Internship Report on Environmental Plans Policies and Programs of Bangladesh


This report of Country Environmental plans, Policies & programs Analysis (CEA) aims to assess Government’s future role and operational strategy in the environment sector and will also provide input to the Country Strategy and Action Plan (CSP). This CEA for 2005-2009 outlines the environmental issues that are most significant to the Bangladesh’s economy. It will also provide background information on the environmental constraints, needs and opportunities in Bangladesh. Over the given period of this strategy document, it will be working with the Government of Bangladesh (GoB) for the improvement of the environment sector, wherein this report may be a basis for actions and/or interventions.

 This work focuses on the aspects of understanding the important features of the Bangladesh environment that need to be essentially understood. The purpose of the report is to present the findings of a review done on the environment sector. The review considered the ongoing and past interventions, legal and policy regimes and finally outlined the outstanding issues facing the sector. Since environment is vast and broad and cut across almost all the formal sectors, the review was conducted as exhaustively as possible to cover all. While tabling the recommendations, recent policy directives like the National Strategy for Economic Growth; Poverty Reduction and Social Development (NS-EGPRSD); MDG etc. have been kept in mind.

 While preparing this strategy document, implications and lessons learned from the Country Strategy Plan (CSP), Policy and Strategy Documents of Government of Bangladesh (GoB) have been duly consulted. Besides these, discussions were held with the Planning Commission, Department of Environment & Forest Department etc. with a view to incorporate their approach and strategy.

 The Environment:

An environment is a complex of external factors that acts on a system and determines its course and form of existence. An environment may be thought of as a superset, of which the given system is a subset. An environment may have one or more parameters, physical or otherwise. The environment of a given system must necessarily interact with that system.

Generally, the environment or milieu of some object or action consists of the substances, circumstances, objects, or conditions by which it is surrounded or in which it occurs. (Although the two terms are usually synonyms, some sciences prefer the less common milieu to avoid confusion with the more well-known meanings of environment in ecology, politics, and sociology.)

Body of rules and regulations, and orders and statutes, concerned with the maintenance and protection of the natural environment of a country. It provides basis for measuring and apportioning liability in cases of environmental crime and the failure to comply with its provisions.

 The Plan and Planning:

As practiced by local or national government, the direction of development. Proposed changes are scrutinized, and planning permission is only given if the development does not conflict with agreed aims.

Planning presupposes an ability to foresee events and a capability for analyzing situations and solving problems—see environmental impact assessment—and policy varies with political outlook. Until 1977 the building of new housing was based on the principle of ‘predict and provide’. Environmental activisms, and public resistance, have eroded this policy; predictions are now guidelines for Regional Planning Authorities who must also give weight to the spatial implications of any new development. Any developer refused planning permission may make an appeal to the Secretary of State for the Environment, who will consider both sides of the proposal and may suggest an altered plan. Planning blight is the adverse effect of a proposed development, such as a motorway, which could cause drop in house prices. If the landowner cannot dispose of the property, or cannot make as much use of it as was previously possible, he or she may serve a purchasing notice on the planning department of the local authority. See externality.
The ‘new’ planning issues include: regional and local economic decline, as in the inner cities (See regional inequality); understanding regeneration processes; lessening social exclusion by improving accessibility to quality services; consumerism versus ‘Greenfield’ in housing; planning for environmentally sustainable development; and the exploration of issues of public versus popular control: is it always ‘nimbyist’ to protect localities?

1. To formulate a scheme or program for the accomplishment, enactment, or attainment of: plan a campaign.

2. To have as a specific aim or purpose; intend: They plan to buy a house.

3. To draw or make a graphic representation of.

 The Policy:

A plan or course of action, as of a government, political party, or business, intended to influence and determine decisions, actions, and other matters: American foreign policy; the company’s personnel policy.


(1) Basic principles by which a government is guided.

(2) Declared objectives which a government seeks to achieve and preserve in the interest of national community. See also public policy.

 The Program:

General: Plan of action aimed at accomplishing a clear objective, with details on what work is to be done, by whom, when, and what means or resources will be used.

Program – an announcement of the events that will occur as part of a theatrical or sporting event; “you can’t tell the players without a program”

Environment of Bangladesh:

Environment the aggregate of conditions affecting the existence or development of life and nature. The overall global environment is declining fast and for Bangladesh it has been doing so more rapidly during the last few decades because of many obvious reasons. Bangladesh passed an act on environmental conservation in 1995. However, the environmental problems of the country are becoming acute because of population explosion, lack of adequate forest areas and nearly complete absence of any controlling measure on the part of industry or the transport system. A few articles on the environment of Bangladesh are given below:

 State of environment

Physical environment

Biological environment

Socio-economic environment

Environment-current issues and

Environment-international agreements

 State of environment:

Globally Bangladesh has great importance for its exceptional hydro-geographical setting. Three mighty rivers, the padma, the brahmaputra and the meghna drain a total catchment area of about 1.5 million sq km, of which only 8 percent of the drainage area lies within Bangladesh. Most of the drainage basin is located in the neighbouring countries. Bangladesh has been formed over tens of thousands of years, composing a very thick layer of sedimentary deposition as the heavily laden rivers slow down in the Bangladesh delta. The following aspects made Bangladesh significant from the environmental point of view: Bangladesh is one of the largest deltas in the world and is criss-crossed by numerous rivers, their tributaries and distributaries; the country is characterized by very low general relief composed of very thick sedimentary deposition (the thickest in the world); Bangladesh has the world’s largest mangrove forest and the longest sandy beach in the world; the highest population density in the world and a very high demand on natural resources; vast variations in amount of surface water availability between wet and dry seasons (extreme flood and drought); the rate of water flow through Bangladesh is tremendous. The outflow is second only to that of the Amazon river system in South America. In both breadth and total annual volume the Padma-Lower Meghna River is the third largest in the world.

The above-mentioned characteristics of Bangladesh make the country vulnerable to natural disasters as well as environmental hazards.The land is largely low-lying floodplain. The physical characteristics of the land, geographic location, the multiplicity of rivers and the monsoon climate render Bangladesh highly vulnerable to natural disasters such as floods and cyclones. Seasonal extremes of water availability, ie flood and drought, are characteristics of Bangladesh. These natural phenomena act as significant constraints in achieving sustainable socio-economic development.

Physical environment:

Climate- Bangladesh’s climate is a tropical monsoon climate characterized by marked seasonal variations. Abundant rainfall during the monsoon (July-October) is followed by a cool winter period (November-February), then a hot, dry summer (March-June). In the hot season, the average maximum temperature is 34°C and the average minimum is 21°C. Average maximum temperature in winter is 29°C and the minimum is 11°C.

The rainfall in the region shows great temporal and spatial variations. Seventy to eighty percent of the annual rainfall occurs in the monsoon season. After summer the warm, moist air of the monsoon sweeps up the bay of bengal from the Indian Ocean producing some of the highest recorded rainfalls in the world. The heaviest rainfall is largely over the upper catchment area, particularly in the Indian states of Meghalaya and Assam and over Northeast Bangladesh.

The average annual recorded rainfall within Bangladesh varies from about 1100 mm in the extreme west to about 5700 mm in the northeastern corner of the country. Rainfall in the Himalayas ranges from 2,000 to 15,000 mm annually.

Hydrology- Bangladesh is characterised by an exceptional hydro-geographical setting. Three major rivers, the Padma, the Brahmaputra and the Meghna, drain a catchment extending over Bhutan, Nepal, India, Bangladesh and China (Tibet). The total area of the Ganges-Brahmaputra-Meghna drainage basin is about 1.5 million sq km of which approximately 62 percent is in India, 18 percent in China, 8 percent in Nepal, 4 percent in Bhutan and 8 percent in Bangladesh.

In the last hundred kilometres run to the sea the combined Padma, Brahmaputra and Meghna rivers forms a single flow that is two and half times the rate of the Mississippi. Although the total area of the South Asian watershed is slightly less than half the area of the central basin of the United States, it receives four times the area’s total annual rainfall.

There are over 250 large rivers in Bangladesh. The major rivers can be classified as either ‘unstable’ such as the Meghna or ‘very unstable’ such as the Padma and jamuna. This implies that water and flooding are major factors of consideration in the development of Bangladesh.

Bangladesh is prone to three main types of flooding: (i) flash floods result from heavy rainfall from upstream and create a flood wave along a river. Riverbank erosion, loss of land and severe crop damage are common problems during these events; (ii) monsoon floods are due to heavy continuous rainfall on impounded or poorly draining areas where precipitation exceeds infiltration. These are annual, expected events upon which the agriculture of the country has traditionally depended for the replenishment of the soil and for the water required for wet rice and jute cultivation; (iii) cyclonic floods are the most serious of the flooding events. They can cause serious disasters and occur mainly in the coastal regions.

Physiography- Bangladesh can be divided into three main physiographic divisions: Tertiary hills, Pleistocene terraces, and recent plains. The tertiary hills are situated in Rangamati, Bandarban, Khagrachari, Cox’s Bazar, Chittagong, Sylhet, Maulvi Bazar and Habiganj districts. These hills are formed mainly of sandstone, shale and clay. The average altitude of these hills is 450 m.

