The 41st session of Unesco’s World Heritage Committee (WHC) in Krakow, Poland ended on Wednesday, finalising and adopting several decisions regarding the World Heritage Sites, including the Sundarbans.
Throughout the 10-day meeting, the committee examined the status of the World Heritage Sites and made decisions based on their observations.
In the last session of the meeting on Wednesday, the committee focused on the protection of the outstanding universal value of the World Heritage Sites.
Earlier on July 5, the WHC partially withdrew its objection to the construction of the coal-fired power plant in Rampal, Bagerhat, which is only 65km away from the Sundarbans, and gave a number of conditions to Bangladesh regarding the protection of the mangrove forest.
The committee asked Bangladesh to submit an updated report of conservation measures put in place for the Sundarbans and the implementation of all the conditions and measures set by the WHC by December 2018, during its 42nd session.
If the conditions remain unfulfilled or Bangladesh fails to submit the report within the deadline, the WHC will enlist the mangrove forest as a World Heritage in Danger.
When Bangladesh submits the updated report in the 42nd session of the WHC, it will be forwarded to the IUCN for review. Until the IUCN and the WHC are satisfied with the report, Bangladesh cannot start the construction of the power station.
The prime minister’s Power, Energy and Mineral Resources Affairs Adviser Dr Tawfiq-e-Elahi Chowdhury, who led the Bangladesh delegation at the session, told the committee that Bangladesh was looking forward to continuously working with the ICUN to find out pathways that would ensure the government’s commitment to protect the Sundarbans.