Marking the World Environment Day, speakers at a webinar on Saturday stressed on urgent action for nature’s conservation to prevent pandemic.
The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), jointly organized the webinar titled “Time for Nature: Accelerating Conservation Action in Post-COVID-19 Situation.”
Participating in the programme, the discussants highlighted the challenges and opportunities of the actions taken by both state and non-state actors in Bangladesh to conserve nature.
Dr AKM Rafique Ahammed, Director General of the Department of Environment, attended the webinar as the chief guest, while Khurshid Alam, assistant resident representative of UNDP and Raquibul Amin, Country Representative of IUCN Bangladesh, jointly moderated the discussion.
While delivering speech Dr AKM Rafique said COVID-19 has given a message that it needs time to heal.
“We need to focus on eco-centrism rather than anthropocentrism. Worldwide spread of zoonotic diseases including Covid-19 are the result of anthropocentrism. In a post-Covid situation, we need to reconsider the definition and idea of growth,” He said.
Dr Rafique He also added that under the three UN conventions, the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) is mostly neglected. “From individual to global community, it’s everyone’s responsibility to step forward and take action to prioritize on CBD. It’s time to go green and live in harmony with nature.”
Sanjay Kumar Bhowmick, Joint Secretary at MoEFCC, said the implication of rules and regulations and development interventions in a coordinated and inclusive way are required for planetary emergency.
Rakibul Hassan from Bangladesh Forest Department also pointed out that it is now the responsibility to identify in Post Covid-19 situation as how we can live in harmony with nature by addressing biodiversity degradation and reducing environmental pollution. He also said more investments are needed in biodiversity hotspot areas.
The recommendations will be shared with the government later on for implementation.
Dr Fahmida Khanom, Director of DoE; Solaiman Haider, Director (Planning) of DoE; Professor Rashed Al Mahmud Titumir, Chair of IUCN National Committee in Bangladesh; among others, spoke on the virtual programme.
World Environment Day is the UN’s flagship day when governments, non-state actors and citizens come together to take action in support of the environment. The theme of this year’s World Environment Day is 'Time for Nature'—a call to action to combat the accelerating species loss and degradation of the natural world.
In the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic, this year, the day serves as a reminder that human health is closely linked to the planet’s health.