Sundarbans survives 'in danger' status: Embassy

UNB . Dhaka | Update:

Sundarbans. Prothom Alo file photoThe World Heritage Committee of UNESCO has 'decided not to keep the Sundarbans', the world's largest mangrove forest, on the list of 'World Heritage in Danger'.

The decision was taken unanimously at the 43rd session of the 21-member World Heritage Committee currently taking place until 10 July in Baku, Azerbaijan that began on 30 June, said the Bangladesh embassy in Paris on Thursday.

The issue was discussed in details at the meeting. China, Cuba and Bosnia and Herzegovina placed a new proposal to keep the Sundarbans out of the list of 'World Heritage in Danger'.

Later, 15 countries, including Azerbaijan, Brazil, Indonesia, Kuwait, Tunisia, Tanzania, Uganda, Zimbabwe and observer member India made statements in favour of the proposal.

Bangladesh's steps taken so far to protect the Sundarbans were appreciated at the committee during the discussion.

Bangladesh, as per the decision, will invite an expert team of the World Heritage Committee and submit an updated report by February 2020.

Bangladesh government's commitment to begin the Strategic Environment Assessment (SEA) was also appreciated, said the embassy.

Prime minister's energy adviser Towfique-e-Elahi Chowdhury, who is leading Bangladesh delegation, thanked the committee members.

Bangladesh ambassador to France and permanent delegate to UNESCO Kazi Imtiaz Hossain is among the Bangladesh delegation members.

On the southern coast of Bangladesh, this precious forested area is home to 4.5 million people and the royal Bengal tiger. It is a place of immense cultural heritage, sustaining local fisher communities and livelihoods.

In June, the International Union for Conservation of Nature, the official adviser on natural World Heritage recommended that UNESCO should list Sundarbans as a World Heritage Site in Danger.

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