The Pleistocene terraces comprise mainly the Madhupur and the Barind Tracts, Bhawal’s Garh and the Lalmai hill area. These terraces were formed about 25,000 years ago. The approximate area of the barind tract is 9320 sq km. The average height of the tract from the adjacent flood plains is 6 to 12 meters. Madhupur and Bhawal stretch over 4103 sq km where the average height from the adjacent floodplain is 30 m. The Lalmai Hill area of Comilla district comprises 34 sq km and is on average 15 m higher than the adjacent flood plain.

The recent plains comprise 124,266 sq km of the country (86 percent). Recent plains can be further classified into five types: piedmont plain, flood plain, deltaic plains, tidal plains and coastal plains. The five types of plains are generally expressed by the common term ‘flood plain’.

The flood plains have an altitude of 0 to 10 m and are low in relief. The average gradient from the northeast to the coast is less than 20 cm per km. South of Dhaka the slope averages 1.6 cm/km. About 50 percent of the land area is below 12 m altitude (height from the sea level) and 75 percent of the area lies below 29 m.

The flood plains of Bangladesh are mainly composed of deltaic silt plains, built up from both alluvial and marine deposits. Because of the low altitude and relief of the land, water travels very slowly on the plain and the rivers have a tendency to meander. The recent plains have been developed, and are being re-worked continuously through the processes of erosion and deposition, and by recurring flooding or inundation.

Soil types and their characteristics- The country is generally composed of a thick layer of sediment, deposited over tens of thousands of years by the flowing rivers. It is estimated that 2.4 billion tons of sediment are transported annually through Bangladesh. The different physiographic divisions are characterized by different types of soil. The tertiary hill areas are characterized by ‘hill soils’ that are mainly composed of tertiary rocks and unconsolidated Tertiary and Pleistocene sediments. The soil is usually acidic with pH varying from 4.0 to 4.5. The soil texture allows comparatively lower infiltration. High porosity allows high moisture content.

The Pleistocene terraces are composed of “old alluvial soils” which were formed from the alluvium of the Pleistocene period. They stand on high land above the flood level. They are clayey in texture and reddish to yellowish in colour due to the presence of iron and aluminum. They are highly aggregated and have a high phosphate fixing capacity. The soil is acidic with pH ranging from 6 to 6.5.

The recent plains are composed of “recent alluvial soils”. Since soil composition in the upstream area is an important factor in determining the properties of the down-stream soils, variations are common in the properties of soils in different river basins. Gangetic alluvium is rich in calcium, magnesium and potassium. It also contains free calcium carbonate. The soil is characterized by nitrogen and phosphate deficiency as well as by alkalinity. The pH range is 7.0 to 8.5.

Tista silt tract soils are sandy to sandy loam in texture, without any developed profile. They are flooded every year and, as a result, are replenished by fresh deposits annually. The pH varies from 6 to 6.5. The coastal saline tract is part of the active flood plain, but is subject to flooding by saline water at high tide. A large part of the tract is occupied by mangrove forest, where some soils contain large amounts of sulphide in their profile. The soil is generally neutral but tends to be on the alkaline side. The pH varies from 6.9 to 7.5.

Soil workability and its influence on cropping patterns- The agricultural potential of flood plain soils is determined as much by hydrology as it is by soil properties. Depth and duration of seasonal flooding and the relative risk of crop damage by floods are the main determinants of cropping patterns. Soil permeability and moisture holding capacity are as important as soil fertility (micronutrient availability). Most floodplain areas have low elevation which ranges around 1m, with the permeable loamy soils on the higher land and impermeable clays in the depressions. These elevation differences determine local differences in the depth and duration of seasonal flooding. Differences in elevation of as little as 30 cm can be highly significant for crops, cropping varieties and seasonal rotations in relation to flooding characteristics.

The agricultural potential of tertiary soils is moderate in poorly drained soils and in deep upland soils. It is much lower in shallow upland soils. The agricultural potential of the sandy hilly soil is severely limited by their erodibility, aggravated by heavy rainfall and depleted soil fertility resulting from repeated jhum cultivation (slash and burn and shifting agriculture in the hilly areas). This soil is best suited for tree crops or forest production.

Biological environment:

Forest resources- In the past three decades, the stock of forest trees has declined at a tremendous rate. Huge areas of forestland have been illegally converted into croplands. Though an up to date forest inventory is unavailable, it is estimated that the forest cover has been reduced more than 50 percent since the 1970s. In 1970 there were over 20,000 acres of sale forest in the Madhupur Tract; twenty years later, approximately 1,000 acres remained. Estimates in 1990 revealed that Bangladesh had less than 0.02 ha of forestland per person, one of the lowest forests to population ratios in the world.

On the basis of location characteristics, forests can be classified under three types: (i) Hill forests, covering an area of 1.15 million acres including 296,300 acres of plantations, mainly in the Rangamati and Sylhet areas; (ii) Mangrove forests, consisting of 1.45 million acres of natural mangroves (sundarbans) and 2,50,000 acres of artificially raised mangrove plantations in the coastal belts and offshore islands for flood protection; and (iii) Plain land sal forests, covering about 3,00,000 acres in Gazipur, Sherpur, Mymensingh, Rajshahi, Rangpur and Dinajpur district. The Forest Department controls about 3.617 million acres of lands in these areas.

Wetlands- Bangladesh has an enormous area of seasonal wetland. In fact, half of the country could be delineated as such. The area under perennial wetlands is much smaller and is principally permanent rivers and streams, shallow freshwater lakes and marshes (haors, baods, and beels), fish ponds and estuarine systems in the extensive mangrove swamps.

Wetland resources are crucial to the environment of Bangladesh. Both perennial and seasonal wetlands provide habitats to a large variety of flora and fauna. Wetlands also provide subsistence for a significant proportion of the population through their fishery resources. The fishermen of Bangladesh are traditionally among the poorest of the rural dwellers. Numerous wetland plants are harvested for use as medicines, food, fodder and building materials. Unfortunately the wetland habitats are under constant threat from human encroachment and flood control and irrigation schemes.

Biodiversity- Bangladesh possesses rich biodiversity, especially in the forested and wetland areas. Approximately 5,000 species of flowering plants are found in Bangladesh (Bangladesh Country Report for UNCED 1992). The country has 266 inland and 442 marine fishes, 22 amphibians, 109 inland and 17 marine reptiles, and 388 resident and 240 migratory birds, 110 inland and 3 marine mammals (Red List of Threatened Animals of Bangladesh, IUCN-Bangladesh 2000). Some species have been identified as threatened. Of the known vertebrates, 13 have already become extinct from Bangladesh territory. Of the inland fish species 54 are threatened. The number of threatened amphibians, inland reptiles, resident birds, and inland mammals are 8, 58, 41, and 40 respectively.

 The loss of plant diversity has not yet been studied and documented in detail. Some individual studies have been carried out to identify threatened plant species and it was found that about 100 vascular plants are threatened.

The main reasons for the loss of biodiversity are: (i) disruption of wetland habitats through encroachment on and destruction of fauna migration paths; (ii) human encroachment on forest lands for agricultural, settlement and commercial purposes; (iii) indiscriminate felling of trees for fuel and construction resulting in a reduction of tree cover areas and habitats; (iv) over-exploitation of particular resources such as medicinal plants, bamboo and cane leading to loss of protective habitat; (v) over-exploitation of wildlife; (vi) monoculture of (HYVs) or less diversified cropping leading to agrochemical build-up; (vii) destruction of mangrove forests; and (viii) shifting (slash and burn) agriculture.

Socio-economic environment:

Population- Bangladesh is the most densely populated country in the world. At present, the population is increasing at around 2 percent per year. The 2001 census put the population at 12,92,47,233 (about 130 million).

Land use Due to the high population density and influence of agriculture based livelihood, pressure on the country’s limited land is tremendous. People are even living and using the land in the very low-lying coastal areas that are much exposed to cyclones and storm surges. A little over 63 percent of the total land area of Bangladesh is under agriculture, the vast majority being used for wet rice cultivation. Forests (including community and village groves) account for almost 20 percent of the land area and human settlements cover 16 percent.

Forests and wetlands have faced the double-barreled threat of a growing population in terms of increased exploitation of forest products and outright conversion of forest lands for both settlement and cultivation purposes. During the 1970s population growth outstripped agricultural production. As a result agricultural lands underwent expansion, severely encroaching on forestlands.

Throughout the 1980s the introduction of advanced technologies, such as high yield varieties of rice, altered the traditional cropping patterns. This made it possible to expand the crop without utilizing more land. This vertical expansion (more crop yield on the same area of land) has almost reached its limit. Horizontal expansion (aerial expansion of cropped area) into forests and increasingly into wetlands is on the increase. More wetland areas are lost to agriculture daily. When water is drained from the wetlands the delicate ecology that maintains the fertility of the land is upset. This increases the need for new agricultural lands or increased fertilizer use to make up for lost production.

