Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) India and Work for Better Bangladesh trust (WBB) Bangladesh jointly organised a day long workshop on lake conservation in Dhaka on September 26, 2012. The workshop was attended by regulators, researchers, environmental lawyers and prominent NGOs from India and Bangladesh. The meeting was a second of its kind to influence the policy debate on lakes in South Asia. The first such meeting was organised in August 2011 by CSE and Bangladesh
Institute of Planners (BIP) in Dhaka.
The objective of the meeting was to set up a network of people from the two countries involved in the conservation of lake and also to initiate a policy debate on the state of water bodies in South Asia. It also aimed to push policies that encourage participatory and locale-specific systems for the conservation of lakes and water bodies of the region. Different sessions of the workshop were chaired by Dr. Sarwar Jahan, Professor, Department of Urban and Regional Planning (URP), BUET and Dr. Abdul Matin, General Secretary, Bangladesh Poribesh Andolon (BAPA).
Architect Ishtaque Zahir, from Vitti Sthapati Brindo Limited made presentations on the detailed action plans on the conservation of the lake being undertaken by Rajdhani Unnayan Katripakha (RAJUK). Dr. Isharat Islam showcased the threats on the existing lakes and waterbodies in Dhaka and also highlighted the total economic value of the same. She exclaimed the need to undertake management tools to save remaining wetlands of Dhaka as an adaptive measure to climate change impacts on the city. If the destruction goes on at the present rate, there will be no wetlands in the city post 2030, she added. Advocate Syed Mahbubul Alam, Director, Program and Planning, WBB Trust talked about the restored waterbodies from different parts of Bangladesh. Susmita Sengupta (CSE) talked about the threats and success stories on lakes from both countries and the existing policies and laws governing the protection of lakes in India. She also showcased some successful case studies on lake protection from India.
Advocate Taslima Islam Shormi, Bangladesh Environmental Lawyers Association (BELA) highlighted the existing laws and policies in Bangladesh for lakes and wetlands protection and also the recent court orders for the same. She threw light on the various laws and policies including the court orders and other initiatives taken by the societies and citizens to save the lakes and waterbodies of Bangladesh.
Similarities were found on the problems of lake conservation in both the neighbouring countries and it was concluded that the society, citizens and the government has to together come up for better protection of the endangered wetlands.