Environment and NGOs in Bangladesh

May 8th, 2021 by dayat No comments »

Introductory text

By playing an important role in development NGO sector earned its own identity in all over the world. In Bangladesh NGOs are working in different sectors – education, skill development training, health and family planning, child and human rights etcetera. Recently, environment, climate change, conservation of nature have become areas on interest for a good number of NGOs in Bangladesh.

Following are the major environment related activities of some NGOs working in Bangladesh.

Bangladesh Centre for Advanced Studies

Bangladesh Centre for Advanced Studies (BCAS) is an independent, non-profit, non-government, policy, research, and implementation institute working on sustainable development at local, national, regional and global levels. BCAS addresses sustainable development through four interactive themes:

(a) environment-development integration,
(b) good governance and people’s participation,
(c) poverty alleviation and sustainable livelihoods, and
(d) economic growth and public-private partnership.

-BCAS envisions to promote people-centred sustainable development by applying and advancing scientific, technical and local knowledge through research, by developing models, demonstration, policy advocacy and project implementation.

-It is committed to develop southern perspectives, ensure north-south dialogue and environmental justice and access to resources and knowledge for the poor.

Field of Specialization of BCAS

-Natural resource management (land, water, fisheries, forestry, agriculture and biodiversity)
-Enhance resilience of natural and human systems
-Livelihood analysis, poverty reduction strategy and food security
-Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) and Social Impact Assessment (SIA)
-Clean technology and pollution management
-Energy (conventional and renewable)
-Environmental education and health
-Public-private partnership
-Global climate change, and human dimension of global change
-Multilateral Environmental Agreements (MEAs)
-Trade, environment and sustainable development

BCAS work at different levels -

Local and grass-roots level
-At the local level, BCAS works with communities through eco-specific participatory management processes. BCAS has established eco-specific research centres in different parts of country such as the Wetlands Research and Training Centre (WRTC) in Chanda Beel in the Modhumati Floodplain to develop natural resource management capability with active participation of local communities, initiated diffusion of renewable energy technology [solar photovoltaic (generating current or voltage when illuminated)] among the islands dwellers in the River Meghna.

National Level
-At the national level, BCAS has spearheaded and initiated numerous activities, along with others, including the National Environment Management Action Plan (NEMAP), Sustainable Environment Management Programme (SEMP), National Conservation Strategy (NCS), New Fisheries Management Programmes and Bangladesh State of Environment Report 2001.

-It has also carried out several national level studies on climate change issues including Vulnerability Assessment for Bangladesh to Climate Change and Sea Level Rise.

-It also works closely and carried out numerous studies and advisory inputs for the government, particularly with the Ministry of Environment and Forest, Department of Environment, Ministry of Science and Technology, Ministry of Agriculture, Bangladesh Agricultural Research Council, Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources, Local Government and Engineering Department.

-Along with these BCAS has also been involved in a number of collaborative research and initiatives with leading NGOs including BRAC, Grameen Bank, Grameen Shakti, Proshika etc.

Regional Level
-At the regional level, BCAS is the secretariat for the Climate Action Network South Asia (CANSA) working on Climate Change related issues. BCAS is the international wing of Centre for Environment Education (CEE), it is also a member of Regional and International Networking Group (RING) in South Asia. BCAS has undertaken a number of collaborative research and policy advocacy on sustainable livelihoods, trade and environment, climate change, civil society initiatives on sustainable development and community action, and environmental, socially responsible public-private partnership.

International Level

At the international level, BCAS is involved in a number of collaborative research, policy analysis and advocacy including North South Dialogue (NSD) on Climate Change, Global Compact Initiative under aegis of UN. BCAS participated in all the preparatory meetings of UNCED in Rio and WSSD in Johannesburg as a NGO representative, where it also played a key role in giving advice to the government delegations. BCAS provides secretarial support to Global Forum on Environment and Poverty (GFEP) originated during the Earth Summit in Rio. As a centre of excellence from the south, BCAS has been involved in the process of formulation and reporting on all Global Environment Outlook (GEO) Reports of UNEP.

BangladeshEnvironmental Lawyers Association (BELA)

-BELA, an advocacy group of lawyers, was established in 1992 with the broad objective of promoting environmental justice and contributing to the development of sound environmental jurisprudence.

-Bangladesh could have been known in the world for its rivers, coastal areas, forests, biodiversity and related culture, the country instead has been portrayed as a land of dense population, disasters. This has happened mainly due to faulty policy priorities and approaches and of course poor governance that also accounts for non-implementation of environmental laws.

