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Bangladesh - Health - January 30, 2022

Conserve BD hill forests to save from climate disaster

Industry Desk: Speakers at a consultation on the formulation of the National Adaptation Plan (NAP) yesterday stressed the conservation of the hill forests in Bandarban to save the region from climate disaster.
The consultation was jointly organised by the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC), Economic Relations Division (ERD) and United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) with support from the Green Climate Fund (GCF).
The speakers expressed concerns over the native species destroying plantation and horticulture practices. Although horticulture is bringing economic benefit to the farmers, rampant use of pesticides has emerged as a major threat to biodiversity, they said.
Considering different vulnerability factors including extreme level water scarcity, deforestation, worsening biodiversity, flash flood Bandarban district was selected to conduct the consultation.
Bandarban has been ranked second among the climate-vulnerable 10 hotspots in Bangladesh.
The country on the other hand is ranked seventh among the climate-vulnerable countries globally (South Asian hotspots, World Bank, 2018).
Additional Secretary of the MoEFCC and National Project Director of the National Adaptation Plan (NAP) Formulation Project Md Mizanul Haque Chowdhury informed the participants about Bangladesh’s priorities outlined in SDG, Delta Plan 2100, Perspective plan, five-year plan and its ambition to graduate from a Least developed country to a middle-income country.
“We are committed to implementing the Glasgow Climate Pact signed during the COP26. We will work in close coordination with all the public and private entities, development partners and the people to keep the temperature well below 1.5 degrees Celsius and protect the biodiversity”
He explained that the objective of the consultation was to understand the local vulnerability issues and get feedback from the participants on these for incorporation in the NAP.
Mizanul Haque was present as the chief guest while Amal Krishna Mandal, Join Secretary, Wing Chief, Economic Relations Division (ERD) was present as the special guest.

Bandarban Deputy Commissioner Yasmin Parvin Tibriji, chaired the consultation.

More than 80 representatives from district administration, local government representatives, civil society representatives, sectoral experts, professionals, journalists and academia attended the event and provided their valuable comments and feedback to enrich the plan with locally specific climate adversities and adaptation needs.

Participants from different parts of the Rangamati and Khagrachari districts joined over zoom.

While delivering the keynote presentation, Professor Dr Ainun Nishat, Team Leader of the NAP Formulation Consortium said, “We will incorporate the locally-led adaptation practices in the NAP”.

He drew examples from the changing patterns of the climate and added that Chattogram Hill Tracts is heavy rainfall region and it is a major contributing factor to flash floods causing havoc.

“We have to adopt measures on how to tackle such challenges”, he said.

For successful implementation of the NAP, he underlined incorporation of the NAP in the local, national and sub-national development planning and transformative capacity building.

Khan Jamal Lusai, botanist and former academic emphasised on maintaining the navigability of the rivers and regular flow of water in the hill Charas would transform the life and livelihood of the hill people.

“As there is no cultivable plain land, the hill people have no other choice but to do Jhum cultivation and produce cotton, vegetables and fruits”.

He also said that Jhum cultivation is not as productive as it was in the past.

“We need to look beyond Jhum cultivation and introduce economic activities that support the livelihood of the hill people,” he said.

Ripon Chakma, executive director of Trinomul Unnayan Sangstha said that Use of herbicide and pesticide in mango cultivation is destroying the hill ecosystem. Large scale horticulture destroying the native species is likely to harm the ecosystem and biodiversity in the entire hill tracts regions.

Rafiqul Islam, deputy director, Department of Agricultural Extension said, “We can consider conducting a study on season-specific availability of water in different regions. Based on the findings, we can erect permanent dam and reservoirs on an experimental basis and harvest rainwater”.

Buddhojoti Chakma, Correspondent of Prothom Alo said that destroying the biodiversity will only result in destroying the natural sources of water.

Monirul Islam Monu of Kalerkantho said that Introduction of exotic horticulture without any study can be deadly for the biodiversity of the hill region.

“Furthermore, we must stop burning our forests in the illegal brick fields and stone excavation.”

A K M Azad Rahman, Programme Officer-Climate Change, UNDP said, “Bandarban and the entire CHT needs special adaptation measures” He advocated for Village Common Forest (VCF), a traditional practice to conserve community land for ecosystem services among other adaptation measures.

Amal Krishna Mandal said, “We are confident that we will have a country driven NAP that will document locally led adaptation efforts”.

Yasmin Parvin thanked the participants and said that The NAP should put utmost priority on solving the water crisis and land slide in the Bandarban as well as the entire CHT region.

“We will continue such dialogues with all the relevant public agencies and stakeholders to address our local problem in a coordinated way.”

The country on the other hand is ranked seventh among the climate-vulnerable countries globally (South Asian hotspots, World Bank, 2018).

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