12:00 AM, April 04, 2010 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, April 04, 2010

Trans-border effort for Sundarbans

Dhaka wants Delhi to join the cause; meeting at Kolkata today

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Staff Correspondent

Bangladesh will place a proposal to India for a trans-boundary taskforce aiming to save the Sundarbans.
Wildlife Trust of Bangladesh, Zoological Society of London, Jahangirnagar University, and Dhaka University jointly have completed an assessment of the main threats to the Sundarbans' biodiversity using internationally accepted methods.
They have identified 24 threats and, of them, six are high on the list of priorities to be addressed immediately for the protection of the Sundarbans' ecosystem. The home of Bengal Tigers and half of the world's mangrove varieties is on the verge of going below water due to sea-level rise induced by climate change.
Indian Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh and State Minister of Bangladesh for Environment and Forest Hasan Mahmud will attend a programme today in Kolkata where they will discuss the issue.
Non-government organisations of the two countries jointly will launch a campaign at the programme to vote for the mangrove forest as one of the seven natural wonders in the world. The initiative, first of its kind in South Asia, was taken to draw people's attention to the importance of saving the forest.
The forest officials of the countries will work out details of the joint work during the programme.
Earlier, the countries had taken initiatives regarding the issue but those were all vain attempts with very little progress.
Wildlife Trust of Bangladesh submitted a draft to form the joint taskforce, Sundarbans Transboundary Strategy and Action Plan, to sketch out action plans for saving the mangrove forest.
Bangladesh will discuss the issues that are threatening the existence of the Sundrabans, spread over 10,000 km across the two countries, including change in freshwater flows and sedimentation rates caused by dam building and other upstream water extraction, sea-level rise, logging and wood collection, wildlife poaching and farming/trade, harvesting of aquatic resources, and river pollution.
At the programme, Bangladesh will also recommend that India complete a study to identify the possible threats and prioritise them on their side.

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