Gvt working to check land degradation: Shahab Uddin

Environment, Forest and Climate Change Minister Md Shahab Uddin today said the government is working in an integrated way to reduce land degradation in the country applying sustainable land use technology.

“As a signatory to the Rio Convention, Bangladesh is committed to preventing desertification, land degradation and drought, biodiversity conservation and climate change,” he told a workshop.

The third interim workshop of the project titled ‘Establishing National Land Use and Land Degradation Profile towards Mainstreaming Sustainable Land Management Practices in Sector Policies’ was arranged at the Department of Environment (DoE) in the capital, a ministry press release said.

Speaking as the chief guest, Shahab Uddin said the project is being implemented to create sustainable land use data to update the land use map, identify the causes and indicators of land degradation, prevent erosion, mitigation or reuse.

Based on the information generated, a roadmap will be formulated for building a promised decay-free Bangladesh by 2030, he said.

The environment minister said an average of 69,000 hectares of arable land is being used for non-agricultural purposes in the country every year.

Works are underway to create a rich database for determining the indicators or areas of mitigation of land degradation in Bangladesh and for effective monitoring and evaluation planning, he added.

Shahab Uddin said the Department of Agricultural Extension (DAE), the Soil Resources Development Institute, the Barind Multipurpose Development Authority and the Center for Environmental and Geographical Information Systems (CEGIS) are working in partnership with the DoE as part of the integrated initiative.

Investment in degraded land will create local employment and provide an opportunity for the people of this country, which will strengthen national security and sustainable future development, he said.

“If we do not make appropriate changes in the current land management, there will be more people at risk in the future,” he said.

“Poor people will have no choice but to immigrate. We need to ensure the use of land consciously to meet the demand for vital elements of life. To this end, capacity building, training programmes, scientific research and initiatives are being taken to raise awareness about the financial, social and environmental benefits of sustainable land management policies and uses,” the minister said.

Deputy Minister for Environment, Forests and Climate Change Begum Habibun Nahar, Environment Secretary Ziaul Hasan, Project Director Dr Muhammad Sohrab Ali and Project Coordinator Jalal Mohammad Sohaib spoke at the workshop with DoE Director General AKM Rafique Ahammed in the chair.

Representatives from different ministries, agencies and universities were present at the workshop.

Source: Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha (BSS)