Agricultural lands in the polder areas of the south are being encroached upon by shrimp cultivators. Here the land is embanked to contain salt-water ponds for a shrimp cash-crop. Though use as a shrimp pond renders the soil too saline for cropping, it is predicted that more agricultural lands will be converted into big shrimp ponds (gher) in southern Bangladesh.

Environment-current issues:

Many people are landless and forced to live on and cultivate flood-prone land; limited access to potable water; water-borne diseases prevalent; water pollution especially of fishing areas results from the use of commercial pesticides; intermittent water shortages because of falling water tables in the northern and central parts of the country; soil degradation; deforestation; severe overpopulation.

Environment-international agreements:
party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Nuclear Test Ban, Ozone Layer Protection, Wetlands signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements



 A. Natural resource and environment

 Bangladesh is a country of about 147,570 square kilometers, including inland and estuarine water. 6.7% of the country is rivers and inland water bodies. The congruence of the three mighty Himalayan rivers – the Ganges, the Brahmaputra and Meghna drain into the Bay of Bengal and the alluvial deposits carried down mostly by the these mighty livers for thousands of years have formed Bangladesh. It is the largest delta in the world.

 Bangladesh lies north of the Tropic of cancer, located between 20034’ N and 26033’ N latitudes and 88001’ E and 94041’ E longitudes. Located in the northeastern part of the

Indian subcontinent, it is bordered by India on the west, north and east, except for a small portion in the south – east by Myanmar. The Bay of Bengal occupies the entire south. Nearly 50% of the country stands 10 meters above the sea – level.

 Bangladesh has three types of landscapes: floodplains spread over 80% of the country’s land area, terraces covering 8% and hills dispersed over 12% of the land area of Bangladesh. The three major rivers, the Padma, the Meghna and the Brahmaputra, and about 700 other rivers, distributaries, streams and canals totalled an enormous length of water areas. Rashid (1991) estimated the area to be about 24,000 km. Beels, baors, haors1, rivers and canals, floodplains, estuaries etc made up this vast network of wetlands which provide a huge refuge for wildlife, fish and other aquatic lives.

 The tropical climate has made the country luxuriant in vegetation. The forests of Bangladesh can broadly be classified as: (i) Tropical evergreen or semi-evergreen forest in the eastern districts of Chittagong, Cox’s Bazar, Sylhet, and the Chittagong Hill Tracts region collectively known as Hill forest; (ii) Moist or dry deciduous forest also known as Sal (Shorea Robusta) forest located mainly in central plains and the freshwater areas in the northeast region; and (iii) Tidal mangrove forests along the coast, the Sundarbans in the southwest of the Khulna and other mangroves in the Chittagong and Noakhali coastal belt.

 Bangladesh harbors a diverse and extensive fauna and flora. IUCN (2000a) reported 266 species of freshwater fish species and 442 marine species. The fauna, especially the wildlife includes 125 species of mammals, 750 species of birds, 500 species of fishes, 125 species of reptiles and 9 species of amphibian. The number of species, especially the flora and invertebrates, of Bangladesh are 1Beel is perennial water body; baor is an ox-bow lake; haor, endemic to Bangladesh, is saucer shaped depressed land which remains underwater for more than 6 months.

 The total population of Bangladesh is 130 million, with a density of 720 people per square kilometers and a growth rate of 2.17% (BBS, 2001). The populace is comprised of 86% Muslims, 12% Hindus and the remaining 2% Buddhists and Christians. Infant mortality rate (IMR) stood at 153 deaths per 1000 live births in mid-seventies. The recent estimate for 2000 puts the figure at 62. The under-five mortality rate was over 250 deaths per 1000 births during the early seventies, which declined to 83 in 2000 (ERD, 2003). The human poverty index, which stood at 61 per cent in the early eighties, has declined to 35 per cent in the late nineties.

 Bangladesh harbors a diverse and extensive fauna and flora. IUCN (2000a) reported 266 species of freshwater fish species and 442 marine species. The fauna, especially the wildlife includes 125 species of mammals, 750 species of birds, 500 species of fishes, 125 species of reptiles and 9 species of amphibian. The number of species, especially the flora and invertebrates, of Bangladesh are not known for certain. Khan (2001) reported that Chittagong zone alone possess over 2,259 species of flowering plants. Hassan (2003) stated that there are over 700 species of flowering plants, 500 species of medicinal plants, 300 species of mangrove and mangrove associate plants and 300 species of wetland plants in Bangladesh.

There can be air pollution, water pollution, and soil pollution. The pollution from solid wastes is a major problem in Bangladesh. The cities generate a considerable amount of solid wastes. At present, Dhaka city alone generates about 3500 to 4000 m tons of solid wastes per day. The amount increases with the increase of population every year.

Environmental pollution agents

 Table:  Contribution to national pollution load by selected sectors and pollutants

Type of industry

Toxic chemical to land

Toxic chemical to air

Toxic metal to water



Total particulate

Number of pollutants with>5% contribution









Non-ferrous metal








Iron and steel








Sugar and refineries








































Vegetable oil








Chem. products
























% contribution to nationwide load







Source Modified version based on Hettige, M. & Brandon, C. 1997, ‘Industrial Pollution in Bangladesh: A Detailed Analysis’, The World Bank, and Workshop Discussion Draft.

Certain industries in Bangladesh emit hydrogen sulfide (H2S), ammonia, chlorine, and some other odorous chemicals that may be poisonous and cause irritation. Some time people of Dhaka and other cities are so used to these that they seldom care these as air pollution problem. Hazaribag tanneries which are located near the city is an example of this. In the processing of leather the toxic and pollutant gases like chlorine, SO2, H2S and ammonia are emitted. Some buildings are poorly designed and because of lack of adequate ventilation, the trapped pollutants like tobacco smoke, gases from stoves and furnaces and household chemical substances cannot escape into the atmosphere.

Air and water pollution agents

 Table:  Tolerable concentrations of air pollutants (B5g/m3) [SPM- suspended particulate; SOx– sulfur oxides]






Industrial and mixed use










Residential and rural





Sensitive areas





Environmental degradation: While environmental problems merge imperceptibly into development problems, the socio-economic development of Bangladesh has been constrained further owing to the inadvertent manipulation of the environment, bringing in disequilibrium between resource development and utilization. Much land is being abused, and overuse has resulted in land degradation. The problem, however, lies with the implementation of the principle of optimum land use. The major consequences of changes in land use and land cover are resource depletion, loss of rural land, land degradation, deforestation, desertification, soil loss, salinization, loss of wetlands, loss of biodiversity, and loss of cultural diversity. The key issue is the magnitude of the changes induced by the changes in land use over an extensive area. There is much concern today in Bangladesh about environmental stresses leading to environmental degradation, namely the increasing aridity being experienced in the western and northwestern zone, particularly in the districts of Rajshahi, Dinajpur, Bogra, and some areas of Kushtia and Jessore.

The degradation of the biological environment including the human use system of the region has exacerbated the risk of erosion, salinization and above all desertification. Of late, concern has been expressed about the fact that the progressive desiccation and consequent expansion of sandy area have been due to recent changes in the weather system. It is possible that the climate is becoming drier, exacerbating the process of desertification. But there appears to be evidence of increasing aridity in recent years owing largely to changes in landforms, formation of char lands and drying up of rivers as a result of the withdrawal of Ganges water upstream, and degradation of the vegetative cover (diminution of forest resources), soil erosion, waterlogging and salinization (increase of salinity further inland). It seems that rapid deterioration in the quality of the environment has already ensued, with a gradual decrease in land productivity.

The conversion of wetlands to agricultural and urban uses is another factor in land degradation. Several hundred wetlands have already disappeared and some of the larger ones are in the process of being degraded. The total area of wetlands now in Bangladesh has been variously estimated at between 7 and 8 million ha. These include rivers, estuaries, tanks, fish ponds, and some other lands which are seasonally inundated to a depth of 30 cm or more. Historically and culturally wetlands have been integral parts of human habitation in Bangladesh. Wetland resources in a country like Bangladesh are of enormous economic importance, especially for retaining fish, wildlife and various other vegetative covers. But owing to high population density the wetland resources of Bangladesh have been markedly impacted in both quantity and quality by habitat loss, changes due to water development and management projects and unplanned and uncoordinated agricultural extension.

Urbanization as a process has impacted adversely on the environment at large. Although Bangladesh experiences a low level of urbanization, the rate of growth of the urban population has been rapid during the last few decades. The unabated growth of population in general has already overburdened the inadequate public service infrastructures of urban centres. Moreover, over 30% of the population in most of the urban centres lives in squatters and slums. The strain on human services and the physical structure are severe, and air and water pollution, waste disposal problems health problems are endemic. Moreover, industrialization accompanied by urbanization with a view to generating economic growth and providing much needed employment is also a contributor to air and water pollution and the ill health of millions. However, these problems of poor infrastructure and environmental degradation are being compounded by an increase in the migration of rural people towards urban centres for seeking employment.

