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Policies to govern common ecosystem in S Asia stressed

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Staff Reporter
Water and environmental experts at a dialogue in the capital on Wednesday urged the South Asian countries to formulate policies “using the trans-boundary lens” for governing common ecosystems in the region.
They said the use and share of common ecosystem of trans-boundary rivers are complex issues as these involve diverse groups of people who depend on the same resources for their lives and livelihoods.
In the subcontinent, natural resources, especially water, is shared across social and political boundaries. Thus, the South Asian countries “need to formulate policies using the trans-boundary lens” for governing such ecosystems, the experts said.
IUCN Bangladesh and IUCN India Country Office jointly organized the dialogue on “Ecosystems, People and Shared Learning: Experiences of Engaging in Multi-level Cooperation” at a city hotel.
Water Resources Minister Barrister Anisul Islam Mahmud, Palli Karma Sahayak Foundation (PKSF) chairman Prof Qazi Kholiquzzaman Ahmad and former secretary of Indian Environment and Forest Ministry Meena Gupta, among others, spoke at the inaugural session of the two-day dialogue.
Experts from both Bangladesh and India stressed floating a common platform to enhance science-based policy formulation on trans-boundary ecosystems so that people of the region can explore the potential of common ecosystem safeguarding their mutual interest.
Speaking as the chief guest, the Water Resources Minister suggested sharing knowledge and data on trans-boundary ecosystems in the region.
He said the project taken by the IUCN provides insightful information that can be used to foster cooperation between the two nations. “Joint research is important and much needed process to generate knowledge that will be acceptable in policy circles in both countries.”
The Water Resources Minister unveiled three publications on Hilsa, inland navigation and river biodiversity, which will contribute to the knowledge hub in the region.
The IUCN Bangladesh and IUCN country offices of India are jointly implementing a project - the Ecosystems for Life initiative.
It is a civil society-led research and dialogue process addressing critical issues of human and ecological well-being in the Ganges, Meghna and Brahmaputra region in India and Bangladesh.
The Ecosystems for Life initiative has undertaken eleven joint research studies under five thematic areas -- food security, water productivity and poverty, impacts of climate change, inland navigation, environmental security and biodiversity conservation.
Around 80 experts from Bangladesh and India are participating in the two-day programme.