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Setting the agenda for 2020

  • Published at 12:03 am January 1st, 2020
2020 sign board street
Photo: BIGSTOCK

This is an ambitious agenda, but one that is entirely within the scope of Bangladesh

Another year has gone by, and another year stands before us.

The New Year is as good a time as any to take stock of where we stand as a nation, and what work lies ahead of us. It is impossible to predict what 2020 will bring, but no doubt, we are at a crucial juncture in our history, and the choices we make this year will have consequences that will be felt far into the future.

One of the main challenges still ahead of us is the problem of hooliganism. Unfortunately, we as a culture have a tendency to solve problems through vandalism and destruction rather than through meaningful discussions. Attacks that have taken place in the past year, for example on the Ducsu VP, or at the office of a newspaper, show that we need to evolve beyond this sort of conduct. This starts with the government showing zero tolerance for any and all kind of unruly behaviour that leads to violence.

To that end, it should make no difference whether or not the culprits are politically affiliated, or part of any student group.

Secondly, the problem of air pollution must be tackled in a careful and scientific manner. The air in Dhaka city is of a very poor quality, and this is leading to a myriad of health complications in the populace. If we want to turn the capital city into a liveable metropolis, it is of utmost important that we clean up the air. 

In order to do this, we can start by shutting down polluters. To that end, it is admirable that the government has already taken action against illegal brick kilns. However, the enormous amount of dust generated by construction activity, as well as the exhaust from vehicles, also need solutions. 

Thirdly, Bangladesh must play its part in the global fight against climate change. Granted, we are an insignificant emitter, but for us, the stakes are particularly high. We can and should pressure richer countries to provide compensation, but at home, we should also set the right example. This means moving to cleaner and greener methods of production, and getting tougher on our existing environmental laws.

Fourthly, we must step up efforts to resolve the Rohingya crisis. In the past year, we have seen the International Criminal Court at the Hague finally recognize the terrible human rights violations that have perpetuated. There is now hope that sufficient international pressure will be generated, not only to bring the case to completion, but change things on the ground in Myanmar as well so the human rights violations stop once and for all.

This is an ambitious agenda, but one that is entirely within the scope of Bangladesh. We have come a very long way economically, with our exports booming, and infrastructural growth taking place at a steady pace. If we can solve the aforementioned problems, there will be no stopping Bangladesh. We will be all set for the future. 

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