09 Jul 2024, 17:17

Bangladesh, Germany ink 2 deals to conserve Sundarbans 

DHAKA, July 9, 2024 (BSS) - In a significant step towards the Sundarbans management and environmental conservation, Bangladesh and Germany signed two agreements today.

Environment Secretary Dr Farhina Ahmed and Acting Country Director of the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) Bangladesh Martina Burkard inked the agreements, on behalf of their respective sides, at the Bangladesh Secretariat here.  

Under the deals, sustainable management of the Sundarbans and the Marine Protected Area (MPA) Swatch of No Ground (SONG) will be ensured.

Speaking on the occasion, Environment Secretary Dr Farhina Ahmed said ‘Integrated Management of the Sundarbans Mangroves and the Marine Protected Area Swatch of No Ground in Bangladesh (SONG) project’ is a collaborative effort between the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC) and the Ministry of Fisheries and Livestock. 

She said the SONG project aims to strengthen marine conservation in Bangladesh by improving collaboration and capacity-building among responsible authorities and stakeholders, engaging fishermen, women, and youth in the coastal communities adjacent to the MPA. 

The key objectives include enhancing planning and surveillance capacities, scientific monitoring, strengthened knowledge-based decision-making through digital tools, and heightened awareness and support for marine protection among coastal populations and active participation in marine conservation.

Dr Farhina said the ‘Strengthening Regional Cooperation and Financing for Sustainable Management of the Sundarbans and Restoration of Coastal Ecosystems in the Bay of Bengal in Bangladesh and India (SUNDAR-BAY) project’ will be implemented from March 2024 to February 2027, focusing on the collaborative efforts between Bangladesh and India for the conservation of the Sundarbans, the world’s largest mangrove forest.

She said the SUNDAR-BAY project aims to improve governmental and non-governmental coordination between the two countries, supporting the conservation of the Sundarbans and the provision of ecosystem services to local communities, especially women and marginalised groups. 

The project will enhance institutional capacities, promote joint training programmes, and support local communities through sustainable income-generating activities and environmental education, the secretary said.

Both projects are contributing to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of Life Below Water (SDG 14) and Life on Land (SDG 15), emphasising biodiversity and the protection of natural resources.

These initiatives reflect the commitment of Bangladesh and Germany to protect vital ecosystems and foster sustainable development in the region. The collaborative efforts are expected to yield significant environmental, social, and economic benefits, ensuring the preservation of the Sundarbans and the Swatch of No Ground for future generations.

Dr. Stefan Alfred Groenewold, Principal Advisor, SONG GIZ Bangladesh; and Md Amir Hosain Chowdhury, Chief Conservator of Forests, also signed agreement on behalf of their respective sides.

Additional Secretary (Development) Md Mosharraf Hossain, Additional Secretary (EPC) Tapan Kumar Biswas and senior officials of the ministry and GIZ were present on the occasion. 

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