Thursday, December 10, 2015, Agrahayan 26, 1422 BS, Safar 27, 1437 Hijri

Sundarban steals the show at Paris COP 21 meet
BD, India move to protect the mangrove forest
Published :Thursday, 10 December, 2015,  Time : 12:00 AM  View Count : 41
BananiMallick from Paris
It is the humans who make boundaries, but tigers know no boundaries, both environment ministers from Indian and Bangladeshi made this statement at COP 21 meeting on Wednesday.
"The subcontinent, especially Sundarban, shares tigers as well as impact of climate change. We human make so many divides, but it is the tigers who know no boundaries," he said at a meeting jointly organized by Bangladesh and India for the survival of Sundarban at the UN climate summit in Paris.
Within two months we will sit along with my colleague, chief minister of West Bengal to work out the joint management plan on Sundarban - Prakash Javadekar, India's Environment Minister said while talking to the journalists.
Talking to the Daily Observer Prakash Javadekar said "Sundarbans may be in two countries but tigers know no boundary ? this hotspot has to be preserved together. We have already agreed that we will have a joint management plan to preserve Sundarbans. Within two months we will sit along with my colleague, chief minister of West Bengal, to work out the joint management plan on Sundarbans".
Apart from official meet the global civil society organizations have also raised the issue of Sundarbans's climate vulnerability in Paris in context to issue of loss and damage.
Talking with the Daily Observer, Environment Minister, Anwar Hossain Manju said that this (joint Bangladesh and India effort to conserve Sundarban from climate change) is an important initiative and we are fully prepared to support Indian government on that.
 "We will try to work out how the climate vulnerability of Sundarban can be raised with global platform jointly and much more strongly," stated Bangladesh minister Manju to the Daily Observer on the sidelines of the meeting."
This is the first time that the two countries have come together to discuss the survival of the region, a world natural heritage site where climate change threat has posed an immense threat to its occupants and its unique ecosystem, at a key international climate change event.
Within two months, both Indian and Bangladesh Environment Ministers along with West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee are scheduled to meet on the issue.
 "Sundarban, with 13 million people spread across India and Bangladesh, is one of the worst sufferers of changing climate despite its occupants virtually contributes nothing to climate change. If we do not have an effective deal including loss and damage in Paris people in Sundarban and similar areas will suffer without any fault of theirs" stated Harjeet Singh in a meeting of many global civil society organizations.
"We have received a resolution from civil society group in West Bengal, named Sabuj Mancha, which clearly spells out the climate vulnerability of the people in Sundarban"said Singh to the Daily Observer.
About two-thirds of the Sundarban is in Bangladesh; the rest in West Bengal, India. Sea level rise, more than twice the global average, and increasing frequency of high intensity storms are threatening the submersion of the island region.
The vulnerability is extreme as the population living here is huge and impoverished, with 44 per cent of the residents living below the poverty line.
"It's a very welcome development. The Sundarban's climate change-related vulnerability has not come into adequate focus so far because the region is split among India and Bangladesh and the countries were not raising the issue together," said Anurag Danda of WWF India, a Sundarban expert.
"It's a win-win situation for both countries, as apart from financial support, a joint push for the Sunderban is also likely to create a high degree of climate adaptation strategies for the region, potentially the biggest among island regions," said another Sundarban expert.
Experts point out that though the two countries have signed a number of protocols to conserve the mangrove forest, they mostly remain on paper. The recent IPCC document on the vulnerability of island regions to changing climate has not included the Sundarban despite its vulnerability being higher than most island areas because it is a region, not a country.
 The Sundarban meeting was organized at the India pavilion of Paris climate  summit with support of a civil society consortium of India and Bangladesh, Bangladesh- India Sunderbans Region Cooperation Initiative (BISRCI), supported by World Bank. Various experts including WWF India head Ravi Singh and PinakRanjanChakrabarty, a former Indian High Commissioner to Bangladesh were present at the meeting.

Editor : Iqbal Sobhan Chowdhury
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