Environmental Non-migration as Adaptation in Hazard-prone Areas: Evidence From Coastal Bangladesh

Despite suffering significantly from the adverse impacts of climate change and human-induced hazards, many people at risk deliberately choose not to migrate from hazard-prone areas in coastal Bangladesh. As many of them encounter significant challenges in maintaining their livelihoods, ascertaining how and under what circumstances voluntary non-migration decisions occur is crucial. Only a handful of studies have investigated whether individuals and groups who decide to stay put in the face of climatic hazards consider their decision to be an adaptive action. In this regard, this study contributes to the existing literature by empirically investigating the voluntary non-migration decision as an adaptation strategy through an exploration of the factors affecting this decision. A systematic random sampling technique was employed and selected 627 respondents from two climatic hazard-prone coastal districts: Khulna and Satkhira. Using the Generalized Structural Equation Model (GSEM), we found that voluntary non-migrants (84% of total respondents) appeared to enjoy the significant advantage of access to their communities’ basic need provision and social support. Furthermore, the social, psychological, and economic opportunities found at their existing location (e.g., better income prospects, affordable living costs, receipt of financial help during post-disaster periods, and skills allowing them to stay in that location), as well as their access to local natural resources, strengthened their social capital and thus influenced their desire to stay. Together, these factors enhanced people’s adaptability to climatic shocks and motivated them to choose voluntary non-migration as an adaptation option

Authors: Khatun, Fatema; Ahsan, Md. Nasif; Afrin, Sonia; Warner, Jeroen; Ahsan, Reazul; Mallick, Bishawjit; Kumar, Pankaj
Type: Journal Article