PMO to brief media on UNESCO meet update tomorrow
Published : Monday, 8 July, 2019 at 12:00 AM Count : 840
The World Heritage Committee of UNESCO has 'decided not to keep the Sundarban', the world's largest mangrove forest, on the list of "World Heritage in Danger" for the next one year. The UN agency asked Bangladesh to submit an updated report taken so far to protect the Sundarban to the committee by February 2020.
The committee also recommended that Bangladesh to invite an expert team of the World Heritage Committee to visit Sundarban to supervise the situation on ground. The decisions were taken unanimously at the 43rd session of the 21-member World Heritage Committee meeting recently held at Baku, Azerbaijan.
"To apprise the UNESCO's meeting update, the Prime Minister Office (PMO) will arrange a media briefing on Tuesday (tomorrow)," Power Cell DG Mohammad Hossain told the Daily Observer on Sunday.
He said China, Cuba and Bosnia and Herzegovina placed the proposal to keep the Sundarban out of the list of 'World Heritage in Danger' right now. 15 countries, including Azerbaijan, Brazil, Indonesia, Kuwait, Tunisia, Tanzania, Uganda, Zimbabwe and observer member India made statements in favour of the proposal.
The World Heritage Centre of UNESCO declared Sundarban as a "World Heritage in Danger" site as UNESCO was discontent with the measures taken to protect the Sundarban in purview of the Rampal Thermal Power Plant and other development projects.
In 2017, the government sent a delegation to the 41st meeting of UNESCO World Heritage committee. The UNESCO team set a guideline for the projects and asked the government to submit updates to them on regular basis. World Heritage centre requested the government to invite them to assist to prepare a set of corrective measures to secure the Sundarban from any potential environmental danger.
However, the government claimed that the Rampal would not pose danger to the Sundarban as it sufficient measures to combat the pollution of the coal-based power project. Due to all these anomalies, the World Heritage Committee of UNESCO has decided to keep the Sundarban on the list of "World Heritage in Danger", stating as agreed with the UNESCO's 41st session in 2017.
The UNESCO stated that government did not make enough progress on the undertaking of Structural Environment Assessment (SEA) checklist for the southwest region. Moreover, Bangladesh allowed construction of two additional power plants on the Payra River and numerous other industrial projects within the periphery of the Sundarban in the Southwest region. The government was also dredging the river, posing threat to the mangrove forest."
It noted that "Little progress has been achieved to address the significant threats" to protect the Sundarban."