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Can’t Bangladesh go for green growth?

The concept of sustainability drew global attention through the Brundtland Report on “Our Common Future” published in 1987. It was enriched at the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development held in Rio de Janeiro in 1992, and reaffirmed at the World Summit on Sustainable Development held in Johannesburg in 2002. That Summit urged the global community to complete the formulation and elaboration of national strategies for sustainable development and begin their implementation by 2005, as mapped out in the Johannesburg Plan of Implementation. Sustainable development is now widely accepted as resting on the three pillars of the sustainability of economic growth, social development and environmental protection.

Green Growth Concept (Source: ESCAP, 2007) Components of Green Growth (Source: Korea Forest Service 2010)

Towards green growth
The Asia and Pacific region has become the frontier of the 21st century in shaping world economy. The economic growth is driven primarily by exports which has led to expanded production requirements needed to fuel an ever increasing amount of trade. This has accelerated the environmental degradation of many countries in this region. Gradual environmental degradation, climate change and diminishing natural resources created an extra pressure to adopt an unconventional approach to support the export-driven economic activities of this region. The past axiom of “grow first, clean up later” cannot run more in a region which has limited natural resources and a rapidly growing population directly dependent on natural resources. These countries are now shouldering an increasingly greater share of regional and global environmental production-related burdens.

The fifth Ministerial Conference on “Environment and Development in Asia and the Pacific” held at Seoul in 2005, where approximately 340 delegates, including representatives from 52 members and associate members of ESCAP embraced the approach of environmentally sustainable economic growth (Green Growth). The Conference endorsed Green Growth as a policy and a powerful strategy to promote “win-win” approaches to reconciling the conflict between current pathways for the achievement of two important Millennium Development Goals: MDG 1 (on poverty reduction) and MDG 7 (on environmental sustainability).

Green Growth emphasizes on demand-side management and promotes environmentally sustainable decisions through the market, economic and fiscal systems. It addresses public awareness to environmentally sound governance, and the development and deployment of new environmentally improved technologies.

How far Bangladesh is from green destination?
Climate change, environmental degradation and depletion of natural resources in Bangladesh have been occurring faster than the past two decades due to poverty, over-population and lack of awareness on the subject. It is manifested by deforestation, destruction of wetlands, depletion of soil nutrients, etc. Natural calamities like floods, cyclones and tidal-surges also result in severe socio-economic and environmental damage. Due to high population density and sharply skewed distribution of lands, the forest resources are overexploited. Per capita forestland in the country is around 0.02 ha and the existing natural forests are decreasing at a rate varying from 2.1% /yr to 3.3% /yr.

Bangladesh has adopted smokeless brick-making technology introduced by the UNDP. Smokeless technology would help the country’s brick making industry to become more energy efficient while increasing production and processing. This will lower local pollution and reduce greenhouse gas emissions as well as production costs and improve product quality. The introduction of electric baby taxis is a giant step towards green transportation. But Bangladesh needs to walk faster to reach the green destination.

How can Bangladesh go for it?
-Pursuing a 10-year plan for Green Forest Management to expand carbon sinks and enhance the economic value of forest resources
-Plantation in fallow land and poor grassland to create new carbon sinks
-Reducing the heat island effect through the creation and management of urban forests, homestead forests, street side plantation
-Enhancing arbor and planting activities
-Systematic management of carbon sinks by extending national forests and forest rehabilitations
-Extending the use of bioenergy for replacement of fossil fuels and reduction of carbon emissions
-Increasing manufacturing facilities for wood pellets, small particles generally made from dried and compacted saw dusts
-Reducing greenhouse gas by promoting cycle use of wooden resources
-Emphasising wooden constructions
-Creating a forest carbon cycle village (biomass green town) as a low carbon society model, in which fuels, housing, and public facilities are supplied with independently produced woods
-Conducting long term monitoring of forest ecosystems and special management of vulnerable plant species
-Establishing arboreum in the hilly areas, coastal zones and Mymensingh area for the systematic preservation and management of forest ecological resources
-Improving ‘tailored forest guideline’ based on climatic factors and expand nursery facilities for supplying quality seedlings
-Initiating crop yield insurance
-Reducing vulnerability to forest disasters and constructing an early intervention system
-Conducting domestic model projects of afforestation and reforestation for carbon credits
-Pursuing forest restoration programme in the hilly areas
-Building up regional Green Hub
-Establishing a few research organisations
-Building a cooperative system for response to climate change with local governments
-Operating the ‘Green Practice Agreement’ system which is a partnership reinforcement programme between the forest department and local governments
-Launching ‘forest love movement’ as a national campaign
-Organising a Forest Keeper Network
-Constructing database of forest activities pertaining to forest resources, forest management, changes in land use and forest disasters
-Developing biomass extension coefficients and carbon conversion factors by tree species
-Developing the carbon volume conversion system of statistical data as well as carbon stocking monitoring
-Integrating geographic information, statistical estimation and statistical test systems
-Developing a system for monitoring changes in carbon stocks stored in wooden products in preparation for the forthcoming inclusion of wooden products in a carbon account
-Improving eco- production and eco- economic planning
-Imposing Green Tax on environmentally non-friendly products and services
-Improving environmental governance
-Promoting environmentally friendly goods and services
-Application of industrial ecology concepts
-Adopting 3Rs Model of Japan (recycle, reduce, reuse) and formulating the resource-saving society like in China
-Investing more in natural capital
-Promoting effective enforcement of laws, regulations and standards relating to sustainable development
-Providing support for compliance
-Strengthening institutional structures and the functions of agencies and institutions relevant to sustainable development
-Promoting effective multi-stakeholder partnership for the full participation of all groups in efforts to achieve sustainable development
-Emphasising cleaner production to reduce the energy and materials used per unit of production of goods and services and minimising waste and pollution from production processes
-Creating a recycling society and the environmental sustainability of consumption patterns
-Developing markets for environmentally preferable goods and services and encouraging innovation for the development of sustainable technologies
-Emphasising international trade obligations and multilateral environmental agreements, to be implemented in a manner supportive of environmentally sustainable economic growth

Writer: Dr. Md. Mizanur Rahman, a biodiversity specialist, is Assistant Commissioner, Jhalakathi Collectorate (mizan_peroj

The article was first published in The Daily Star, Bangladesh, the original article was published on 2010.09.25.

This article is uploaded by Majbritt Thomsen, administrator on ‘Views On Tourism’.
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Posted in Asia, Bangladesh, Development, Education and qualification, Performance and management, Sustainability.

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