Dialogue With Representatives From The Local Government Institutions On Environmental Protection And Climate Change

Date: 30 Sep, 2023

Venue: Western Inn, Khulna

Dialogue With Representatives From The Local Government Institutions On Environmental Protection And Climate Change was organized by AOSED focused on the severe impacts of climate change in Khulna highlighting issues such as saltwater intrusion, riverbank erosion, extreme weather, and damage to agriculture and biodiversity. Concerns were also raised about the devastating effects of recent cyclones like SIDR and Aila, emphasizing the need for improved recovery programs. A significant discussion point was the disconnect between policymakers and local communities, urging greater inclusion of local knowledge and traditional practices in policymaking. Additionally, the lack of awareness among local officials and insufficient collaboration among stakeholders were seen as major hurdles to effective environmental protection and climate change mitigation. The event was moderated by Shamim Arfeen, Executive Director of AOSED. Mayor of Khulna City Corporation Mr. Talukder Abdul Khaleque was the chief guest of the event.

Key discussions addressed the pressing environmental concerns. The Mayor of Khulna City Corporation emphasized the critical role of the Sundarbans in protecting the region and called for heightened public awareness before initiating development projects that might harm the environment. He stressed the need for balancing development with environmental preservation to safeguard the future of the area. MP Akhtaruzzaman Babu spoke about the unique challenges faced by coastal areas, such as the increasing frequency and intensity of cyclones, and the resultant displacement of communities. He underscored the importance of collaboration among various stakeholders and proposed infrastructure solutions like constructing dams to mitigate the impacts of flooding and saltwater intrusion. MP Mir Mostaque Ahmed Robi suggested the establishment of dedicated boards specifically focused on the conservation and sustainable management of the Sundarbans. He also recommended forming a multilateral committee that would include representatives from local communities, scientists, and policymakers to develop and implement long-term sustainable solutions for environmental protection and climate resilience. These speeches collectively highlighted the necessity of integrating local knowledge with scientific expertise to address the complex environmental challenges in Khulna.

The dialogue concluded with several important outcomes aimed at addressing the climate challenges in coastal region of Bangladesh. Local government authorities committed to working collaboratively on various climate action projects to mitigate the impacts of environmental changes. AOSED proposed plans to initiate comprehensive awareness programs tailored for coastal communities, aiming to educate residents about climate change effects and adaptive practices. Additionally, there was a consensus on the necessity of forming inclusive committees that incorporate both traditional knowledge and innovative solutions, ensuring that policy decisions reflect the needs and expertise of local communities. Policymakers will be formally notified about this action plan, emphasizing the importance of a multi-faceted approach to environmental management. Moreover, strategies were outlined to actively engage youth and future generations in climate action, recognizing their vital role in sustaining long-term environmental health. These strategies include educational campaigns, youth-led initiatives, and partnerships with schools and universities to foster a culture of environmental stewardship from a young age. Overall, the dialogue underscored the need for a united front, increased awareness, and inclusive policies to effectively tackle the pressing climate issues facing in coastal region.