Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Monday (October 16, 2023) asked the officials concerned to make sure that developments projects don’t impede the free flow of water bodies, including rivers and canals. “We have to ensure the uninterrupted flow of rivers. Keeping that in mind, we have to carry out our projects and development activities,” she said. The prime minister said this while inaugurating various projects under the ministries of water resources and health. She joined the programme from her official residence, Ganabhaban, through video link. She said that in the name of development it is often seen that all water bodies are filled up. “I think that this is very fulsome. All have to take step to save the water resources whenever any project is taken up or implemented,” she stressed. Hasina also put importance on preserving water during the monsoon season. She put emphasis on continuous capital dredging and maintenance dredging whichever is needed for the water bodies. Read more: Bangladesh is a role model to least development countries: Shahab Uddin The PM also said that the natural flow of the rivers, canals, beels (lake-like wetland) and other water bodies must not be hindered during implementation of any development project. She asked the relevant authorities to ensure having at least one water reservoir in every development project. Mentioning water as the biggest resource for the country, she said that all water bodies must have to be protected. “The nature will flow by its own course, and we have to take steps to save our resources going with that flow,” she said. Read more: Development should prioritise environmental protection over environmental damage: Dr Hossain Zillur Health and Family Welfare Minister Zahid Maleque and State Minister for Water Resources Ministry Zaheed Farooque also spoke at the programme.
A new $20 million ecosystems project has been launched to protect critical forests and wetland areas in Bangladesh from degradation. Planning Minister MA Mannan and USAID Deputy Administrator for Policy and Programming Isobel Coleman jointly launched the new five-year project. The launching ceremony was held in a city hotel on Tuesday afternoon. Also read:USAID Deputy Administrator Coleman in Bangladesh USAID Mission Director Kathryn Stevens also joined to launch the new project along with other senior government officials from the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change; the Ministry of Fisheries and Livestock; and the Ministry of Land, including the Department of Fisheries, Department of Environment, and the Bangladesh Forest Department. The project will bring together government agencies and local communities to protect critical ecosystems, and build resilience to climate change impacts in the Sundarbans Reserve Forest in Khulna, and forests and wetland ecosystems in Sylhet. The project targets two key areas, including the Sundarbans mangrove forest, a UNESCO World Heritage site and home to the Royal Bengal tiger, and forest and freshwater wetland ecosystems of the Sylhet border region in northeastern Bangladesh. The project will also help communities build long term climate resilience by adopting climate-smart agriculture approaches and learning business skills to diversify and increase their incomes, moving away from reliance on natural resources from forests for their livelihoods. The new “Protibesh” programme builds on a long-standing partnership between USAID, the government of Bangladesh (GoB) and local community leaders to protect and sustainably manage the country's biologically rich landscapes and ecosystems. Also read: USAID launches $5 mn project to empower women in RMG factories Applying lessons learned from previous interventions to strengthen environmental governance and sustainable forest and wetland management, “Protibesh” will be locally led by community members and GoB counterparts, including the Ministry of Environment, Ministry of Planning, Ministry of Fisheries and Livestock, Ministry of Land, and the Bangladesh Forest Department. As a result of “Protibesh” conservation, and climate adaptation and mitigation activities, Bangladesh will be able to combat the effects of climate change, protect the country's critical natural resources a rich source of life and livelihoods for the people of Bangladesh and build resilience to climate induced natural disasters, said the USAID. Over the past 25 years, USAID has worked closely with Bangladesh to combat climate change and strengthen environmental conservation. Over this period, USAID has worked with local communities and government of Bangladesh officials to protect more than 2.5 million acres of wetlands and forest areas. With Bangladesh among USAID target countries in USAID's Climate Strategy, USAID is working to substantially reduce carbon emissions and help countries adapt to the climate crisis.