Desk Report: The leaders of the government and the opposition party have announced a specific commitment to the development of the coastal region in the election manifesto.
They announced this by participating in the National Coastal Dialogue entitled ‘Manifesto of the Coastal People’ at the National Press Club on Monday.
Nikhil Chandra Bhadra, coordinator of Sundarbans and Coastal Protection Movement, presided over the dialogue organized by development organization ‘LEDARS’ and ‘Participatory Research and Action Network (PRAAN).
Shekhar Dutta member of Awami League election manifesto formulation sub-committee,
Sunil Shuvo Roy presidium member of Jatiya Party, Saiful Haque general secretary of Revolutionary Workers Party, Advocate Subrata Chowdhury General Secretary of Gano Forum, Bazlur Rashid Feroz Secretary general of Bangladesh Samajtantrik Dal (Basad), Manvendra Deb central member of Communist Party Bangladesh-CPB, Mostafa Alamgir Ratan and Sabbah Ali Khan Collins member of Bangladesh Workers Party Central Committee were the guests in the dialogue.
The chief negotiator in the dialogue was the prominent media personality Monjurul Ahsan Bulbul.
Shyamal Dutta, General Secretary of National Press Club, Sharif Jamil Coordinator of Waterkeepers-Bangladesh, Khairuzzaman Kamal Treasurer of Bangladesh Federal Journalist Union,
Kawsar Rahman President of Bangladesh Climate Change Journalists Forum, Mir Muhammad Ali Professor of Sher-e-Bangla Agricultural University, Rafiqul Islam Azad former President of Dhaka Reporters Unity, Nazmul Ahsan Manager of Action Aid and others participated in the discussion.
Mohon Kumar Mondal, Executive Director of LEDARS, presented the main article in the dialogue.
Nurul Alam Masoud Chief Executive of PRAN delivered the welcome speech.
The demand raised in the dialogue said that the coastal zone should be declared as special climate vulnerable area. Special allocation should be given in the national budget every financial year for the protection and development of the area. Coastal Development Board should be formed for sustainable development. Permanent provision of safe drinking water should be ensured. To avoid disaster damage, ‘One House One Shelter Home’ program should be initiated in coastal areas on the lines of ‘One House One Farm’ scheme. The World Heritage Sundarbans ecosystem should be protected by taking effective measures and by planting trees, green belt should be built on the coast. Permanent and strong embankment should be constructed and repaired.
Journalist leader Monjurul Ahsan Bulbul said that the election manifesto is a written document of a political party. It will be a big achievement if the climate issue is recorded in the manifesto this time. It will also be seen how much those who will come to power have implemented the manifesto. The opposition parties must put pressure on the government to implement their promises.
Expressing agreement with the demands raised in the dialogue, Awami League leader Shekhar Dutta said that integrated development of the whole country is the promise of the present government. Before Awami League came to power, the entire coastal region was neglected for a long time. After the government led by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina assumed power, special steps have been taken for the development of the region. Various projects including construction of sustainable embankment, clean water system have been taken up. He promised to mention a separate paragraph for the coast in the manifesto for formulating an integrated development plan in the future.
Jatiya Party presidium member Sushil Shuvo Roy said that only those who are in power implement their manifesto not giving importance to the advice of the opposition parties. Therefore, for the sake of the people, the government should also consider the suggestions of the opposition. He called for building a regional movement to deal with the risk of climate change.
Saiful Haque, General Secretary of Revolutionary Workers Party said that the way in which reproductive health of girls is being disrupted due to climate change is a cause of great concern. And coal-based power plants are a threat to the south. It will cause various problems in the environment and nature. Millions of people will be displaced due to climate change in the next few years. Therefore, these projects must be stopped to protect the south-western region. Besides, the displaced people should be protected through proper planning.
General Secretary of Gano Forum Subrata Chowdhury said that climate funds are not utilized properly.
In the main article Mohon Kumar Mondal said that although the role of Bangladesh in climate change is very minor, the coastal people are the most affected by climate change. Due to geographical conditions, frequent natural disasters, fragile infrastructure, long-term salinity etc. The people of the entire coastal area are in crisis of livelihood, resources, food, water and shelter. People are leaving the coast in search of life and livelihoods. The marginalized people of the coast, civil society and public representatives have been struggling for a long time to overcome this crisis. Addressing this long-term crisis requires political commitment and initiative. He also said that despite being at risk of severe disasters due to climate change, the people of the southwest coast are always discriminated against in terms of allocation in the national budget. The people are expecting announcement from the political parties ahead of the 12th National Parliament Elections regarding the end of this discrimination.