The Bangladesh Forest Department, with the support of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations yesterday held an event designed to promote forest and land restoration (FLR).
The forest and landscape restoration investment roundtable was held in Dhaka with participation of a range of experts from the government, businesses, and civil society, a FAO press release said.
Saber Hossain Chowdhury, Chairman of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on the Ministry of En-vironment, Forest and Climate Change and Special Envoy to the Prime Minister for Climate Change, spoke as the chief guest.
Farhina Ahmed, secretary, Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, and Mashiur Rahman, secretary, Ministry of Chittagong Hill Tracts Affairs, addressed the function as special guests with Amir Hosain Chowdhury, chief conservator of forests, in the chair.
Nur Ahmed Khondaker, assistant FAO representative (program), made the opening remarks. He said: â€œThis initiative will help generate the pragmatic solutions needed to combat the degradation of forest ecosystems and reduce biodiversity loss in Bangladesh.â€
The roundtable was organized through an FAO regional project to scale up forest and landscape restora-tion in six countries. The other countries are Nepal, Pakistan, Lao PDR, Papua New Guinea, Timor-Leste. The project is part of FAOâ€™s Hand-in-Hand initiative which supports the implementation of nationally-led programs that accelerate agrifood systems transformation through a partnership-building approach.
The roundtable aligns with the country’s commitment to international climate action agreements such as the Paris Agreement which requested each country to outline their post-2020 climate actions, known as their nationally determined contributions (NDCs). Bangladesh’s NDC describes plans to restore degraded forest and coastal areas, for which sustainable financing is important.
Illias Animon, forestry officer for FAO’s Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific, said, “The roundtable is a valuable opportunity to advance investments towards achieving the countryâ€™s restoration targets. More targeted and focused investments are needed, and partners should work together more closely to promote synergies for scaling up forest and landscape restoration. That is critical if we want to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals”.
While large gains have been made in developing environmental policies, guidelines, and legislation, Bangladesh has seen severe environmental degradation over the past decades and continues to face in-creasing disaster risks exacerbated by climate change. Indiscriminate land use changes, overexploitation, and urbanisation, have heavily impacted the environment and the livelihoods of millions of people.
Restoring degraded landscapes and shifting to sustainable practices such as agroforestry would help ad-dress the negative impacts of climate change, such as increased prevalence and severity of droughts and landslides, as well as to conserve biodiversity and enhance soil health.