-Its efforts through public interest litigation have truly sensitized the concept of ‘environmental justice’ in the country that now has special courts to deal with environmental offences.

Objectives & Strategies
-The broad objective of BELA is to promote environmental justice and contribute towards the development of a sound environmental jurisprudence.
The specific objectives of the organization include:
-Undertake studies on and research into the local, national and international regulatory regime on environment
-Undertake legislative advocacy
-Seek judicial or administrative relief to ensure implementation of existing environmental laws
-Resolve environmental disputes through court cases, alternative dispute resolution, mediation and other means
-Create greater awareness about environmental laws and issues
-Provide legal assistance and support endeavours for protection of the environment and associated human rights
-Develop networks with local, national and international groups/bodies/agencies working on environment
-Develop and core group of environmental activists

-For its contribution in the field of environmental education and awareness, BELA received the Environment Award 2007 from the Government of Bangladesh.

Proshika

-Proshika’s one of the major activities is social forestry programme. It is a systematic intervention to enhance the plantation, protection and regeneration of the forest resources.

-It also provides disaster relief during national calamities such as floods, cyclones, cold spells etc.

-Crop diversification project: it has close cooperation with the Department of Agricultural Extension and RAKAB to implementation the project.

BRAC
Brac also has two environment related progrmme:

Disasters & Climate Change

The programme seeks to:
- promote better disaster preparation and management
- increase awareness about climate change and its impact
- undertake research to identify successful risk reduction and coping mechanisms

Water, Sanitation & Hygiene

-To provide communities with access to safe water, Brac undertakes various activities, including development of a water safety plan, installation of deep tube wells, water quality tests and provision of loans for tube well platform construction. In arsenic and saline-affected areas, we sink deep tube wells, construct ponds and filters and arsenic removal filters and install piped water supply systems to provide safe water.

-Brac raises awareness on sanitation issues, which creates community demand for facilities such as sanitary latrines.
-Brac installs water supply and sanitation facilities to improve people’s health.
-Schools in rural areas either have poor sanitation facilities or none at all. To address this issue, it works with secondary school authorities to provide separate latrines that have adequate water and waste disposal facilities.

Wildlife Trust of Bangladesh

The Wildlife Trust of Bangladesh (WTB) is a non-profit organization whose aim is to conserve the country’s biological diversity.

WTB’s activities include:
-Research and monitoring
-Institutional and policy development
-Communication and education
-Wildlife-human conflict mitigation
-Legislation and law enforcement

Bangladesh Poribesh Andolon (BAPA)

Bangladesh Poribesh Andolon is a common forum of citizens and organizations concerned with the environment of Bangladesh. BAPA, acting as a pressure group against any kind of environment degradation, is trying to create a broad-based citizen’s movement for protection and betterment of environment in Bangladesh.

-It organizes seminars, meetings, conferences and workshops to draw attention to general and specific problems in environment and educate the public on such issues. It holds rallies and demonstrations to build up public awareness and secure wide participation of people on environmental issues.

Objectives

BAPA’s objectives are:
1. To stop the process of further environmental degradation in Bangladesh.
2. To reverse, where possible, the damage that has already been done to the environment.
3. To build up a nationwide, united, civic movement to achieve the aims of stopping and reversing environmental degradation in Bangladesh.

Role of NGOs on environment

Bangladeshis faced with rampant poverty, high population density, recurring natural disasters and a dwindling natural recourse base. All these factors make it imperative for the country to integrate all development concerns. The role of NGOs especially those dedicated towards environmental causes are crucial towards the end. Role of these NGOs has earned more credibility and commendation as they surely play a role in raising community environment consciousness, promoting protection and the needs of sustainable development.

Role of NGOs working on environmental issues in Bangladesh can be synthesized in the following form:
-Programme implementation (social forestry, crop diversification)
-Policy initiation or providing policy inputs (National Environment Management Action Plan)
-Assistance in international negotiation
-Research
-Environmental movement (GM food)

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Dysfunctional Environments: What Is A Dysfunctional Environment?

February 8th, 2021 by dayat No comments »

When it comes to describing a dysfunctional environment, it might help us to also look at what a functional environment might look like.

Functional Environment

A functional environment then; would be an area that is conducive to growth. Somewhere that not only supports and encourages an individual to be themselves, but also allows them to.

Here, one can express who they are and feel safe doing so. Positive feelings and thoughts are also more likely to occur in this environment.