Environmental degradation is also caused by such factors as flooding (in both on-shore and off-shore areas) and cyclonic storms in the coastal areas. Apart from gigantic social problems, the floods invariably lead to the deterioration of the general standard of living of the people and the quality of the environment.

A pervasive recurring phenomenon, the frequency of occurrence and magnitude of the drought hazard have a profound bearing on such aspects as environmental deterioration and quality of life. Some of the severe droughts occurring in Bangladesh affected as high as 47 percent of land area and 53 percent of the population.

Loss of productive cropland through erosion, natural hazards like floods, cyclones, drought and salinity and human intervention involving natural processes have been as critical as development of infrastructures for transportation, energy production and irrigation structures leading to environmental degradation. All these processes involved in land use transformation bring about changes in biogeochemical cycles, in biodiversity, and in the climate system.

 B. The economy

 The targeted GDP growth rate for 2004 is 5.5%. It is likely that Bangladesh will achieve this target. 5.3% GDP growth rate was achieved in 2003. In 2002 it was to 4.8% compared to 5.3% in 2001. Services, industry and agriculture are the major contributors in country’s GDP. The total share in GDP comprises 48% for service sector, 27% for industry and 25% for agriculture. In 1992, the Sectoral share to GDP was 49% for service sector, 22% for industry and 29% for agriculture The trend in sectoral composition of GDP shows a slow decline of relative share of agriculture and increase in the shares of services and industry sector.

 Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics (BBS) has recently drawn-up the provisional estimates as regards a number of key macroeconomic variables. These estimates show that the five top contributors to incremental GDP growth in FY04 are the following sectors: (i) manufacturing 20.8%, (ii) wholesale trade 15.8%, (iii) construction 12.5%, (iv) transport and communication 11.3%, (v) agriculture 11.0%, and (vi) crop sub-sector 3.9%. As may be seen, the GDP growth in FY04 was spearheading by manufacturing industries and various service sectors, while share of agriculture was below its sectoral share.

 The agriculture sector comprises crops, forests, fisheries and livestock. The performance of agricultural sector has an overwhelming impact on major macroeconomic objectives like employment generation, poverty alleviation, human resources development and above all the food security. This sector generates 63.2% of total national employment, of which crop sectors share is nearly 55 %. About 84% of the total population lives in rural areas and are directly or indirectly engaged in a wide range of agricultural activities (BBS, 2000a, 2000b). Rice and jute are the principal crops. Sugarcane, potato, pulse, tea and tobacco are also important cash crops. Wheat and cotton production has increased substantially in the last decade.

The total share of agriculture and forestry sub-sector to GDP is 19.2% (crop and horticulture- 14.4%, animal farming-2.9%, and forest and related services 1.9%). Fishing sub-sector contributes 5.4% to GDP. The output growth slowed down substantially in the crops and horticulture sub-sector of agriculture, from 8.1%and 6.2% in FY00 and FY01 to 2.8% in FY02. There has been a fair recovery in the fishing sub-sector. It recovered from 4.5% decline in FY01 to a 2.1% growth in FY02. The growth for animal farming and forestry stood at 2.9% and 4.9% respectively in FY02.

 Food grain production has increased in FY03 after a decline in FY02. According to estimate of the BBS, actual food grain production for FY03 was 26.69 million metric tons (Aus- 1.85 million metric tons, Aman- 11.11 million metric tons, Boro- 12.22 million metric tons, and wheat- 1.51 million metric tons), which was about 3% higher than that of FY02. Total rice production in FY03 was more than 4% than that of FY02. It may be mentioned here that though the production of food grains has increased in FY03, it is still below the production level of FY01 (26.76 million metric tons).

Growth in inland aquaculture has been phenomenal during the last decade. In 1999/2000, total production from aquaculture was 657,120 MT, which is 39.44% of the total catch (BBS, 2000a). However, the full potentials of aquaculture are yet to be fully utilized. There is a great potential for improvement in production. The shrimp sector contributes significantly to foreign exchange earning and employment in rural areas. The combined production from marine and brackish water ponds and from freshwater ghers (Shrimp farms), as reported by Fisheries Sector Review and Future Development (FSRFD) study in 2003, is estimated to be around 42,900 MT.

 The lowest growth rate (3.2%) in the manufacturing sub-sector was recorded in the recent past during the 1990s in the year of severe floods. Since then, it has gradually recovered. In FY03, the sector recorded 6.6% growth with its medium and large component expanding at a slightly lower than average rate of 6.0 percent (CPD, 2004). The share of manufacturing sub-sector in GDP stood at 15.6% in FY02. In the industry sector, low share of power, gas and water supply (1.5%) indicates the infrastructural inadequacies constraining industrial growth.

 C. Future development and environment agenda

 Bangladesh has achieved several milestones in environment sector despite the hardship from poverty, resource scarcity, overpopulation, corruption and natural calamities. Achievements ranged from incorporation of environmental concerns in sectoral policy formulation to benchmarking success at the field level. Like any other countries, achieving environmentally sound development has emerged as the greatest challenge for Bangladesh.

 The implication of future development should be carefully examined to take environmental concerns into account. The economic activities are still very much dependent on the natural resource base of the country. Future growth potential will definitely put stress on the fragile resource base. On the other hand, quality of environment will significantly affect the sustainable contribution of important sectors to Bangladesh’s GDP. The recent growth in manufacturing sector will have great effect on overall economy. It might also have tremendous stress on the natural resource base and overall environment unless the pollution loads, arises due to industrial development, are not taken care of seriously. Service sector like housing, transport, real estate and urban activities also put pressure on the environment and in turn can affect the economic growth potential.

 Integration of environmental issues and concerns into development processes should be a prime concern for Bangladesh. The growth of the country must be based on the principle of sustainable development. Economic growth and environmental sustainability should be treated as mutually interdependent aspect to improve the well-being of the nation. Multi-stakeholder partnership, involving government, private sector and public in general, and ownership in decision making is a precondition for such development. Without such a consensus, the key challenges of environmentally sound, socially just and equitable economic development will be a far cry.

 Planning and management:

Bangladesh experiences an almost unique environmental situation, being located on two of the world’s largest rivers (the Padma and the Brahmaputra), and in one of the great flood and cyclone hazard zones of the earth. While physical environmental problems merge imperceptibly into development problems, the socio-economic development of the country has been constrained owing to pressures exerted on the total environmental system bringing in disharmony between resource development and utilization. With a population of about 130 m and a limited resource base, the man-land ratio being the most critical, the importance of environmental planning and management can hardly be over-emphasized- a perspective necessitating a working knowledge of the environment which it is felt would have a seminal influence on the proper planning of development and environmental management.

Of late, much emphasis is being given on the aspect of environmental management. Mention must be made of the National Environment Policy (1992), National Environment Action Plan (1992), Forest Policy (1994), Forestry Master Plan (1993-2012), and Environment Conservation Act (1995). The National Conservation Strategy and especially the National Environment Management Action Plan (NEMAP) have been drawn up with assistance from people from all walks of life. Further, for executing management programmes and action plans in particular, various policy instruments such as government regulations and control, including social instruments have been enforced, though these have not always yielded fruits. Among other considerations, the policy objectives include in addition to enhancement of the environment, such items as urban beautification programmes, recreation, aesthetics, ecosystem and habitat conservation, landscape preservation, wildlife protection and heritage safeguard.

Environment and developmental planning Recognizing the importance of the environment as a crucial factor in development planning as well as taking steps to development policy more responsive to governmental concerns has been a step consistent with broad national objectives. Building environmental concerns into development is indeed a life and death situation in Bangladesh. By the same token, improving the quality of the physical environment without thinking of improving the status of man himself is an anomalous assertion. Population control, sustainable resource exploitation, environmental conservation and rural development are all best served not by starting with them in a normal professional way, but by starting with poor rural people and with what they want and need. It is precisely sustainable livelihoods, which can secure rights and ownerships, integrate the poor people’s wants and needs that those concerned with population resources, environment and rural development seek.


Environment policy: Course of action adopted and pursued by the government to preserve and maintain healthy environment relations. Global environmental degradation in recent years calls for serious environmental planning making and effective implementation of policies. The industrial countries have made good progress in the management of environmental concerns of their priorities. However, the art or science of environmental policy-making in a developing country is a new area, with not much of past experience. The process of governance and environmental priorities of developing countries also differ from those of the industrial world. There is an acute lack of data as well as inter/multi-disciplinary expertise needed for policy planning. This makes the task all the more difficult.

With its physical and socio-economic parameters, Bangladesh can be said to present a test case of sustainable environment management. The pressure of a huge population of about 130 million on a very limited resource base has, perhaps, surpassed the country’s carrying capacity in terms of both the source and sink functions of the environment. Recurring natural disasters and huge casualties are to a large extent man-made. In such an all-pervasive predicament, the importance of environmental policy-making in Bangladesh cannot be overemphasized.

In recent years, environmental protection has become a priority agenda of the Government of Bangladesh. The government as well as the civil society is showing increasing concerns about the rapid degradation of both urban and rural environments. Implementation of the government’s commitments to the environment and the mitigation of other environment-related problems are possible only through a well-defined national policy. The successive governments have initiated a series of policies and programs aimed at putting development on a sustainable path, including the adoption of an Environment Policy in 1992.

