Two arenas of BEN’s work: Though initially focused on activities inside Bangladesh, BEN’s activities over time bifurcated into two streams. The first consists of activities inside Bangladesh and the second compromises activities carried out abroad. Inside Bangladesh, BEN mostly works in partnership with BAPA. Abroad, BEN takes initiatives on its own or in partnership with international environmental organizations or pro-environment organizations of the host country.
BEN Newsletter: BEN brings out a weekly electronic newsletter, named BEN Newsletter and its Bangla version, পরিবেশ সংবাদ. These newsletters contain information about and analysis of the current environmental situation. This newsletter is freely available and has become a major source of information and an instrument for mobilization on environmental issues. Its web address is as follows: http://listserv.cc.emory.edu/cgi-bin/wa?A0=BEN. One can self subscribe and unsubscribe to this newsletter by going to this website. Past issues of the news letters are archived at this site.
BEN panels: BEN has formed panels of experts and activists on various environmental issues, with the purpose to study and monitor them on a continuous basis and provide guidance regarding their solutions. Thus BEN has panels on issues concerning (i) rivers and other water bodies, (ii) arsenic and groundwater contamination, (iii) surface water pollution, (iv) energy, (v) climate change, (vi) Adibashis, (vii) air pollution and urbanization, (viii) jute, (ix) forests and biodiversity, (x) waste generation and disposal, (xi) economics, legal framework, and governance. These panels work in close collaboration with corresponding issue-based Program Committees set up by BAPA.
BEN chapters: BEN encourages its members in different countries and in different regions and cities to form chapters, observing BEN principles, and to undertake various activities that help BEN fulfill its mission. There are now active BEN chapters in Australia, Japan, and Germany. BEN chapters are also in the process of formation in Great Britain, Russia, South Korea, and New Zealand. In the USA itself, there are BEN chapters for Tri-state area (New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut), mid-Atlantic area (Pennsylvania and South New Jersey), and Georgia. BEN chapters are also in the process of formation in Boston (New England), California, Oklahoma, Louisiana, Texas, and Washington-Oregon.
BEN’s action projects: BEN also undertook action projects to demonstrate environment friendly solutions that can be replicated. For example, BEN undertook in 2001 the Solid Waste Recovery and Reuse Project, under which the organic part of household solid waste was separated and converted into organic fertilizer using community labor. It showed a win-win way of waste management and protection of environment. This pilot project was implemented in two locations, namely Bhashan Tek slum area of Dhaka city and the Gazipur Open University campus.
BEN’s Climate Change Campaign abroad: Among the activities undertaken by BEN abroad, the most important is BEN’s campaign to raise international awareness about the climate change threat to Bangladesh. As part of this campaign, BEN organized on September 18, 2009, on the eve of the Copenhagen COP and the UN General Assembly meeting, the Global Action Day, on which BEN chapters in different countries organized rallies and submitted memorandums to UN officials. The main rally was held in front of the UN Headquarters in New York, and the memorandum was submitted to the UN Secretary General, Mr. Ban Ki-moon. Similar rallies were held in Canberra, Sydney, and Kitakyushu. BAPA organized a rally in Dhaka in support of the Global Action Day. BEN is continuing its climate change campaign in the international area through the use of videos, leaflets, memorandums, meetings, and rallies.
BEN’s campaign against River Linking Project and other water diversionary projects: BEN is waging a vigorous campaign against upstream diversion of river water by upper riparian countries, pointing to the fact that such activities go against the 1997 UN Convention on Non-Navigational Uses of International Watercourses. It has been campaigning against Farakka barrage, Gajoldoba barrage, and other such structures that India has built to divert water from Bangladesh rivers. In particular, BEN is campaigning against India’s River Linking Project that aims to transfer the Brahmaputra and Ganges flows away from Bangladesh and toward western and south India. BEN has held rallies in front of the UN headquarter in New York and has submitted memorandum to the UN Secretary General on this issue. It has also sent memorandums to the Indian authorities.
BEN’s campaign to raise environmental awareness among NRBs: BEN is working to raise the awareness among NRBs about Bangladesh’s environmental problems to this end, it holds meetings and seminars abroad on a regular basis. In particular, BEN is educating and raising awareness of NRBs about the climate change threat and the necessity for NRBs to come forward to help Bangladesh by campaigning on these issues in the countries they currently live.
BEN’s conferences abroad: In addition to meetings, rallies and seminars, various BEN chapters are organizing international conferences to promote discussion of Bangladesh environmental problems by both Bangladeshi and international experts. Thus in 2010 September BEN-Japan held the first International Conference on Environmental Aspects of Bangladesh (ICEAB) in Kiatakyushu, Japan, in collaboration with University of Kitakyushu. It also published a 250-page volume containing the conference papers. Encouraged by the success of ICEAB 2010, BEN-Japan decided to hold this conference yearly on a regular basis, and accordingly has been holding similar conferences every year. Further information about these conferences can be obtained from: http://binbd.com/benjp/iceab/ Similarly, BEN-Germany held the International Conference on Climate Change and Energy Development in Bangladesh (ICCEB) on July 21-23, 2011 in Bonn in collaboration with the University of Bonn. It brought out a printed volume containing the papers of the conference. Encourages by the success of the ICCEB, BEN-Germany is now holding similar conferences on a regular basis. For more information on these conferences, visit [BEN-Germany website———-]
BEN journal on environmental issues: The Japan chapter of BEN has taken the initiative to publish a peer-reviewed bi-annual journal titled, the International Journal of Environment (IJE), ISSN: 2186-0009. For further information on IJE please visit: http://benjapan.org/IJE/
BEN internship: To draw the second generation NRBs to the effort to protect Bangladesh environment, BEN has introduced an internship program, under which young, second generation NRB students visit Bangladesh for an extended period of time during which they get placed at pro-environment organizations in Bangladesh and participate in their activities. At the end of the participation, they write a report. The program helps both the interns and the host organizations.
BEN Youth Forum: To encourage participation in BEN activities by the next generation of NRBs, BEN encourages young, second generation Bangladeshis to form BEN Youth Forums. For example, BEN Youth Forum in Boston has been quite active and has undertaken many commendable activities.
BEN fellowship for environmental activism: To promote environmental activism in Bangladesh, BEN offers a limited number of fellowships to individuals who spend a significant part of their time for pro-environmental activities and need some financial support to do so. However, BEN believes that pro-environmental activism in general should be a voluntary effort carried out by individuals in addition to their regular jobs necessary to earn a livelihood.