The World Heritage Committee of the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has said it had identified the need for further research and a data-gathering plan for the sustainable development of the Sundarbans, prepared by the Government of Bangladesh.
These recommendations were made at the 45th World Heritage Convention’s extended session in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, during which the UNESCO World Heritage Committee praised Bangladesh’s efforts to improve protection of the Sundarbans and the progress made in implementing the recommendations of the 2019 joint World Heritage Centre Reactive Monitoring mission.
Key achievements include the completion of the Strategic Environment Management Plan, Dolphin Conservation Plan and National Oil Spill Containment Strategy. These provide stronger coordination and management measures to protect the forest’s unique biodiversity and heritage.
To continue the efforts towards more sustainable management of the Sundarbans, the World Heritage Committee identified the need for the Government of Bangladesh to conduct further research and establish a data-gathering plan, as described in the Strategic Environment Management Plan (SEMP), reads a press statement of the UN Resident Coordinator’s Office Dhaka on Thursday (Sept 28).
The Committee also noted that to prevent direct, indirect, and cumulative impacts from the developments in the South-West region over the next 20 years, as highlighted in the Strategic Environment Assessment, continued efforts are needed to ensure that future developments do not negatively impact the ecology of the land and marine systems of the Sundarbans.
Bangladesh was requested to submit reports on the research and monitoring of the Outstanding Universal Valuesof the Sundarbans Forests to the World Heritage Committee for review as soon as possible.
The UNESCO Committee further asked Bangladesh to ensure the Guidance and Toolkit for Impact Assessments in a World Heritage Context are used when making decisions on all future industrial developments near the property to ensure the long-term protection of the site. These steps are critical for the long term sustainability of the area.
During the meeting the Committee made a decision requiring Bangladesh to inform the World Heritage Centre of any significant project that could affect the Outstanding Universal Values of the World Heritage Site.
As a result of this decision, Bangladesh has been asked to maintain frequent contact with the World Heritage Committee and submit a progress report by December 1, 2025, and a State of Conservation report by 1 February, 2029.
Source: The Daily SUN.