The objectives of Environment Policy are: (a) to maintain ecological balance and overall development through protection and improvement of the environment; (b) to protect the country against natural disasters; (c) to identify and regulate activities which pollute and degrade the environment; (d) to ensure environmentally sound development in all sectors; (e) to ensure sustainable, long-term and environmentally sound use of all national resources; and (f) to actively remain associated with all international environmental initiatives to the maximum possible extent.

Environmental activities encompass all geographical regions and development sectors of the country. Policies towards realization of the overall objectives of the 1992 Environment Policy encompass fifteen sectors, such as, agriculture, industry, health and sanitation, energy and fuel, water development, flood control and irrigation; land, forest; wildlife and biodiversity; fisheries and livestock, food; coastal and marine environment; transport and communication; housing and urbanization; population; education and public awareness; and science, technology and research.

Environmental Laws: Environmental Laws legal measures for the conservation and protection of the environment and ecology. These laws lay down the rights and duties of citizens and public agencies in consonance with the global call for a healthy environment.

Environmental laws existed in the country right from the 19th century; although they remained either uninformed to a large extent or were vaguely known to the people and the responsible public agencies. The prevailing traditional practices were not conducive to environmental protection or conservation of resources. Some laws have also become redundant, as the conditions for which these were enacted do not exist any longer.

In 1989, the Ministry of Environment and Forest was established to address environment-related issues. The government drafted a national conservation strategy, adopted the national environment policy of 1992, and revised the old law by enacting the Bangladesh Environment Conservation Act, 1995. The Department of Environment was also restructured. The national environment management action plan (NEMAP) has also been finalized and is being implemented. A study shows that there are about 185 laws that have either a direct or an indirect bearing on the environment.

A law was enacted in 1974 to control pollution of water. That law was replaced by an ordinance in 1977. The concern for water subsequently became a concern for management of the environment and this led to the Environment Conservation Act of 1995. Conservation as it has been defined in the Act of 1995 would require qualitative and quantitative improvement of different components of the environment and prevention of their degradation. Environment, as has been defined in the Act, includes water, air, land and other physical properties and the interrelationships which exist among them and between them, and human beings, other living beings, plants and micro-organisms.

The Act has also given operational definitions of ‘eco-systems’, ‘pollution’, ‘waste’, and ‘hazardous substance’; previously such definitions did not exist in the legal regime. This act has given the Director General of the Department of Environment all the authority needed to deal with matters connected with protection of the environment. The act sought to address emission from vehicles, an environmental offence that was addressed in the Motor Vehicles Ordinance of 1983. The provision for punishment makes the implementation of this act rather difficult as that requires exercise of magisterial power. Under Section 12 of the Act, no industrial unit shall be established and no industrial project adopted without obtaining environmental clearance from the Director General of the Department of Environment. Prior to that, adoption of pollution fighting devices for industries was binding for the industries by virtue of a notification of the Ministry of Local Government, Rural Development and Co-operatives. With the subsequent adoption of the Environment Conservation Rules of 1997 some progress has been made with regard to the effective implementation of the act.

The Act of 1995 also empowered the government to declare an area to be an ‘ecologically critical area’ (ECA) if its eco-system appears to be under serious threats of degradation or is degraded. The Ministry of Environment and Forests has already declared seven areas as critical. These are the Sundarbans, Cox’s Bazar-Teknaf sea beach, St. Martin’s Island, Shonadia Island, Hakaluki Haor, Tanguar Haor, and Marzat Oxbow Lake. In these ECAs, a ban has been imposed on some activities that include felling or extracting trees; hunting and poaching of wild animals; catching or collection of snails, coral, turtles, and other creatures; any activities that may threaten the habitat of flora and fauna; activities likely to destroy or alter the natural characteristics of the soil and water; establishment of industries that may pollute soil, water, air and/or create noise pollution; and any other activity that may be harmful for fish and aquatic life.

The Forest Act, 1927 covers forests and forest management. Availability of forest land in Bangladesh is one of the lowest in the world. Between the 18th and the middle of the 19th century, different parts of Indian forests were subjected to exploitation on a huge scale under the rule of the English east india company and, later, the British government. Forest areas shrank during British rule because of the extension of agriculture. The Sundarbans alone shrank by about 1000 sq miles.

By 1864, the conservation of forests in Bengal began with the appointment of a conservator of forests. The first notification reserving forests came on 14 December 1864. By 1872, about 60,000 sq miles of forests were demarcated as reserved forests in Bengal, Bihar, Orissa and Assam.

The Agricultural and Sanitary Improvement Act, 1920 was enacted to consolidate and amend the law relating to the construction of drainage and other works in certain areas. The Agricultural Pests Ordinance, 1962 was promulgated to prevent the spread of agricultural pests in Bangladesh This law empowered the government to prohibit the employment of any method of cultivation that would spread agricultural pests either generally or with respect to any particular crops. With the same objective the government may also prohibit the transport or sale of any infested crop. The Agricultural Pesticides Ordinance, 1971 aimed to regulate the import, manufacture, sale, distribution and use of pesticides.

The Protection and Conservation of Fish Act, 1950 was adopted to provide for the conservation of fish resources. Under this law the government may for a specified period prohibit the catching, carrying, transporting, offering or exposing or possession for sale or barter of fishes below the prescribed size of any prescribed species throughout Bangladesh or any part thereof.

The Marine Fisheries Ordinance, 1983 covers the territorial waters and economic zone of Bangladesh as declared by the government under the Territorial Waters Maritime Zones Act, 1974, and any other marine waters over which it has, or claims to have, jurisdiction under law with respect to the management, conservation and development of the marine living resources. This law has authorized the government to specify the types, classes and number of fishing vessels that can be deployed in Bangladesh waters having regard to the requirement of fisheries management and development plans. Under Section 28 of the Ordinance the government may declare any area of Bangladesh waters and an adjacent or surrounding land to be a marine reserve.

The Bangladesh Wild Life (Preservation) Order, 1973 deals with game and protected animals. While game animals can be hunted, killed, or captured only subject to the terms and conditions of permits, issued by the relevant authority, protected animals cannot be hunted, killed or captured except for protecting life, crops or livestock. Health and the environment are the concern of a series of acts including the Smoke Nuisances Act, 1905, Juvenile Smoking Act, 1919, Prohibition of Smoking in Show Houses Act, 1952, Brick Burning Act, 1989, Pure Food Ordinance, 1959, Public Parks Act, 1904, and Undesirable Advertisement Control Act, 1952.

Under the Smoke Nuisances Act, 1905, the government may prohibit within any specified area (a) the erection or use of any specified class of brick tile or lime kilns; (b) clamps for making bricks, or the erection or use of furnaces; (c) the smelting of ores or minerals, or the casting, piddling or rolling of iron or other metals, or the conversion of pig iron into wrought iron; (d) the manufacture of coke in ovens or with special appliances; (e) the making of coke without ovens or special appliances. If smoke is emitted from any furnace in greater density, or at a lower altitude, or for a longer time than is permitted by the rules made under this Act, the owner of the furnace shall be liable to a fine which may extend, on a first conviction, to taka 50, on a second conviction to taka 100, and on any subsequent conviction to taka 200. For the enforcement of this law, provision has been made for constituting a commission and appointing a chief inspector of smoke nuisance and assistant inspectors.

The Brick Burning (Control) Act, 1989 requires a license from the district commissioner for brick burning. The use of any plant in a brick kiln has been prohibited, and any violation may lead to cancellation of the license, in addition to a fine of fifty thousand taka or six months imprisonment.

The Pure Food Ordinance, 1959 covers food and food related matters. Food means any article used as food or drink for human consumption, other than water or any drug, and includes ice and aerated water and (a) any substance which is intended for use in the composition or preparation of food, (b) any flavoring matter or any spice or condiment and (c) any coloring matter intended for use in food. Section 6 of the ordinance prohibits trade in adulterated food. Section 19 states that no person shall publish or cause to be published an advertisement which is calculated to mislead the public as to the nature, substance or quality of an article of food.

This ordinance aims to prevent spread of diseases and states that no person suffering from leprosy, tuberculosis or any other disease which may be notified by the government in this behalf, shall manufacture or sell any article of food, or willfully touch any such article which is for sale by any other person. One striking aspect of the ordinance is that it recognizes the people’s right to question the standard of goods. In other words, consumers have a standing under the ordinance which states that a person who has purchased any article of food shall, on payment of a prescribed fee, be entitled to have a sample of such an article analyzed or otherwise examined by the public analyst appointed for the area in which the purchase was made, and to receive from such a public analyst a certificate in the form provided in the schedule, specifying the result of the analysis or examination.

The Public Parks Act, 1904 applies to any designated public park or garden. It empowers the government to make rules for the management and preservation of any park, and for regulating the use thereof by the public. Such rules may prohibit plucking or gathering of anything growing in the park, breaking trees, branches or plants, cutting names or marks on trees, disfiguring buildings, furniture or monuments, removing or disfiguring labels or marks attached to trees or plants. However, such rules are yet to be formulated for ensuring more open spaces for city dwellers.

