Research Themes

• Coastal ecosystems and ecosystem based climate adaptation

The Bay of Bengal is among the most climate change affected regions, with massive salinity intrusion, river erosion, and increasingly frequent extreme weather events. This is exacerbated by high levels of poverty and reliance of various livelihoods on climate sensitive sectors including agriculture, fisheries and water resources. Our work in coastal Bangladesh focuses on ecosystem based adaptation and finding innovations in aquaculture and agriculture that can help people adapt to the adverse effects of climate change and at the same time, increase the resilience and reduce the vulnerability of ecosystems and people.

• Climate change and migration

Links between the impacts of a changing climate and the movement of people are a hotly contested area of scholarship. While fears of the mass-movement of extremely poor people triggered by climate impacts appear to be largely unjustified based on the latest scientific evidence, it remains the case that people are on the move for a range of different reasons, and how this trend interacts with a changing climate will assume ever greater importance in the coming years and decades. CSD is supporting a research project led by Wageningen PhD researcher Basundhara Tripathy focusing on a region of Southwest Bangladesh that is most vulnerable to climate impacts, critically examining why certain people move and others do not, where they move to and why, and what the impact of this trend is both upon receiving and sending communities, with a particular focus on gender relations.

• Urban resilience

Inevitable global environmental change such as climate change threats, rapid urbanization, environmental pollution and shrinking accessibility to open and green spaces is a great challenge for urban sustainable development. This challenge become intense in the rapidly growing cities of Bangladesh due to inhabitants’ heterogeneity and diversity. In Dhaka city’s development planning, different social demographics (i.e. men/women, young/old) and vulnerable groups (women, minority ethnic group, elderly people) need to be specifically considered in order to ensure socially adjustable and ecologically sustainable urban development solutions. Thus, our work aims to understand heterogenous and vulnerable sociodemographic groups perception on the benefits of urban green spaces, and the limitations they face in utilizing and accessing green spaces in Dhaka city. We consider our work as the first step which could serve as a basis for large scale analysis for socio-ecologically sustainable urban development for other rapidly growing cities in South Asia.

• The Administration of Land and Forests

Land administration and forestry management lie at the heart of the sustainable development problem. Forest conservation is a central component of Sustainable Development Goal 15, but key questions as to how this can be achieved remain largely unanswered. While decentralised community management is often cited as a panacea, in practice the thorny issues around its implementation continue to cause social issues across the world. Equitable access to land in agrarian societies is now widely viewed in existing scholarship as being essential to successfully address poverty alleviation, reverse extreme wealth inequality, achieve gender empowerment and to strengthen resilience to a changing climate. How to actually ensure such equitable access and ownership is far from clear. CSD’s work addresses both areas in tandem, examining how the overlap between land administration and Natural Resource Management (NRM) needs to be explicitly addressed in order to solve both sets of problems.

• Sustainable Consumption and Production and Circular Economy

Bangladesh entered the lower middle income country status in 2016. The country is expected to upscale into middle class by 2021 and developed status by 2041. In the meantime, Bangladesh experienced a structural transformation from agrarian economy to growing dominance of industrial and service sectors, accompanied by an increasing availability of a wider range of products and a change of consumption patterns. As part of our work on Sustainable Consumption and Production (SCP), CSD has been actively engaging with the private sector past two years with the aim of gathering the good practices and standards set by RMG and Textile companies in Bangladesh and identifying opportunities and challenges on creating a circular economy, which can ultimately lead to sustainable consumption and production.

• Achieving Sustainable Development Goals in Bangladesh

CSD works on some of the key Sustainable Development Goals (SGDs), relating to environmental sustainability (SDG 11, 12, 13, 14 and 15) and conducts both empirical and secondary assessment of current progress on achieving these SDGs in Bangladesh by 2030. CSD has published the first book on achieving environmental SDG goals in Bangladesh in 2018 via Routledge Taylor and Francis Group (link to the book)

• Loss and Damage

Scaling down our emissions and building resilience can help us to tackle against climate change impacts. However, some negative impacts and damages are now unavoidable. The inevitable consequence of anthropogenic climate change is known as “Loss and Damage” (L&D) which is an emerging topic in climate change negotiations, research and policy as well as in the implementation of climate change action. CSD has been involved in assessing L&D from the both sudden and slow onset events in coastal islands, establishing direct causal link between climate impacts and non-economic losses and quantifying them. CSD also works on approaches to address climate induced L&D by examining the local and international policy and tools.

Sustainable Livelihoods/ Social Business

Climate Change and Adaptation

Agriculture and Food Security

Disaster Management

Coastal Zone Management

Integrated Water Resource Management

Natural Resource Management

Peri-urban and urbanization

Additional Social Research on Gender issues and marginalized communities


Completed Research Projects