Sundarbans is out of ‘World Heritage in Danger’

Sundarbans, the largest mangrove forest of the world has been kept out from the ‘world heritage site in danger’ list during the 43rd annual meet of UNESCO which has been taking place in Azerbaijan.

The decision was taken on 4th July at the 43rd session of the 21-member World Heritage Committee of UNESCO. The World Heritage Committee of UNESCO has finally decided not to keep the Sundarbans in the ‘world heritage site in danger’ list as the majority of the member states proposed otherwise, report agencies.

China, Cuba and Bosnia and Herzegovina placed a new proposal to keep the Sundarbans out of the danger list. Later, 13 countries, including Azerbaijan, Brazil, Indonesia, Kuwait, Tunisia, Tanzania, Uganda, Zimbabwe and observer member India made statements in favour of the proposal.

However, part of the heritage committee mainly from European countries have placed ‘note of dissent’ on keeping the Sundarbans out of danger list while accepting the decision provisionally. The delegation from the Bangladeshi government has confirmed the session that they have taken all the possible measures to protect the ecosystem of Sundarbans.

In a press release, Tawfiq-e-Elahi Chowdhury, energy advisor to the prime minister who also led the Bangladeshi delegation thanked the committee. He said that the decision struck the right balance between environmental protection and the need to secure power supply for “50 million” Bangladeshis.

Bangladesh needs to send an updated report to UNESCO mentioning its updated steps and taken measures to protect the environment of Sundarbans before February of 2020. UNESCO will again send an expert team to assess the possible effect of the Rampal and Payra power plant on the Sundarbans in the last quarter of the year.

The Sundarbans, which has been on the Unesco world heritage list since 1997. A mission from the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) in 2016 concluded that Unesco should list Sundarbans as a World Heritage Site in Danger on the grounds of the ongoing and future pollution due to the controversial Rampal power plant and unprotected industrialization in the vicinity.