The Undesirable Advertisement Control Act, 1952 shall cover any notice, sign, visible representation, announcement, bill, handbill, circular or pamphlet, whether pictorial or otherwise. This Act prohibits any advertisement for the treatment of any venereal disease, sexual disorder, irregularity of menstruation or any other prescribed disease, infirmity or abnormality, or offer to prescribe any remedy there of or give or offer to give any advice in connection with the treatment thereof.

Bangladesh is a signatory to as many as twenty international conventions, treaties, and protocols in connection with the conservation and protection of environment and ecology. Some of them have been ratified. But there are some others which are yet to be ratified.


 A. Legal and regulatory framework:

 The first major law that has been promulgated for the specific purpose of protection of environment and conservation of nature is the Environmental Conservation Act (ECA) of 1995, which was followed by the Environmental Conservation Rules (ECR) of 1997.

 Besides, there are around two hundred laws in Bangladesh which have, in some cases, direct relevance to environment. In most of the cases, the primary objective of these laws does not concern natural resource management or addressing environmental pollution directly; these laws can, however, be invoked very much to cover various sectoral aspects of the environment that embrace pesticides use, land use, human health, urban facilities etc. public services and practices .

 Laws having relevance to natural resource management in Bangladesh can be broadly divided into the following categories:

 • Laws having non-sectoral approach- Environmental Conservation Act (ECA) of 1995 and Environmental Conservation Rules (ECR) of 1997.

 • Sectoral laws:

 Land use laws

 Agriculture and irrigation laws

  Water resource laws

 Fisheries laws

  Forestry laws

  Wildlife laws

  Energy laws

  Health laws

  Food and consumer protection laws

  Transportation laws

  Local Government laws

  Urban and rural development laws

Table provides a list of available laws that have bearing on environment.

 Table Major Laws and regulations in environment sector

Laws and relevant Regulation

Major Components


Environmental Conservation

Act of 1995 The

Environmental Conservation Act of 1995empowered the MOEF to formulate rules and guidelines for the management. It also designates DOE responsible for enforcing the 1997 EIA procedures air pollution, water pollution, noise.
Environmental Conservation Rules of 1995Air pollution, water pollution, noise
EIA Guidelines of Industries of 1997The EIA process is categorized into four classes, that’s, green, amber A, amber B, and red, according to the degree of impacts



Court Act. 2000

The act is passed to establish Environment Court for speedy disposal of cases concerning environmental offences as defined in the Environmental Law
Environmental Pollution Control ordinance 1997Including national water quality standards according to the HO guidelines, air quality standards, noise, solid waste management
Factories Act 1965


Air pollution, occupational health
Motor Vehicles Act 1939Air pollution, noise Non


Agricultural Tenancy Act1947Land use
State Acquisition and Tenancy Act 1950


Land use
Acquisition of Waste Land Act 1950Land use
Town Improvement Act 1950Land use
Municipality Ordinance 1977Land use
Local Government Ordinance 1982Land use
Land Reforms Ordinance 1984Land use
Land Reform Board Act 1989Land use
Chittagong Hill Tract Regulation Act 1990Land use
Pesticide Ordinance 1971Amended in 1980 Toxic and hazardous substance
Agricultural Pest Ordinance 1962


Toxic and hazardous substance
Dangerous Drug Act 1930Toxic and hazardous Substance


Dangerous Drug Control Order 1982Toxic and hazardous substance


Agriculture and Sanitary Improvement Act 1920Toxic and hazardous substance


Poison Act 1930Toxic and hazardous substance
Explosive Substances Act 1908 Modified in 1983Toxic and hazardous substance


Laws and relevant Regulation Major components Explosive Act 1884Toxic and hazardous substance
Municipality Ordinance 1977Solid waste management
Laws and relevant RegulationDescription
Private Forest ordinance 1950


Forest Conservation
Forest Act 1927Modified in 1973 Forest conservation, biodiversity conservation, solid conservation
Wildlife (Preservation) Act 1973 Amended 1974Wildlife conservation, wetland management, biodiversity conservation
Private Fisheries Protection Act 1889Biodiversity conservation
Conservation and Protection of Fisheries Act 1950Coastal resources management, biodiversity conservation


Marine Fisheries ordinance 1983Coastal resources management, biodiversity conservation, marine pollution
Territorial Water and Marine Zone Act 1974Coastal resources management, marine pollution
Mines Act 1927Mineral resources development and management
Petroleum Act 1934Mineral resources development and management
Antiquities Act 1986Cultural heritage
Antiquities Ordinance 1986Cultural heritage
Policy for management of closed water body (Jalmahal) 1990Water resources management
Water supply and Sewerage AuthorityAmended in 1989
Inland shipping Ordinance 1963Water resources management
Ordinance 1976Water resources management
Embankment and Drainage Act1952Water resources management
Water Hyacinth Act 1939Water resources management
IWTA Ordinance 1958Water resources management
Canals Act 1864Water resources management
Irrigation Act 1876Water resources management
EPC Ordinance 1977Marine pollution

 B. Policy framework:

 The government has adopted a number of policies where environment and development issues have been addressed. Important policy documents in this respect are the Environment Policy (1992), the Forest Policy (1994), the Fisheries Policy (1998), the Water Policy (1998), the New Agriculture Extension Policy (1995), The Energy Policy (1995). Besides these sectoral policies, the National Conservation Strategy (NCS) and especially the National Environment Management Action Plan, 1995 (NEMAP) have been formulated to provide action plans to respond to environmental issues and promote sustainable development. Although these policies are not judicially enforceable according to the Constitution of Bangladesh, they are potentially important in guiding and influencing the activities of the concerned Ministries and other governmental agencies.

 The policies of the Bangladesh Government have been and are developed mostly from a sectoral approach. However, the Water Policy, the Fisheries Policy and Agriculture Policy have cross-sectoral approach and tried to address environmental issues. These policy calls for a precautionary approach to minimize impact from other sectors like industry, transportation, urbanization, flood control etc. Policy documents generally refer to the principles that govern the action directed towards given ends. It provides a basis for plans, prescriptions and framework to maintain the dynamic growth of the sector. However, the Five Year Plans (FYPs) have not appropriately designed to push the policy directives. FYP is expected to be replaced by a fifteen year Participatory Perspective Plan, 1995-2010 (PPP), and a Three year Rolling Development Plan (the documents are yet to be publicly distributed).

 The most recent and important strategy document is the NS-EGPRSD or I-PRSP published in January 2003. The PRSP has given a major thrust on poverty reduction and pro-poor growth. Widespread dependence on environmental resource by majority of the population is emphasized in this strategy paper and it envisaged integrating the environmental conservation issues problems like widespread resource depletion and ecological degradation, arsenic contamination and vulnerability to natural disaster under the overall pro-poor economic growth, especially under the rural growth policy. PRSP will be a major guiding document that will shape government activities in the coming years. Environmental issues, as stated in the PRSP, are most likely to be seen as a cross-cutting issue and integrated into national poverty alleviation strategy.

 NEMAP was developed for a period of 10 years (1995 to 2005) still likely to have influence in shaping policy directives regarding the environmental issues. It provides action plans for environmental development in combination with a set of broad sectoral guidelines which emphasis, inter-alias, the following:

 • Maintenance of the ecological balance and overall progress and development of the country through protection and improvement of the environment;

• Protection of the country against natural disasters;

• Identification and control of all types of activities related to pollution and degradation of environment;

• Undertaking environmentally sound development programs in all sectors;

• Sustainable long-term and environmentally congenial utilization of all natural resources

 The National Environment Policy (NEP), 1992 embraces a number of related different sectors including agriculture, industry, health, energy, water, land, forest, fisheries, marine, transport, housing, population, education and science. The central theme of the Environment Policy of 1992 is to ensure the protection and improvement of the environment. It requires specific action in the development sectors of the country to facilitate long-term sustainable use of all natural resources. It provides for amending the existing laws, formulating new laws and implementing the same. It also assigned the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) with the responsibility of co-coordinating the implementation of the policies and constituting a high level National Environmental Committee (NEC) with the head of the Government as its chairperson, exercising direction, supervision and overseeing the implementation of the policies.

The policy has provided guidelines for following sectors:

 • Agriculture: Environmentally sound agricultural practices are to be encouraged and ensured for attainment of self-sufficiency in food. Among the various specific measures, use of natural fertilizers and insecticides is encouraged as opposed to the application of agro-chemicals and artificial materials exerting adverse impact on the environment.

 • Industry: Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) for new industries, corrective measures for polluting industries, ban on establishment of polluting industries and development of environmentally sound and appropriate technology is required for sustainable and efficient utilization of natural resources.

• Health and Sanitation: Healthy environment for rural and urban area, prevention of activities, which are harmful to public health and healthy workplaces for workers are to be ensured.

