those families that cannot employ migration as an option to improve their living condition might be worse off. These people may be ‘trapped’ in a deteriorating environment where traditional forms of livelihood are unsustainable and poverty and social disadvantage are a constant presence in their everyday lives.

Integrated Shrimp Aquaculture for Climate Change Adaptation

integrated shrimp aquaculture

Shrimp aquaculture in the Ganges-Brahmaputra-Meghna delta

Shrimp aquaculture started in GBM delta during 1980s and mainly within coastal polders. It expanded rapidly where salinity was suitable. However, there was much concern on environmental and social grounds due to mal-practice of shrimp culture and diseases. In course of time, shrimp culture practice and areas of shrimp culture changed and mix culture took hold at many places. Integrated or mix farming with less environmental and social conflicts appears to have great potential as an adaption option to climate change in the coastal zone. Recently, a field survey has been conducted to learn more about this adaption option and appears to hold great promises.

It has been found that integrated farming is propagating in areas with salinity lower than 15 ppt. Various forms of integrated and mix farms can be seen. Such farms adopts a combination of crops such as brackish water shrimp (bagda), freshwater shrimp (golda), tilapia, other fin fish, crab, horticulture/agriculture (dry season vegetables and paddy) and Geese/duck. Usual cropping pattern would be Bagda-Paddy, Golda-Paddy, Golda-Bagda-Agriculture. These integrated farming systems are developed by farmers through trial and error with little extension support from line agencies. However, such integrated approaches usually are difficult to be supported by single line agency. Extension support for such integrated farming will require a completely different extension model. These integrated approaches would be more resilient, cost effective, rational use of resources to climate change condition.

It is apprehended that in climate change condition new areas of GBM Delta will be inundated and salinity will intrude farther. Many areas may not remain suitable for paddy farming and may be considered for shrimp aquaculture. In such situation only good practices with integrated form may be one of the adaptive solutions. Based on investigation made during 2015-16 by IWFM, BUET under DECCMA study, several integrated and sustainable shrimp farming practices in Chitalmari and Fakirhat of Bagerhat District has been found where horizontal and vertical expansion of this aquaculture pattern absorbed seasonal and local unemployed youth including women. It is observed that in these areas farmer opted brackish water shrimp in one season and freshwater shrimp in another season. In between, farmers considered Tilapia and other fin fishes and also horticulture/agriculture. The yield and income has been profitable and sustainable. There are indications that such integrated/mix farms reduces migration too.

So far, integrated farming is mostly seen in the Khulna region. It is not seen much in Barisal or Chittagong region. With climate changed condition it is estimated that more areas will become brackish especially in some areas in Pirojpur, Jhalokathi and Barisal. It is apprehended that people would prefer mix shrimp-fish culture (towards integration) as salinity level will not be high to choose for Bagda alone and not so less to continue with rice farming. So there will be scope for integrated fish-shrimp-horticulture. Thus, existing coverage of integrated farming though not very high but in future it will be considerable especially if there is adequate extension support. In future, integrated farming involving marine fish may also take hold where salinity would be little high. Again it will require new form of extension services.

Integrated shrimp aquaculture also observed other Deltas under DECCMA study. In Mahanadi Delta in India especially in the Chandipur area at the outfall of Subarnarekha River within permissible salinity range. In Volta Delta in Ghana Shrimp Farming not yet flourished. One farm established in 2013 (including a hatchery) in the Ada East District and created job opportunity for many people.

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.

A Tale of two Cities

2015 saw an acceleration of DECCMA with extensive work on the development of Household Surveys across four study deltas in India, Bangladesh and Ghana, looking at the component role climatic change might play in migration and adaptation. This work has been substantially supported by the outcomes of a sister project to DECCMA in the form of ESPA Deltas. Both of these projects were represented at the AGU December 2015 in San Francisco at a specific session relating to Delta research, called Sustainable Deltas: Multidisciplinary Analyses of Complex Systems II, Global Environmental Change (Primary Convener Irina Overeem CSDMS/INSTAAR on behalf of Belmont Deltas), with cross-referencing between the talks demonstrating a continuity of learning and development. The following were presented:

Hutton C.W., & Nicholls, R.J. & Allan, A. (2015), Migration in Vulnerable Deltas: A Research Strategy. AGU, 2015, San Francisco, 14-18th December

Nicholls, et. al. (Hutton, C.W) (2015). Ecosystem services and livelihoods in deltaic environments (Invited). AGU 2015, San Francisco, 14-18th December

Lazar, A. et. al. (Hutton, C.W) (2015). An integrated framework to assess plausible future livelihood and poverty changes in deltas: an application to coastal Bangladesh. AGU 2015, San Francisco, 14-18th December

Payo Garcia, A. & Hutton, C.W. (2015). Assessing the time scale response of Health, Livelihoods, Ecosystem Services and Poverty Alleviation in Populous Deltas. AAG, Chicago 2015

The presentations within the session were wide ranging and thought provoking with examples of papers and posters from highly developed contexts to regions of the developing world under extraordinary stress from environmental degradation and climatic changes. One common thematic approach that might be drawn from the session was the diversity and complexity of the social interaction across these landscape scale features with competing requirements for industry and food production as well as the socio-economic and cultural needs of the people who occupy the lands including the complex drivers of migration and urbanisation. The meeting was followed by a meal in down town San Francisco where, Profs Overeem and Nicholls lead a discussion on possible collaborative efforts that have continued from this meeting.

