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Tuesday, April 6, 2010

The India- Bangladesh Sundarbans Ecosystem Forum to be launched in September

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India and Bangladesh have agreed to launch a joint forum for the conservation of ecologically vulnerable and climatically sensitive area of Sundarbans – as per Mr. Jairam Ramesh, Union Minister of State for Environment and Forests on April 4, 2010. The joint forum which is to be launched in September 2010 is to be called as “The India- Bangladesh Sundarbans Ecosystem Forum”.

Sunderbans credit: Johnson Space Center

The South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) Summit is scheduled to be held at Thimphu later this month. The summit is important in view of the need of international cooperation on environmental issues. As a part of the overall process, work on a convention for environmental cooperation among the SAARC countries, have already been initiated as per the minister.

The India- Bangladesh Sunderbans Ecosystem Forum will include civil societies and non-government organisations of the two countries. These bodies of the two countries are to carry out afforestation, mangroves management and conservation of the tiger through coordinated efforts. During the programme, the tiger census has also been planned to be undertaken through joint efforts. Since the area of Sunderbans is covered in the two countries it is important that both the countries should share their plans and experiences for conservation of the vulnerable ecosystems of Sunderbans.

Mangroves of Sunderbans

The Union Cabinet in India has already approved an amount of Rs. 1,156 crore for Integrated Coastal Zone Management project, declared the minister. Out of this approved amount, Rs. 300 crore are to be spent in the region of West Bengal only. The funding for the project is to be made by the World Bank. The project which is to be executed within a period of five years will incorporate prevention of the erosions of islands building of storm shelters, promotion of ecotourism, improving the livelihood conditions of the inhabitants of the area and electrification of the Sagar Island. According to the minister, a sum of Rs. 450 crore has also been sanctioned by the 13th Finance Commission for improving the ecology of critical areas in the region.

Key Words: Ecosystem, Sunderbans, Forum, Vulnerable, sensitive, international cooperation, environmental issue, SAARC, non-government organisation, civil society, working plan, Project, West Bengal, conservation, erosion, Union Cabinet,Integrated Coastal Zone Management Project, Sagar Island, World Bank, ecotourism, census, electrification.

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