Environment and Climate Change Policy Gap Analysis in Haor AreasAug 29, 2016
Support to Sustainable and Inclusive Planning (SSIP) project in collaboration with the General Economics Division( GED) organized a workshop on ‘Environment and Climate Change Policy Gap Analysis in Haor Areas’ on 29 August 2016 in at Moulvibazar.
The core purpose of the workshop was to review and explore the gaps in the existing policies adopted by the Government of Bangladesh in combating environmental degradation and impact of climate change, particularly in haor areas. The workshop also aimed to facilitate the process of engagement of all stakeholders in safeguarding this natural habitat and improving the life and livelihood of the people living in haors.
The workshop brought together a total of 52 participants from a wide range of relevant stakeholders across the public sectors, development partners, academia, journalists and community people.
Dr. M. Mokhlesur Rahman, Executive Director, Center for Natural Resource Studies (CNRS) presented the keynote paper titled ‘Environment and Climate Change Policy Gap Analysis in Haor Areas of Bangladesh’ at the workshop.
Mentioning the characteristics of haor.
In his welcome speech Naquib Bin Mahbub, Chief, General Economics Division, & NPD, SSIP Project He hoped that the workshop would suggest some concrete recommendations so that GED can incorporate those in the national plans and programme under public investment programme.
Fakrul Ahsan, Project Manager, SSIP Project, UNDP said that it is not possible for the Government to address environmental issues only by introducing policy. For effective management of natural resources as well as safeguarding environment and to face climate related disaster Mr. Ahsan emphasized for building
partnership with local people. As their life and livelihoods depends on natural resources of hoars; so their ownership is a key for maintaining the bio-diversity and ecological balance of the hoars areas.
The Guest of Honour of the workshop, Director General, Department of Bangladesh Haor and Wetland Development, Md. Majibur Rahman, mentioned that haors are important for Bangladesh economy, as it is the 2nd largest sweet water reservoir for fish; it is one of the unique biodiversity heritages in the world. This heritage honors the people living in haor areas.
The Special Guest, Ms. Shaila Khan, Senior Programme Advisor (Assistant Country Director), UNDP Bangladesh appreciated free and frank discussion and opinion expressed by the stakeholders concerning the development of haors.
The Chief Guest, Professor Dr. Shamsul Alam, Member (Senior Secretary), General Economics Division (GED), Planning Commission, in his remarks highlighted the importance of Hoars in the Bangladesh’s economy. He said that awareness to save the natural resources has increased among the people of all walks of life. Referring to the different initiatives taken by the GoB for the development of haor, he pointed out that GoB has established Department of Bangladesh Haor and Wetland Development, prepared Haor Development Master Plan, established fish sanctuary and created groups to protect haor by involving local people.
Most of the recommendations from the workshop are also reflected in the Haor Development Master Plan. The significant recommendation made by the workshop are-
-Establishment of Ecotourism
-Engagement of Private Sector in Haor Development
-Comprehensive Data and Rigorous Research
-Coordination among Government Agencies
Haor basin in Bangladesh comprised of large areas of seven districts, namely Sylhet, Sunamganj, Habiganj, Moulvibazar, Kishoreganj, Brahmanbaria and Netrokona districts covering an area of 20,022 square kilometers (Master Plan of Haor Area, 2012). Most of the Hoars areas remain under water for about 6-7 months of a year and a substantial area are perennial wetland.