Workshop on Bluer, Greener, and Inclusive Growth on the Sundarban through an Ecosystem-based Approach
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On 24 May 2023, the Vivekananda International Foundation (VIF) and the Bangladesh Institute of International and Strategic Studies (BIISS), in partnership with the World Bank, organized a workshop on “Bluer, Greener, and Inclusive Growth on the Sundarban through an Ecosystem-based Approach.” The workshop was attended by officials from the Government of Bangladesh, Government of India, Government of West Bengal, key think tanks, and civil society organizations. The objectives of the workshop were as follow:

  • Identify specific operational pathways and innovations to achieve Bangladesh-India cooperation under the aegis of the 2011 MoU on Conservation of the Sundarban;
  • Develop greater understanding among key stakeholders for bluer, greener, and inclusive growth in the Sundarban across Bangladesh and India; and
  • Prioritize identified interventions across key sectors towards sustainable development in the Sundarban.

Shri Bhupender Yadav, Union Minister for Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Government of India delivered the keynote address at the workshop. Ms. Habibun Nahar, Hon’ble Deputy Minister for Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Government of Bangladesh and Mr. Saber Hossain Chowdhury, Chair of Parliamentary Standing Committee on Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Government of Bangladesh were the Guest of Honour and Special Guest respectively. Other notable speakers includes Dr. Arvind Gupta, Director, VIF; Maj. Gen. Sheikh Pasha Habib Uddin, Director General, BIISS; Mr. Auguste Tano Kouame, World Bank, Country Director for India; Mr. Abdoulaye Seck, World Bank, Country Director for Bangladesh and Bhutan; Mr. Pankaj Saran, India’s former Deputy National Security Advisor and High Commissioner to Bangladesh; and Ms. Cecile Fruman, Director, Regional Integration and Engagement, South Asia, World Bank.

The workshop was divided into several knowledge sessions and each knowledge session had panel discussion on a number of themes including socio-economic development; climate resilience practices; ecosystem-based approaches; adaptive spatial planning; bluer, greener, and inclusive growth; and bilateral cooperation between Bangladesh and India. The key takeaways from the panel discussions included the following: adopt island-specific adaptive spatial planning for sustainable growth; promote blue and green livelihoods with special focus on women and landless households; leverage Bangladesh-India cooperation for social, economic and ecological benefits of the Sundarban, etc. Besides, there was consensus that the 2011 MoU on “Conservation of the Sundarban” between Bangladesh and India is the ideal instrument to achieve sustainable development in the Sundarban and the two countries must hold the next meeting of the Joint Working Group (JWG) on the conservation of the Sundarban at the earliest.

Event Date 
May 24, 2023

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