A part of the Sundarbans is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the entire Sundarbans is a RAMSAR site.

A strategic environmental assessment is being carried out for the south-western part of the country as part of the government's commitment to the conservation of the Sundarbans, environment, forests and climate change minister Md Shahab Uddin said.

The Strategic Environmental Assessment Report and the Strategic Environmental Management Plan will provide effective guidelines for the conservation of the mangrove forest, he said while addressing a meeting on Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) of Southwest region and Sundarbans at Pan Pacific Hotel Sonargaon on Wednesday.

"By implementing development activities in the south-western part of the country, we'll be able to ensure the conservation of the Sundarbans," the minister said adding that the government has recently approved the "Sundarbans Protection" project in the ECNEC to strengthen conservation activities.

Shahab Uddin said a lot of development work has been planned centering the south-west part of the country and their implementation is expected to be further accelerated after the opening of Padma Bridge.

The Strategic Environmental Assessment of the South-west and the Sundarbans is being carried out through a fully government-funded technical project to ensure that the Sundarbans is not harmed as a result of the implementation of policies, plans and activities related to the country's development process, he said.

The environment minister said the Sundarbans is not only our resource but also the resource of the world. A part of the Sundarbans is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the entire Sundarbans is a RAMSAR site, he added.

"So, the conservation of Sundarbans is the responsibility of all of us," the minister said.

"An international and national consulting firm is conducting the study jointly. Preliminary reports submitted by the consulting firm have already been finalised by the review committee at the end of the review. Hopefully, we'll get the final report in the next six months," he added.

Secretary at the ministry of environment, forests and climate change Ziaul Hasan NDC presided over the meeting. Deputy minister for environment, forests and climate change Begum Habibun Nahar, additional secretary (development) Ahmed Shamim Al Razi, chief conservator of forests Md Amir Hossain Chowdhury and executive director of Center for Environmental and Geographic Information Services Malik Fida A Khan spoke as special guests.

Representatives of various ministries, governmental and non-governmental organizations gave their respective views on the strategy paper.