Strategic environmental assessment is ongoing on to protect the Sundarbans- Environment Minister, Bangladesh
By Zeba Tarannum
Md. Sahab Uddin, the Minister of Environment, Forests and Climate Change, said, Strategic environmental surveys are being carried out for the south-western part of the country, including the Sundarbans, as part of the government’s firm commitment to conserving the Sundarbans.
He said this while speaking as a chief guest at a meeting with national-level partners on Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA)of South-western and Sundarbans at Pan Pacific Sonargaon Hotel in the capital on 17th February 2021.
The Minister said the prepared Strategic Environmental Assessment Report and the Strategic Environmental Management Plan would provide clear guidelines for the Sundarbans’ conservation. We will ensure the conservation of the Sundarbans by implementing the development activities in the south-western part of the country accordingly. The government has also recently approved a project named ‘Sundarbans Protection’ to strengthen the Sundarbans conservation activities.
Md. Sahab Uddin said a lot of development work had been planned in the south-western part of the country. After the launch of the dream Padma Bridge, the development plan’s implementation is expected to be further accelerated.
The Strategic Environmental Survey of the Southwest and the Sundarbans is being completed through a technical project with full government funding to ensure its conservation so that the Sundarban is not harmed due to the implementation of policies, plans and activities related to the country’s development process. Ministries and Implementing Agencies of development projects will work based on awareness and coordination to ensure environmental protection activities in the south-western region, including the Sundarbans.
“The Sundarbans is not only our resource but also the resource of the world. It is almost impossible to make an accurate economic assessment of the way the Sundarbans protect us from cyclones and tidal surges,” he added.
Apart from this, a part of the Sundarbans is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and the entire Sundarbans is a Ramsar site. So conservation of Sundarbans is the responsibility of all of us. An international and national joint venture consulting firm is conducting the survey.
All preliminary reports submitted by the consulting firm have already been reviewed and finalized by the Review Committee, so we are hoping to get the final report of this survey within the next six months.
Ziaul Hasan, Secretary at the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change, presided over the meeting. Begum Habibun Nahar, the Deputy Minister of Environment, Forests and Climate Change, Ahmed Shamim Al Razi the Additional Secretary (Development), Amir Hossain Chowdhury the Chief Forest Conservator and Malik Fida A Khan Pramuk the Executive Director of Center for Environmental and Geographic Information Services spokes as the special guest.
Professor Barry Dalal-Clayton, Team Leader of Czech Republic’s Integra Consulting, delivered the main presentation. Various concerned ministries, governmental and non-governmental organizations gave their views on the strategy paper.