The evolution of the policy environment for climate change migration in Bangladesh: Competing narratives, coalitions and power

Hyeng Geun Ji
Development Policy Review
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In spite of an enormous increase in attention to climate migration in Bangladesh, institutional weaknesses have meant that unplanned migration has triggered social issues. This situation requires investigation of the main challenges and opportunities in institutional capacity and policy development for climate change induced migration. Drawing on different narratives, networks and power status of stakeholders, this study identifies two competing coalitions: ‘in‐situ’ coalition, which shares the belief that migration is a failure of adaptation, and ‘ex‐situ’ coalition adhering to the emerging slogan of “migration as adaptive strategy”. The differentiated powers of two coalitions to some extent leave the agenda of climate migration in the policy domain as a subject of informal institutional capacity rather than a formal regulatory framework. Consequently, the evolution of the policy environment for climate migration depends on how effectively a greater policy space is determined by narratives, coalitions and power. Through a political economy lens, this paper seeks to clarify the potential approaches to extending the policy space regarding climate migration in Bangladesh, first by improving ideological pluralism in international climate change finance, and, second, enhancing the bottom‐up process for resource mobilization. In short, the evolution of the policy environment for climate change largely depends on the political power of the ‘ex‐situ’ coalition.