Dysfunctional Environment

The dysfunctional environment on the other hand would be somewhere that doesn’t allow for the above to happen. Where the individual doesn’t feel supported or acknowledged in anyway, let alone in a way that honours who they are. This might be an environment that forces one to constantly compromise their values and themselves.

The word door mat comes to mind here; with boundaries being nonexistent in this environment. Feeling and thinking negatively is also something that might seem to just happen; coming on like a parasite, without reason or warning. Despair is also another common consequence from being in this type of environment.

Conscious And Unconscious Environments

With both of these examples we can see that one is an environment that could be classed as conscious and the other is an environment that is the complete opposite.

By this I mean that the dysfunctional environment is an environment where behaviour and the effects of that behaviour go unnoticed. The people in the environment have little, to, no awareness of their actions or to the damage, which is being carried out physically, emotionally or mentally.

Standing Up

Perhaps if one were to comment or mention how they felt to the person or persons in the environment, they might be dismissed or ignored. This of course all depends on how dysfunctional the environment is.

The Frog Metaphor

This is a story that is helpful in explaining the insidious nature of the dysfunctional environment.

It is about a frog that is put in a pan and is cooked so gradually that it doesn’t know or notice the difference in temperature. And after this slow rise, the frog dies. It was oblivious to what was happening and its imminent death. It became comfortable and numb to what it was experiencing.

So How Does This Relate To Dysfunctional Environments?

Within this environment one will notice at first that it is draining to them. However unless one takes the steps to break away or steps out of the environment so that it can be seen from another perspective, they might start to feel comfortable within this environment. With their original state of mind and aliveness; fast becoming a distant memory.

Now this could be because of a gradual drip feed approach or the slow cooking approach mentioned above. It might also be because it is an environment that feels comfortable and safe to them; as absurd as this sounds. It is reminding them of their history and what hasn’t been looked at.

Is This How It Is?

One might have never been in a functional environment. This makes it difficult in seeing contrast and in being able to compare it to other environments in their life. One might believe that this is how life is and that there is no such thing as a ‘functional environment’ or that it’s not possible for them.

History

We all have our own history, some parts that are likely to bring us feelings of happiness and other parts that might cause feelings of anger or resentment. This is history that won’t just disappear; it has to be faced in some way. That could be by directly facing something or by the assistance of a therapist for example.

Pulled To Our Past

We will naturally be drawn into environments that are mind unconsciously associates as being what is safe to us. These environments won’t always be places that empower or honour who we are. They will be environments that mirror the behaviours, feelings and thoughts of our childhood.

Associations

This is because of the nature of the mind and how it gets attached and creates attachments. What was experienced as a child becomes what is familiar and safe to the ego mind; regardless of if it is functional or not. If these associations are functional and beneficial, then what will subsequently happen is one will usually end up in environments that are at least moderately healthy and functional.

Unhealthy Associations

However if these are associations that are not so healthy or functional; one is likely to find that they are ending up in the same environments. Environments that are disempowering and don’t reflect what they consciously want or what their heart calls for. Where their energy is being taken and no energy is being returned.

The Childhood Environment

Above I have mentioned about our later environments mirroring the behaviours feelings and thoughts of our childhood environment if they have not been processed.

Common themes of those years will continue to appear and play out in our present day environments. These might be themes that our unique to us; challenges that just seem to appear over and over again.

A Recent Study

I recently read about a group of rat pups that were genetically predisposed to be more fearful than other strains of rats. If these rats were left with their biological mothers, they were likely to be fearful and stressed. However after placing these rat pups with other rat mothers that were not fearful; they grew up without fear.

The Power Of The Environment

Now these might be rats that were talking about here, but what this shows is the power of the environment in shaping how we see ourselves and in who we become.

There is always talk of nature vs. nurture and on the effect genetics have on life, however through the study of epigenetic’s genes have been found to require a trigger to be activated and that trigger is the environment. It is the environment that is making the difference.

Choosing Our Environments

Choosing our environments and therefore the people we have in our life and spend our time with is incredibly important to our own wellbeing and in achieving our dreams.

The natural tendency of our mind will be to return to what feels comfortable and to what is familiar.

Who We Are

What happened in or childhood or what has happened in our past doesn’t have to define our life or who we are. That is something we can do in each moment of our life.

My name is Oliver J R Cooper and I have been on a journey of self awareness for over nine years and for many years prior to that I had a natural curiosity.