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Bangladesh targets 25% tree coverage by 2025

  • Published at 08:41 pm October 18th, 2019
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Guests at fourth CSD Annual Conference on Sustainable Development 2019 on Friday, October 18, 2019 Mahmud Hossain Opu/Dhaka Tribune

Principal coordinator (SDG affairs) of Prime Minister's Office Abul Kalam Azad recognized the failure in one goal, forest coverage, stating that overpopulation is barring this achievement

The country's total tree coverage will increase to 25% by 2025 from the existing 22% as the government has initiated different programs to achieve the goal, said a government high up designated for achieving Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Principal coordinator (SDG affairs) of Prime Minister's Office, Abul Kalam Azad, made the statement at the inaugural session of the fourth CSD Annual Conference on Sustainable Development 2019, organized by CSD-ULAB on Friday.

Pointing out the country's achievements in attaining Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), Abul Kalam Azad, the chief guest, in his presentation said seven goals of the MDGs were achieved well before the time. 

He recognized the failure in one goal, forest coverage, stating that overpopulation is barring this achievement.  

“So, forest coverage is almost impossible, but tree coverage which is now 22% will be raised to 25% by 2025.”

While explaining the government actions about attaining SDGs, he said they are planning to increase the number of community clinics from 13,000 to 18,000. 

The principal coordinator of SDGs also said they were working on involving local people through local institutions in 64 districts, where the institutions would identify areas that they are remaining behind. 

They are also thinking of district budgets to make proper allocation, but unfortunately that did not happen, he added. 

In the program, Professor Dr Vally Koubi of ETH Zurich and University of Bern in Switzerland presented her keynote paper– environmental migration, conflict, and the role of resilience. 

She showed how climate change is affecting in larger migration throughout the world, and how that could impact the world economies. 

While looking into the recorded climate-related disaster losses per income group, compared to GDP losses in 1998-2017, the professor said: "It has been observed that the low income group in the low income countries are losing higher GDP than that of high income countries."

'Half million people were forced to migrate due to disasters in 2018'

Quoting Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (IDMC), the professor said some half million (499,000) people were forced to migrate due to ten big disasters in 2018. 

Quoting the World Bank Report 2015, she said: "If no action is taken, some 143 million people might be displaced within 2050, while the major share would be in Africa, Southeast Asia, and a portion of Latin America." 

She also said that climate-related migration can undermine other SDGs, by overwhelming areas receiving large influxes of migrants, which may contribute to conflict, thus challenging peace (SDG16). 

The professor also showed how climate change has impacted in riots or conflicts in recent years, and said environmental migration can lead to conflict in urban areas.

“There is no goal in SDGs on migration but it has been addressed specifically. And we are not on the right track to meet climate change targets,” she said.

After reminiscing about CSD of the university, Board of Trustees Vice President Dr Kazi Anis Ahmed thanked the partner organizations of the conference, saying: “We are always talking about what the problems are for climate change. You need to stress on the solutions.... and that's why we need a conference like this.”

Director of the International Centre for Climate Change and Development (ICCCAD) Dr Saleemul Huq, Professor Imran Rahman, special advisor (Board of Trustees) and also the dean of the university, CSD Director and Associate Professor Dr Samiya Selim were also present at the session. 

At the end of the session, the guests took part in launching a book – Resilience in Action Challenges and Solutions to Climate Change in Bangladesh – edited by Associate Professor Samiya Selim, and others.  

The two-day-long conference will come to an end tomorrow.