Speakers at a dialogue have called on Bangladesh and India to boost cooperation in protecting and promoting the ecosystem services of the Meghna River basin for the benefit of 50 million people living in the region shared by the two countries.
The two neighbours should work together to the make the basin as one the most vibrant regions of South Asia, Planning Minister Abdul Mannan said.
"There is no alternative to cooperation and working together," he said while addressing the first ever knowledge forum on the Meghna River basin, the minister said, according to a release from International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) on Saturday.
It is estimated that more than 50 million people in Bangladesh and India depend on the ecosystem services provided by the basin, including indigenous forest dependent communities such as the Khasi, Garo, and Jaintia; and the fishermen and farmers depending on the extensive wetlands (Haors) of Sylhet region in Bangladesh.
R. R. Sambharia, representing India’s Ministry of Jal Shakti and Senior Joint Commissioner, Ground Water and Flood Management, advised the IUCN to share the result of the forum with the Joint River Commission (JRC) of Bangladesh and India, and its dissemination to the relevant government departments at the state level.
To maintain the momentum created through the Meghna Knowledge Forum (MKF) 2021 and to attract international donor agencies to the Meghna River basin, IUCN will disseminate the forum outcomes at the bilateral and global platforms, such as IUCN World Conservation Congress in Marseille France planned in September 2021.