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BEN Achievements

Working together with other pro-environment forces of Bangladesh, BAPA and BEN have achieved many successes. Though much more needs to be done to protect Bangladesh environment, it is necessary not to lose sight of these achievements. From the viewpoint of BEN, the major achievements are as follows:

Development of environment movement in Bangladesh: BEN made a significant contribution to the development of the environment movement in Bangladesh. In particular, it played the initiating role in organizing ICBEN-1 that led to the formation of Bangladesh Poribesh Andolon (BAPA). Since then BAPA has been playing the leading role in the civic environmental movement in Bangladesh. In 2006 Jatiyo Nodi Rokkhya Andolon (JNRA) (National River Protection Movement) was formed under the auspices of BAPA. Similarly, in 2007 the nationwide Adibashi Poribesh Rokkhya Andolon (APRA) was formed. The environment movement is now a recognized and respected social force in Bangladesh. Very few low-income developing countries have a strong civic environmental movement of national scope as Bangladesh has, and the country can be proud of it in the international arena. Contributing to the development of the environment movement in Bangladesh and being an active part of it constitute the most important achievement of BEN.

Various pro-environment steps: The joint work of BEN, BAPA, and other pro-environment organizations, has led to many pro-environment steps taken by the government. Among these are:

  • Replacement of leaded gasoline by unleaded gasoline
  • Imposition of ban on two-stroke engine vehicles (TSEVs)
  • Re-imposition of the ban on plastic bags
  • Formation of the inter-ministerial Task Force for protection of rivers
  • Adoption of the Wetlands Protection Act
  • Adoption of Building Construction Rules
  • Adoption of Detailed Area Planning (DAP) for Dhaka City
  • Decision to move the tanneries from Hazaribag of Dhaka city to a Savar site equipped with Central Effluent Treatment Plant

Though there are weaknesses in implementation of many of these steps, particularly with regard to protection of rivers, these steps signify important steps toward protection of the environment.

Documentation, Analysis, and Formulation of Policy Recommendations: BEN has made significant contribution to the documentation and analysis of Bangladesh’s environmental problems and formulation of policy recommendation to solve these problems. Concrete examples of this contribution are the various conferences that BAPA and BEN held, together with universities and other pro-environment organizations of the country, and the volumes and resolutions that these conferences produced, as can be seen in the conferences and publication pages of this website. BAPA-BEN conference volumes are serving as the most comprehensive source of information and analyses on environmental problems of Bangladesh. Various Declarations and Resolutions that have been adopted at various BAPA-BEN conferences contain comprehensive analysis of Bangladesh’s all major environmental problems and the policies that may be adopted to solve these problems. BAPA-BEN publications are now serving as important references for students and researchers in the field of environment.

Establishment of regional alliance for protection of rivers: BAPA and BEN, working together with other pro-environment forces, have made progress in establishing alliances with pro-environment organizations and individual experts and activists of South Asian countries, in particular of India and Nepal, with the goal of protecting the common rivers. Large contingents of delegates from these countries participated in BAPA-BEN river related conferences held in 2004 and 2013. Several regional organizations have also been formed. Development of these regional alliances can play an important role in switching from the current Commercial Approach to the Ecological Approach and in achieving amicable solution to river-related disputes among countries of the region.

Raising awareness among the NRB communities about environmental issues: BEN has been successful in raising awareness among the NRB communities about environmental issues. The regular seminars, symposiums, rallies, discussion events held by various BEN chapters help NRBs to be informed about the environmental issues faced by Bangladesh and the global community. BEN has provided a way for NRBs to participate in the common struggle for protection of the environment.

Alliance with international and host-country environmental organizations: BEN has succeeded in establishing contact and alliances with international and host country environmental organizations. BEN’s participation in global environmental campaign, such as the campaign against climate change, has earned appreciation. BEN’s participation in global environmental campaigns is also allowing it to establish link and alliances with pro-environment organizations and individuals from non-resident communities of India, Nepal, and other South Asian countries. This connection and cooperation abroad are helpful in fostering alliance and cooperation among environmental activist in the region itself.