Concerted efforts needed for haor areas
Published : 28 Apr 2017, 19:29
United efforts are needed to ensure tangible improvement in the lives of haor residents, said noted economist Wahiduddin Mahmud yesterday.
The haor areas, comprising 20,022 square kilometres of backswamps spanning seven north-eastern districts of Bangladesh, are home to millions of rural people. Backswamp is the section of a floodplain where deposits of fine silts and clays settle after a flood.
The livelihoods of hoar residents include fishing, rice farming, boating, and day labourer in sand and stone mining.
“The ministries and divisions concerned have to work together for equitable development of haor areas,” Prof Mahmud told a programme at the National Economic Council.
The General Economics Division of the Planning Commission in partnership with the Support to Sustainable and Inclusive Planning Project of the UNDP organised the event to unveil three study reports. The reports were: 'Data Gap Analysis for SDGs: Bangladesh Perspective', 'Banking Atlas' and 'Environment and Climate Change Policy Gap Analysis in Haor Areas'.
“Studies and experts are a necessity to improve the lives and livelihood of haor people,” said Mahmud, also a former adviser to the caretaker government.
Planning Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal also emphasised on coordinated efforts to develop the haor areas.
The issue of haor development has been strongly emphasised in the seventh five-year plan, said Prof Shamsul Alam, member of the Planning Commission, adding that the government has taken various initiatives to improve the lives of those living in haor areas.
He supported the idea of providing lease of water bodies to community-based organisations and urged the authorities concerned to conduct benchmark surveys and research on different agro-climatic and social aspects of haors.
One of the reports unveiled at the programme found that Bangladesh is facing a significant data gap for monitoring the Sustainable Development Goals as statistics on two-thirds of the indicators are either partially available or not available at all.
There are 241 indicators to monitor the 169 targets under 17 SDGs. But, data of only 70 indicators are readily available, 108 partially available and 63 not available at all, according to one report.
The report on “Banking Atlas” found that access to and use of formal banking services at the upazila level improved substantially between 2010 and 2015.
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