Adaptation to climate change through disaster risk reduction in Bangladesh: Community engagement in local level intervention

Mohammad, Mehdee (2016) Adaptation to climate change through disaster risk reduction in Bangladesh: Community engagement in local level intervention. Doctoral thesis, Northumbria University.

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A common platform for both disaster risk reduction (DRR) and climate change adaptation (CCA) has been sought around the world to reduce human vulnerability, enhance adaptive capacity and achieve other contemporary global targets. This policy framework at global and national level creates a challenge for local level implementation: climate change is a global risk predicted by scientists whereas disaster vulnerability is experienced by local people. To consider these circumstances, the thesis examines how DRR and CCA can be integrated at local level and what kind of governance and institutions are needed to ensure community participation in the whole process of local development. In order to address the research question, the thesis focuses on four inter-related themes: (i) redefining social vulnerability in a changing environment; (ii) understanding local knowledge, experiences and practices in terms of coping with climate induced disasters; (iii) investigating the DRR and CCA conundrum of implementing national policies at local level; and (iv) exploring the transformation of socio-cultural landscape of rural Bangladesh through external interventions at local level in a DRR–CCA context.

The study has gone through an in-depth empirical data analysis of DRR and CCA processes both in flood prone Jamuna river basin and cyclone prone coastal areas in Bangladesh. Fieldwork involved qualitative approaches and methods, and some use of quantitative survey method; including 29 semi-structured in-depth interviews, varied participatory rural appraisal (PRA) tools applied in nine focus group discussions (FGDs) and a questionnaire survey conducted in three selected study villages. Respondents included local people, particularly disaster survivors, local level practitioners, national level professionals formally linked to disaster and climate issues and academics.

The findings of the thesis show that local knowledge and practice, particularly through recent experiences of environmental crisis help communities to adapt to climate related disaster risks and that the survivors of floods have more distinct coping and adaptive capacity than those of cyclones. The research found that disaster management in Bangladesh is strong up to local level and that recent government and nongovernmental initiatives for DRR and CCA assist communities coping with extreme events. However, the whole system often fails to identify and understand localised disaster and climatic risks due to a lack of effective community inclusiveness in decision-making processes. The study argues that a ‘whole-of-society’ approach should be a pervasive aspect of internal and external interventions aiming to implement more integrated DRR–CCA at local level.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Subjects: F800 Physical and Terrestrial Geographical and Environmental Sciences
L700 Human and Social Geography
Department: Faculties > Engineering and Environment > Geography and Environmental Sciences
University Services > Graduate School > Doctor of Philosophy
Depositing User: Becky Skoyles
Date Deposited: 02 Oct 2018 14:20
Last Modified: 31 Jul 2021 22:34

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