Time for change: Assessing the transformational capacity of riverine Bangladesh

Paszkowski, A. (2021). Time for change: Assessing the transformational capacity of riverine Bangladesh. IIASA YSSP Report. Laxenburg, Austria: IIASA

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Riverine Bangladesh is one of the most disaster-prone and poverty-stricken regions of the world. Existing management of riverine hazards has predominantly focused on incremental adaptation; however, given the profundity and inevitability of projected vulnerabilities, incremental adaptation is increasingly considered insufficient to address disaster risks. Consequently, deliberate and anticipatory transformation is gaining traction as a response for avoiding dangerous thresholds of intolerable risks through planned changes in location and/or livelihoods. This study assesses the capacity for such deliberate transformation for 35 critically poor and flood-prone riverine communities in Bangladesh through the application of a transformational capacity framework onto community-level resilience data. The results show that overall transformational capacity is low across all 35 communities, with a lack of community organisation, flexibility, and a low sense of agency and political voice acting as the main barriers. Critically, eight key communities are identified as priority areas that require urgent capacity building to avoid imminent forced, catastrophe-driven relocation. Overall, the findings presented in this study bring communities’ realities and values to the fore, which, when ignored, hinder operationalising longer-term resilience across riverine Bangladesh. It is imperative that the potential for positive transformational change is incorporated into planned adaptation options and policies for Bangladesh, as they provide windows of opportunity to avoid perpetual risk traps and stakeholder conflict, and enable the development of innovative and collaborative ways for social and ecological resilience, and longer-term ethical and sustainable societal systems.

Item Type: Monograph (IIASA YSSP Report)
Research Programs: Advancing Systems Analysis (ASA)
Young Scientists Summer Program (YSSP)
Depositing User: Luke Kirwan
Date Deposited: 25 Nov 2021 08:06
Last Modified: 01 Apr 2022 10:35
URI: https://pure.iiasa.ac.at/17663

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