Economic development should be done without harming the environment as the green economy builds a strong foundation for sustainable development, said climate advocates.
They also urged everyone to emphasise environment-friendly investment at the opening ceremony of the three-day International Conference on Environmental Protection for Sustainable Development (ICEPSD - 2022) yesterday at the Senate Building of Dhaka University.
"Bangladesh Must Pursue a green, resilient and sustainable development pathway," said A Atiq Rahman, scientist, environmentalist and executive director of Bangladesh Centre for Advanced Studies.
"Due to unplanned urbanisation and industrialisation, the natural balance of the climate is being destroyed. It is having a fatal negative impact on the climate. Natural disasters are increasing. Climate change is not only affecting the environment but also affecting all sectors of socio-economic development including food, agriculture, housing, healthcare and education," he observed.
As a plenary speaker, Professor Hiroyuki Matsuda, an environmentalist from Japan, said we should go to the Blue economy concept, where seafood and marine production, offshore geotechnical engineering, and renewable energy should be emphasised.
He said, special economic zone should be kept for industrial factories which must operate according to the compliance policy.
Speaking as the chief guest, Awami League General Secretary Obaidul Quader said that Bangladesh is one of the countries that are facing the most damage due to climate change as the "Global Climate Risk Index 2021" ranked Bangladesh seventh.
"Developed countries are more responsible for carbon emissions. Today the global temperature has increased. All the countries that have caused this environmental disaster are now realising the damages done to nature. In America today, rivers are drying up. Water is a problem in many of their states. Fish in Poland's rivers are dying due to lack of water. The rivers in France are also drying up. So we have to protect the environment and a habitable earth must be left for future generations," he said.
Environment, Forest and Climate Change Minister Md Shahan Uddin said Bangladesh's success in dealing with climate change risks is being appreciated in the international arena.
"Bangladesh's Carbon Emission Plan or updated Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) is a model to be followed in the world to combat climate change. The government has finalised the draft National Adaptation Plan and Mujib Climate Prosperity Plan 2022-2041," he said.
"789 projects have been undertaken so far with the financing of Bangladesh Climate Change Trust Fund at a cost of Tk3263.32 crores," he added.
Bangladesh Awami League Forest and Environment Sub-Committee Chairman Dr Khondoker Baziul Hoque was in chair of the event attended by Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Shahriar Alam, Deputy Minister of Education Ministry Barrister Mohibul Hassan Chowdhury, Secretary of Conference Preparation Committee and Member Secretary of Forest and Environment Sub-Committee of Bangladesh Awami League Delowar Hossin.
On the second and third day of the conference, discussions, scientific sessions on different scientific topics will be held at the Curzon hall and CIRDAP auditorium.
The conference is organised by the Forest and Environment Affairs Sub-Committee, Bangladesh Awami League with the theme 'Green Bangladesh - Prosperous Bangladesh'.