Drawing on a specific component of this discussion, namely that of land and water and the relation to food security, The DECCMA project was also presented as a case study at the Land and Water Days, November 2015 in Rome where a conference was jointly convened by FAO, IFAD and WFP as part of efforts aimed at reaching effective and lasting impacts for land and water actions on the ground. The event is presented as an opportunity to review policies, technologies and approaches to secure sustained improvements in support to activities on the ground; and foster exchanges of experience between countries and regions. The University of Southampton presented a detailed study of DECCMA in the “Land and Water assessment for identifying vulnerabilities and sustaining rural livelihoods” session entitled; Deltas, Vulnerability & Climate Change: Migration & Adaptation: Assessing vulnerability of populations to land and water shocks, with elements of the lessons learned in ESPA Deltas as an example of how remote sensing can be used to extract both social and biophysical data of relevance to planning in food security and livelihoods. The talk was well received and as well as ongoing established links with FAO (specifically John Latham NRL) has spawned some discussions and potential collaboration with WFP.

Migration: A complex phenomena which defies simplification

Climate change, poverty and the nexus of socio-environmental drivers that drive or influence migration has emerged as a challenging issue to a wide group of researchers, policy makers and practitioners. Recognised in Paris and the Sustainable Development Goals alike (SDG 10, which sets out a target for “facilitating orderly, safe, regular and responsible migration and mobility of people including through the implementation of planned and well-managed migration policies) the issue has made it in where it had not in the MDGs 15 years earlier. However, when we drill deeper into these phenomena it becomes clear that unlike say poverty, social injustice or the disease burden, migration describes a social phenomenon to which it is disputed as to whether it poses a threat or an opportunity to society, or as seems more likely, sits as some complex connective tissue between the two.

What is responsible migration and who is the beneficiary? Within the experience of the DECCMA project, the universal tacit response has been that Migration is generally a bad thing, a port of last call, a sign of decline. However, discussions with communities and local policy makers nuance this picture and mark the requirement for a far more subtle understanding of this multi-stranded process. Whilst It is clear this is a complex process with many different sub-phenomena occurring we perhaps need to ask ourselves whether it might be helpful to explicitly differentiate between types of migration in our common lexicon (as is common in the literature). Could we use the word commute for shorter periods of activity with migration reserved for more extensive periods only? Or introduce a typology of migration with type 1, 2 and 3 where type 1 represents weekly migration and type 3 permanent. The reason this might be suggested is that migration is sometimes handled, particularly by decision makers, as a single phenomenon requiring a single policy response.

Perhaps even more pressing is the need to recognise that there really is no consensus on, if and when different types of migration might be a benefit and to whom. It seems reasonable to say that as a component of livelihood diversification it provides input to the overall resilience of a society, allowing communities to respond to shocks and stresses by offering an alternative income (the classic example being the temporary rickshaw puller dispatched by a family to supplement income), but what of more permanent migratory behaviour? On the one hand this can pick at the fabric of a community with the generation of women headed households where the burden of work and family care falls to women alone and migrators being isolated from family and community. However, it is also apparent that such migratory behaviour underpins elements of developing and emerging economies. Indeed, we might ask ourselves where the West would be if migration to industrial centres had not occurred?

In a development context we often conflate economic growth with a decline in poverty (although the relationship is in fact more complex) but are we then, de facto, really saying cheap labour from the rural areas is often the fuel of competitive industry. A thought inducing example of this that has been recognised in the ESPA Deltas project ( is that salinity ingress to the delta is associated with shrimp production. Plausibly this might be seen as a reasonable adaptation to a climate related phenomena, however the process induces large-scale loss of livelihood which can be associated with migration. This in turn generates cheap labour forces with supressed wages in urban environments. In both cases, GDP will be benefited but the distribution of that wealth is of grave concern. Further to this, it is possible to see that policy perspectives in this area can also be rather simplistic with economic investments designed to retain people in their region of origin potentially mobilising people to move. It is perfectly plausible to see investment in agriculture providing better incomes, which in turn allow for migration, which is a costly business in itself. These subtleties became substantial phenomena when considered across the populations for which migration is a potential option. As such we need to work towards an understanding of this phenomena, before establishing policy strategies.