 • Energy and Fuel: Reduction of the use of fuel-wood and agricultural residues, exploring alternative energy resources, precautionary measures against potentially harmful use of nuclear energy and nuclear radiation, conservation of forest fuel and development of improved energy saving technology are recommended options for the sector. Apart from these, EIA has been made mandatory before implementing projects for exploration and extraction of fuel and mineral resources.

 • Water: Environmentally sound water resource management is suggested in utilization and development of water resources, construction of irrigation network and embankments, dredging of watercourses and in taking measures against river pollution. EIA is required before undertaking projects related to water resource development and flood control measures. • Land: Activities that cause or result in land erosion, salinity and alkalinity, and loss of soil fertility are prohibited. Compatible land use systems for different ecosystems and environmentally sound management of newly accreted land are recommended.

 • Forest, Wildlife and Bio-diversity: Conservation and expansion of forest zones, conservation of wildlife and biodiversity and conservation of wetlands are recognized as priority areas for action. • Fisheries and Livestock: Conservation of fisheries and livestock, mangrove forest and others ecosystems and prevention of activities that diminish the wetlands and natural habitats for fishes are the basic objectives in this sector. The need for an inter-ministerial co-ordination is indicated by requiring evaluation by the concerned agencies, of the existing projects on water development, flood control and irrigation, in order to minimize their adverse impact on fish growth and their habitat.

 • Food: Hygienic and environmentally sound method of production, preservation, processing and distribution of food and measures to ensure prohibition of import of harmful food items are recommended.

 • Coastal and Marine Environment: Coastal and marine eco-systems are identified as potential areas for intervention, where all internal and external polluting activities should be stopped. Fishing in coastal and marine environment within regeneration limits is recommended.

 • Transport and Communication: Road, rail, air and water transport systems should be operated without polluting the environment. EIA is required before undertaking any projects in these sectors. • Housing and Urbanization: Environmentally sound planning and development of housing and urban centers is required. Existence of water bodies in the cities is recommended for maintaining environmental and ecosystem balance in the urban areas.

 • Population: Planned and proper utilization of manpower including ensuring the participation and mainstreaming of women in all spheres is targeted for environmentally sound development activities.

 • Education and Public Awareness; Eradication of illiteracy through formal and non-formal education, building and raising public awareness of the environmental issues, dissemination of environmental knowledge and information are the policy guideline for conservation, improvement and sustainable use of natural resources.

 • Science, Technology and Research: Research and development institutes are required to consider the incorporation of the environmental issues in their research programs.

 The National Forestry Policy, 1994 is the amended and revised version of national forest policy of 1997 and has been formulated in the light of National Forestry Master Plan. The policy provides scope for bringing about 20% of the country’s land under the afforestation programs of the govt. and private sector by the year 2015 through the coordinated efforts of GO-NGOs and active participation of the people. Natural habitat for bio-diversity particularly for threatened flora and fauna will be conserved as National Parks, Wildlife Sanctuary and Game Reserves. Commitment also made to increase the amount of such protected area by 10% of the reserved forest land by the year 2015. Apart from these, rural area, newly accreted char land in the coastal areas, denuded unclassified state forest area of Chittagong and northern zone including Barind tract have been identified as potential area for afforestation program. Depending on the caring capacity of nature limited ‘Eco-tourism’ facility might be developed as an option of the policy.

Responsibilities and commitments under various ICTPs have also been recognized as important tasks in the policy. Amendments of existing laws, rules and regulations relating to the forestry sector and creation of new laws, rules and regulation of such sector have been recognized as an important factor for achieving goals and objectives of National Forestry Policy, 1994.

 The Fisheries Policy (1998) aims at increasing fish production and creates self-employment to improve the socio-economic condition of the fisherman. It calls for taking control of the wetlands under the Fisheries and Livestock Ministry. It reflected the need to stop the release of untreated effluents from the industries into the water bodies by describing it as a criminal offence. Although this conforms to the relevant provision of the Environment Policy, the Industrial Policy has neither explicitly spelled out the consequences of harmful effluent release into the open water bodies nor provided any guideline for impact assessment in this connection.

 The National Agriculture Policy (1999) aims to ensure, inter alias, sustainable agricultural production, conservation of crop biodiversity, introduction of new technology, increased use of organic manure, integrated pest management system, efficient irrigation system, diversification of crops and establishment of agro-processing and agro-based industries. It also underscores the need for taking into account the relevant provisions of the ICTPs and the regulations of WTO and SAFTA. The policy requires broad based public awareness and participation by ensuring, inter alia, agricultural education and training, women’s participation, co-ordination among the GO-NGOs and private sectors, food-based nutrition plan and reliable database. Although it mentions the need for crop diversification, specific emphasis is put only on rice, wheat and maize. Its omission in addressing the guidelines for non-traditional crops is not being helpful towards preserving the biodiversity of crops of the country. The policy itself recognizes that ‘chemical fertilizers and pesticides used for increased crop production’ may lead to ‘environmental pollution’, but does not explain how increased use of HYV seeds would not involve increased use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides as well and is silent about the need for assessing the impact of the use of agro-chemicals on soil, water bodies, fisheries and overall biodiversity.

The National Water Policy, 1999 was passed to ensure efficient and equitable management of water resource, proper harnessing and development of surface and ground water, availability of water to all concerned and institutional capacity building for water resource management. It has also addressed issues like river basin management, water rights and allocation, public and private investment, water supply and sanitation and water need for agriculture, industry, fisheries, wildlife, navigation, hydropower, recreation, environment, preservation of wetlands etc. People’s participation in water development projects is also recognized as an essential part of project planning process.

 The National Industry Policy, 1999 calls for environmentally sound industrial development along with its other goals of ensuring high rate of investment by the public and private sectors, strong productive sector, direct foreign investment, development of labor intensive industries, introduction of new appropriate technology, women’s participation, development of small and cottage industries, entrepreneurship development, high growth in export and infrastructure development. WTO guidelines are proposed to be followed in the industry policy. Following the guideline may result in conflicts with the intellectual property rights regime. Guideline for mitigating such possible conflicts is absent in the policy document. No specific guideline is given for sustainable extraction and utilization of raw materials for different industries as well.

 The National Energy Policy, 1996 provides for utilization of energy for sustainable economic growth, supply to different zones of the country, development of the indigenous energy sources and environmentally sounds sustainable energy development programs. The policy highlights the importance of protecting the environment by requiring EIA for any new energy development project, introduction of economically viable and environment friendly technology and putting a ban on the use of fuel-wood for brick burning. Disposal of ash and reduction of environmental emission are encouraged in coal-based power plants.

Environmental protection agency: The environmental programs in Bangladesh hardly got off to a start until the mid 80s. Following the UN Stockholm Conference in 1972, environmental programs were initiated for the first time by the Government of Bangladesh with the creation of the Pollution Control Board in 1974, and the Pollution Control Ordinance was enacted in 1977. In 1989 the Ministry of Environment and Forestry was set up along with the Department of Forests and a newly created Department of Environment under it. The former Pollution Control Board was eventually renamed as the Ministry of Environment and Forests. The year 1990 was declared as the Year of Environment and the years 1990-91 declared as the Decade of Environment.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Disaster Management and Relief and the Disaster Management Bureau (DMB) brought out ‘Standing Orders on Disaster’ through updating and thorough review of the disaster situation. The ‘Standing Orders on Disaster’ distributed down to the union level is acting as a guide book for all concerned for coping with and recovering from disasters in effective ways.

There was another dimension in regard to disaster management. The environmental crisis was being felt most severely by the rural poor in Bangladesh where resource exploitation combined with a poor understanding of the environment has led to further environmental stresses, threatening not only economic development but also the survival of the most vulnerable people.

The effort for the formulation of an Environment Conservation Strategy began in 1984 and much progress has been made since then. Further, the National Environmental Management Plan: An Action Plan for Bangladesh (NEMAP, 1991) has been prepared with the objective of addressing vital environmental concerns, taking into consideration the activities that would arrest further degradation. NEMAP, as claimed, is the logical follow-up to the National Environmental Policy and the National Conservation Strategy (NCS), with the objective of providing guidelines for the preparation of various activities necessary for structuring socio-economic development of Bangladesh on a sustained basis.

 C. National institutions And General institutional arrangement

 Formal responsibilities of overall environment sector are vested with the Ministry of

Environment and Forest (MoEF). However, many other institutions, directly and indirectly, are involved in managing or shaping the environment sector. These embrace public sector, private sector and civil society institutions. Major institutions involved in the development and implementation of plans and policies are the Planning Commission, Department of Forest, Department of Environment, Ministry of Agriculture, Ministry of Fisheries and Livestock, Ministry of Water Resources, Ministry of Energy, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Ministry of Education, Ministry of Housing and Public Works etc.

 At the higher level, National Environment Council (NEC) headed by the Prime Minister and Executive Committee of National Environment Council (ECNEC) headed by the Minister for Ministry of Environment and Forest provide guidance to the sectoral Ministries/Agencies on matters of national environmental issues. At the Divisional level, Divisional Environment Committee chaired by the Commissioner with representation from all other government is supposed to deal with environmental issues at the local level. However, these institutional arrangements are yet to be fully functional.

