Unesco withdraws objection from Rampal power project | Greenwatch Dhaka | The leading online daily of Bangladesh

Unesco withdraws objection from Rampal power project


Dhaka, Jul 6 – The World Heritage Committee of Unesco has withdrawn its earlier objection over the construction of Rampal power plant project at its current location.
It has also spared the Sundarbans from being relegated to the List of World Heritage in Danger.The decision was made at the 41st session of the World Heritage Committee being held in Krakow, Poland, said the Foreign Ministry here on Thursday.
A high-level inter-ministerial delegation, led by Adviser to the Prime Minister on Power, Energy and Mineral Resources Affairs Dr Tawfiq-e-Elahi Chowdhury, is participating in the meeting to defend Bangladesh’s position.
The 21-member World Heritage Committee decides on whether a cultural or natural site should be inscribed on the World Heritage List, monitors the state of conservation of the inscribed heritage sites, and can place a site on the World Heritage in Danger if found that the site is not being properly managed by the State concerned.
The Sundarbans was inscribed on the World Heritage List in 1997 in consideration of its outstanding universal value as a unique ecosystem.
In recent years, the World Heritage Committee expressed its concern over the state of conservation of the Sundarbans world heritage property and called upon the government of Bangladesh to take a number of steps to improve conservation of the Sundarbans.
In addition to the issue of ensuring adequate fresh water flow into the Sundarbans and preventing poaching and over-extraction of its resources, the government decision to construct a coal-based power plant at Rampal came under the radar of the World Heritage Committee, said the Foreign Ministry.
Earlier in 2016, a Reactive Monitoring Mission from Unesco recommended relocation of Rampal power plant considering its likely impact on the Sundarbans.
After a long deliberation, the Committee endorsed Bangladesh’s decision to construct Rampal power plant at its current location with necessary mitigation measures, the Foreign Ministry added.
The Committee in its decision also welcomed a number of steps taken by Bangladesh since 2016 to ensure the conservation of the Sundarbans World Heritage Property.
At the request of the Committee, Bangladesh agreed to undertake a Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) of the South-West region of the country, including the Sundarbans.
Welcoming the Committee’s decision, Dr Tawfiq-e-Elahi Chowdhury thanked the Committee members for helping the government of Bangladesh strike an optimum balance between economic development and heritage conservation.
He also assured the Committee of Bangladesh’s full cooperation in ensuring conservation of the outstanding universal value of the Sundarbans, a prized possession of the nation.
The other members of the delegation were Secretary Power Division Dr Ahmed Kaikaus, Bangladesh Ambassador to France and Permanent Representative to UNESCO M. Shahidul Islam, Additional Secretary, Ministry of Environment and Forests; Ziaur Rahman, DG, Department of Environment Raisul Alam Mondal, Chairman, PDB Engineer Khalid Mahmud, DG Power Cell Mohammad Hossain, Director Department of Environment; Dr. Sultan Ahmed, Conservator of Forest Zahiruddin Ahmed, Deputy Executive Director, CEGIS Malik Fida A Khan, First Secretary of Bangladesh Embassy in Paris Farhana Ahmed Chowdhury and Senior Assistant Secretary, Power Division Muktadir Aziz.- UNB


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