Environmental initiatives in Bangladesh
Economic development of a country is closely related to environment. Although environmental degradation had started long back in the post industrial revolution era, the issue got international and national attention since the last two decades. [UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (1992) and Kyoto protocol (1997)].
The average temperature of the Earth surface has risen by .74° C since the late 1800s. And it is expected to increase by another 1.8° C to 4° C by the year 2100. Even if the minimum predicted increase takes place, it will be larger than any century-long trend in the last 10,000 years.
The reasons of temperature rise is industrialization, which increase the amount of greenhouse.
As current evidence of climate change we see droughts, heat weaves, intensity of tropical cyclone, sea level rise etc.
Climate change is no longer something to happen in future in Bangladesh. (Example)
Bangladesh is among the countries that are expected to be worst affected by climate change. The government is very much aware of this. It is fully committed to manage climate change in a way the country is protected well from its adverse impact and that the growth path remain stable.
To address the issue, the government has taken a significant initiative recently that is adaptation of Bangladesh Climate Change Strategy and Action Plan (BCCSAP) 2009.
Before we go further I would like to have a look on others policies, laws and regulations available in Bangladesh to protect the
Environment Policy 1992
Basically in Bangladesh, the statutory laws and by-laws are the main sources of environmental legislation.
The Environment Pollution Control Ordinance, 1977 was the first legal enactment specially on environment while later on, in order to provide specific and appropriate guidelines in tandem with maintaining the momentum of development programmes, the government became interested to formulate an environment policy. As a result, in 1992 the Environment Policy was adopted.
[Environment policy 1992]
The policy is undoubtedly a unique one which covers fifteen sectors. But it is very sorry to say that no proper application of the policy by the parties concerned has been apparent as yet.
Environment Conservation Act 1995
With enactment of the law, the focus was shifted from
“pollution-control approach” to “conservation approach”.
According to Section 2, Clause f of the Act, “Conservation of environment means improvement of the qualitative and quantitative characteristics of different components of environment as well as prevention of degradation of those components.”
As per the Act, the government, upon its satisfaction, is empowered to declare any particular area as ‘ecologically critical area (ECA)’ and to specify the activities or processes that cannot be initiated or continued in that area.
Environment Conservation Act was not implemented to a large extent because of ambiguity with regard to its administration.
Environment Court Act 2000
Environment Court Act, 2000 was passed on April 10, 2000 followed by the amendment on March 6, 2002.
As per section 4 of the Environment Court Act, 2000, government shall establish one or more Environment Courts in every division mainly to deal with environmental offences. [recent initiative]
National Forestry Policy 1994
Statements of Nat’l Forestry Policy
Attempts will be made to bring about 20% of the country’s land under the afforestation programs of the government and private sector by year 2015.
Private initiatives will be encouraged to implement programs of tree plantation and afforestation on fallow and hinterland, the bank of the pond and homestead land, which are under private ownership.
Tree plantation on the courtyards of rural organization such as Union Parishad, school, eidgah, mosque-moktob, temple, club, orphanage home, madrassa etc.can be initiated.
Massive afforestation on either side of land surrounding road, rail, dam and khas tank through the partnership of the local people and the NGOs will be commenced.
Special afforestation programs will be taken in every city of the country under the auspices of the government in order to prevent pollution of environment in the densely populated area.
Multiple use of forest, water and fish of Sundarbans through sustained management will be ensured keeping the bio-environment of the area intact.
Steps will be taken to bring state owned forest-based industries competitive and profit oriented management system under the free market economy.
Forest resource based labor intensive small scale and cottage industries will be encouraged in the rural areas.
Funds from different donors including International Aid Organizations will be used to promote private forestry Organizations and tree farming, and for such programs
massive campaign through the government and non-government medias for raising consciousness among the people regarding afforestation and conservation, and use of forest resources.
Forest Department will be strengthened in order to achieve the goal and objectives of National Forestry Policy.
Laws, rules and regulations relating to the forestry sector will be amended and if necessary
Bangladesh Climate Change Strategy and Action Plan 2009
The document was originally prepared in 2008. the current govt started its tenures in 2009 and wish to examine if the actions suggested in the action plan are consistent with its priorities for future economic, social and human development in the country.
To this end, a cabinet review committee was formed under the chairmanship of planning minister.
The revised version followed the guideline and incorporates the views and thinking of the review committee, particularly Vision 2021 of the democratic government including inter alia substantial eradication of poverty the year 2021 now feature as major policy plank the action plan.
Bangladesh Tiger Action Plan 2009-2017
Bangladesh Tiger Action Plan (BTAP) marks the beginning of a structured approach to achieving long-term conservation of tigers in Bangladesh. It is a policy level document that provides a vision, goals, and objectives to guide an integrated and focused tiger conservation programme.
The vision is to ensure protected tiger landscapes in Bangladesh, where wild tiger thrive at optimum carrying capacities and which continue to provide essential ecological services to mankind. The main goal for the next years is to stabilize or increase the Sundarbans tiger population.
BTAP consists of 6 focus areas to secure the future of the tiger. Policy and Management: Strengthening wildlife conservation skills within the Bangladesh Forest Department.
Tiger-Human Conflict: To develop a Tiger-Human Conflict protocol to support the Forest Department in making decisions about tiger intervention, as well as training local response teams.
Collaboration: Tiger conservation task is huge, so we need to increase the number of people involved in order to get everything done to really save tigers.
Research and Monitoring: To developing a national tiger conservation research agenda which lists all of the research needs and send this to universities and NGOs to help focus research efforts in areas of need.
Forest Protection and Law Enforcement: To develop a new Sundarbans patrolling strategy, including rethinking the layout of guard posts in the forest, and the number of Forest Department staff needed to man them.
Education and Awareness: To develop a national tiger conservation education and awareness strategy. This includes training in
conservation communications and social marketing, followed by the designing and implementation of nationwide awareness campaigns targeting priority audiences from policymakers to local communities to the general public.