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Neglecting the urban poorest in research, policy and action for climate change adaptation

evidence from Pakistan

Manoj Roy
David Hulme


In Bangladesh poverty has an urban future, and climate change is making this future becoming a reality within this generation. This paper reviews recent poverty related academic and policy documents, research programmes and projects by domestic and international institutes, and activities undertaken by NGOs and civil society activists. It also draws on a recent study on two slums, one located in Dhaka and the other in a secondary town, Bhairob. The aim is to assess whether urban poverty is given the level of attention it deserves, nationally as well as in big cities and small towns. The findings reveal that a proper acknowledgement of and attention to this phenomenon is largely absent in the national climate change policies and actions, as well as in national poverty reduction strategies. There is research bias towards rural poverty and macroeconomic issues; research on urban poverty is limited in number, dated and often based on either non-representative surveys or on a handful of better-off slums located in the capital city Dhaka. The number of poverty related datasets is growing, but most of these are rural, and indeed, village datasets as they exclude rural centres and small towns. There is no panel dataset on urban poverty; most available urban datasets do not follow international standards therefore cannot be seamlessly incorporated, nor do they appear in international publications. In terms of grass-root level actions, the two case studies reveal an expanding level of NGO activities, but there is a lack of coordination and consistency. The situation in big cities, such as Dhaka where the presence of local government is minimal, is worse than in small towns, such as Bhairab where the presence of a slum development officer is instrumental. The paper concludes that refocus of national policies and reorientation research towards urban poverty and grass-root level coordination of NGO-local government activities is key to effective adaptation of the urban poor.

Publication Type(s)

Conference Paper

Ten Years of War Against Poverty Conference Papers

Conference: Ten Years of War Against Poverty


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