The International Mountain Day would be observed tomorrow in the country as elsewhere in the world to highlight the importance of mountains to peoples' lives, their livelihoods, economy and sustainable development.
The United Nations designated 11 December as "International Mountain Day" and it is observed each year since 2003 in order to create awareness about importance of mountains to life, highlight challenges and bring positive changes to environment through global partnership.
The day has significant importance to Bangladesh as its Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT) area and part of Sylhet are covered by mountains and hills. The development in these parts of the country would provide better economy for local communities and usher in a new era of tourism there.
President Mohammad Abdul Hamid and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina gave separate messages on the day and wished its full success. They also stressed on the need for a balanced development in the mountain areas, which are the source of fresh water, rivers, air, fruits, natural resources and livelihoods for millions.
President Abdul Hamid dubbed Bangladesh's mountain regions as one of best tourist spots in the region for its biodiversity and said the mountain day would provide a platform to know mountain peoples tradition and culture by their counterparts living at plain lands. He also hoped that it would make people aware to adapt in a changing circumstance caused by global warming.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina said the government struck a peace deal in 1997 in order to restore peace in the CHT and steer a new wave of development there. She said a number of steps have already been taken in the areas, which were once backward, to connect them to digital age and facilities.
According to United Nations, mountains cover around 22 percent of the earth's land surface and play a critical role in moving the world towards sustainable economic growth. Mountains not only provide sustenance and wellbeing to 13 percent of world's population, they also indirectly benefit billions more living downstream.
The theme for 2016 has been set as "Mountain Cultures: Celebrating diversity and strengthening identity".
Source: Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha (BSS)