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‘Coordinated planning needed to protect Haor areas’

  • Published at 01:03 am April 28th, 2017
‘Coordinated planning needed to protect Haor areas’
Rigorous and coordinated planning is necessary in order to protect the Haor areas from disasters like flash flood that is currently causing losses worth several thousand crores of taka, speakers said on Thursday. “There is a lack of coordination in the planning of Haor development and protection,” said eminent economist Dr Wahiduddin Mahmud at the unveiling ceremony of three reports. “A comprehensive plan with involvement of all ministries concerned is needed for the development of the Haor areas.” He said since protecting haors is a priority as these water bodies are free natural reservoirs in the country. The reports, “Data Gap Analysis for Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs): Bangladesh Perspective,” “Banking Atlas” and “Environment and Climate Change Policy Gap Analysis in Haor Areas” – were unveiled at the National Economic Council conference room in Dhaka. Wahiduddin, also a former professor of Dhaka University, attended the event as a special guest. The ceremony was organised jointly by the General Economic Division of the Planning Commission and Support to Sustainable and Inclusive Planning (SSIP) project of the UNDP Bangladesh. Dr Hamidul Haque, professor of economics at United International University, said it was the policy makers’ fault that the haor embankments were not strong enough to hold the onrush of flood water – not the engineers’ who built them. “The Department of Agricultural Extension is responsible for the agricultural development in the Haor areas, so they should pay more attention to the planning,” he added. Dr KAS Murshid, director general of Bangladesh Institute of Development Studies, said people living in the Haor areas should be provided with skill development training so they have better livelihood opportunities. Planning Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal, who attended the event as well, blamed climate change for the flood in the Haor areas. “We can hardly do anything about this situation… our hands are tied because the main reason behind this is climate change,” he said. He said an extensive plan formulated with the help of experts was needed to overcome the present situation. He also said solar panels would be installed in Haor areas for the betterment of local people. Moreover, the government is working to improve the lives of nearly 5.7 million marginalised people in the country, the minister added. The speakers also discussed the lack of data regarding the indicators of the 17 SDGs set by the UN, as well as the development of cooperative master plan and cancellation of lease system and the increase in public participation in the banking sector. Bangladesh facing ‘considerable’ data gap There is a “considerable” gap in the data collected via monitoring the indicators of the SDGs in Bangladesh, according to the report titled “Data Gap Analysis for Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs): Bangladesh Perspective,” prepared by the General Economic Division. The UN set a total of 230 indicators to monitor the progress of achieving 169 targets under 17 SDGs. Of them, the government currently has complete data on only 70 indicators, which is less than one-third of the total indicators, the report says. Of the rest, the government has partial data on 108 indicators and absolutely no data on 63 indicators, according to the report.