 Each of The Ministry have their own policy and program frameworks which provide a basis for addressing fundamental issues of environmental management and protection in Bangladesh. Institutional capacity of all the concerned ministries for implementing the various action measures identified still remains weak. It was acknowledged in the NEMAP document that neither the fledgling Ministry of Environment and Forest nor its Department of Environment has developed the institutional capacity to substantially tackle problems of environmental management and protection.

 The MoEF bears the responsibility for working with other ministries to ensure that environmental concerns are given due recognition in their development program. The Ministry has an active role to play in policy advice and coordination of the implementation of action plans across all sectors. MoEF is also responsible for reviewing and monitoring the impact of development initiatives on the environment across all sectors. b. Major government institutes in environment sector.

 Table provides the public organizations that have a role in environment sector. While some of major institutions that have direct role in managing natural resources are given in the following sections:

 The Department of Environment (DOE), as the technical arm of the Ministry, is responsible for environmental planning, management, monitoring and enforcement. The mandate of the Department includes: assessment and monitoring of tasks such as on-site surveillance of environmental improvement components of development projects; promoting environmental awareness through public information program; and controlling and monitoring industrial pollution; environmental impact assessment, and in formulating guidelines for line agencies involved in activities affecting air quality, soil and water conservation, afforestation, wildlife, critical habitats, fisheries and other natural resources issues. DoE has the legal authority to declare any ecosystem as Ecologically Critical Area (ECA) and so far 8 ECAs have been declared. However, management issue of declared ECAs has not been resolved. DOE has been unable to consistently respond to its complaints largely due to lack of well positioned field resources. Recently DOE has done an institutional assessment and developed strategic plan to clarify its goals, expected results and propose major initiatives.

The strategic plan has five major priorities:

 • Enforce the Environment Conservation Act and international obligations

 • Administer the clearance process competently and transparently

 • Address major air and water quality management problems

 • Expand public awareness efforts

 • Build DOE’s capacity.

Forest Department (FD) is entrusted with the primary responsibility of managing all the government owned forests of Bangladesh. The Forest Department, following the recent reorganization, has 8,681 positions, headed by a Chief Conservator of Forest (CCF). Under the CCF, it has 4 Deputy Chief Conservator of Forests, 9 Conservator of Forests, 44 Divisional Forest Officers, and other officers and staff of various ranks. The manpower in the FD is far below the actual need. The manpower aspect is further aggravated since many of the positions are lying vacant since long and due to FD’s large scale involvement in participatory forestry activities. The major responsibilities of the FD are:

 • Manage all the government forests to foster a steady supply of the forest produces such as wood, fuel-wood, bamboo and other forest produces towards the demands of the members of the public

• Protect and conserve the protected areas to meet the mandate of conserving the gene pool and biodiversity, including those of the wildlife, for the nation at large

• Enhance the tree cover of the country

• Undertake the social forestry activities towards the awareness raising and encourage the tree planting among the members of the public

• Involve the members of public as participants not only for harvest oriented social forestry, but also in the conservation of protected areas

• Evolve and implement scientifically sound, economically viable and biologically sustainable forestry management programs for the nation at large

• Implement the forestry policy of the nation through acts, rules and regulations

 Water Resources Planning Organization (WARPO) is the major institution involved in water resource management. WARPO was established as the secretariat to the National Water Resources Council (NWRC). NWRC is the water sector apex body chaired by the Prime Minister that has the authority for formulating water policy and ensuring inter-agency coordination. WARPO’ smandate is supported by the National Water Policy, 1999 and National Water Management Plan (NWMP). WARPO is responsible for national water planning; monitoring; formulation of water legislation and regulations; inter-sectoral coordination of water plans and maintaining central data system.

 The Department of Fisheries (DOF) is the primary institute engaged in managing fisheries resources. DOF was created with strong focus on enhancing the production. DOF has been steadily fulfilling its mandate mostly through aquaculture extension. The National Fisheries Policy, 1998 address all aspect of fisheries. Policy statements related to inland fisheries predominantly concern production, culture and enhancement but also emphasizes on the ecological balance and maintenance of biodiversity. DOF is on the process of developing a fisheries development plan to implement National Fisheries Policy.

Table:  Functions of major organizations in environment sector:


Current function

Planning CommissionResponsible for the preparation of development plans and allocating funds to individual Ministries responsible for implementing specific projects. Authorized to supervise and coordinate cross-sectoral and inter-ministerial Activities affecting the use of natural resources and the environment.
Department of Agriculture ExtensionResponsible for extension of new technologies, to farmers at the field level
Department of LivestockWorks for improvement of livestock resources and production.
Bangladesh Water Development Board (BWDB)Project planning and implementation; flood control and watershed management; salinity control; maintaining water channels for transportation; regulating water channels
Local Government Engineering Department (LGED)Planning, designing, and implementing rural infrastructure development projects; Thana /Union drainage and embankment planning, irrigation planning, land and water use planning; small scale water schemes, canal digging programs, town protection schemes
Roads and Highway (RHD)Constricting and maintaining primary and secondary roads
Department of public health Engineering (DPHE) 

Rural and urban water supply and sanitation

Water Supply and Sewerage Authorities (WASA)Construction and upkeep of potable water supply, sewerage and storm drainage in major cities
Bangladesh Inland Water TransportAuthority River conservancy work, including river training for navigation and meteorological information, including river charts; hydraulic survey; programming for dredging and reviving dead or dying water bodies; developing, maintaining, and operating inland river ports; developing rural water transport
National HerbariumSurveys and authenticates locally used genetic resources, taxonomic identification of floral species
Botanical GardenMaintains in-situ floral diversity
ZooMaintains in-situ faunal diversity
Livestock Research InstituteConduct research production of livestock
Barind Multipurpose Development AuthorityResponsible for improvement of the Barind area
Bangladesh Bureau of StatisticsEnvironmental statistical data compilation


 D. Local government institutions:

 Local government institutions like Union Parishad, Upazila Parishad, and Zila Parishad have been vested with a wide range of development functions including planning for the provision of general physical infrastructure such as roads, culverts, bridges, potable water supplies, flood control, and irrigation infrastructure. Local Government Ordinances mandate Union Parishad and Upazila Parishad to coordinate development activity implemented by Govemment and Non-Government Organizations by their territorial and functional jurisdiction.94.The Government has promulgated the Gram Sarkar (village government) Act of 2003. Under this Act, the Gram Sarkar is now recognized as an entity of the Union Parishad. A Gram Sarkar will be formed in each of the nine existing wards of a Union Parishad. Each Gram Sarkar will have 13 members representing various socio- economic groups. It is likely that local government system, once they start functioning properly, will take control of local development projects and provide responsive services at the local level.

 E. International Environmental Agreements:

 Policy regime is also very much influenced by the international policy regimes. i.e., International Convention, Treaties and Protocols (ICTPs) that Bangladesh choose to become signatory. Recently promulgated Environment Policy, National Conservation

Strategy, National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan (underdevelopment) are examples of offshoots that developed under the influence of obligations entailed due to signing of ICTPs.

 Not much significant work has been done so far to implement the obligations with regard to the ICTPs signed. Participation in the negotiations and subsequent adoption and implementation stages are handled mostly on an ad-hoc basis. No attempt is made for maintaining the continuity of documentation. Little attempt is made to develop the right kind of expertise in the concerned agencies (Islam, 1996). Following are some of the important ICTPs signed and ratified by Bangladesh which are likely to initiate changes in the policy or commence new projects/activities towards that.

 Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD): Bangladesh signed CBD at Rio in 1992 and ratified the same in 1994. All signatories were expected to develop their own Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan (BSAP). Bangladesh has just started to develop its own BSAP.

 Framework Convention on Climate Change and the Montreal Protocol on Ozone Depleting Substances- Bangladesh signed the Framework Convention on the Climate Change at the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in June, 1992 and ratified it in 1994. The level of Government of Bangladesh participation in the negotiation through the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee (INC) has been minimal. In terms of institutionalization, a National Steering Committee was formed to oversee the activities under the Climate Convention. The people and the ecosystems of the south, particularly the southern and the coastal areas in Bangladesh are extremely vulnerable to adverse climate change and sea-level rise, threatening the survival of the very poor of this region.

Further, northwestern Bangladesh region is going to be increasingly drought-prone due to climate change.

The Ramsar Convention – In view of the fundamental ecological functions of wetlands as regulators of water regimes and as habitats supporting characteristic fauna, especially waterfowl, the broad objectives of the RAMSAR Convention are to reduce the loss of wetlands and to ensure their conservation (Belbase, 1997). Bangladesh has declared two wetlands- Tanguar Haor and Sundarbans, have been declared as Ramsar sites.Basel Convention on the Control of Tran boundary Movement of Hazardous Wastes and their Disposal- Bangladesh has ratified the Basel Convention and has begun enforcing it since 30thJune 1993 and also attended in the voluntary information exchange of the Amended London guidelines, 1989 (Khan, 1997).Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) – CITES is not a self-executing convention, consequently domestic measures must be in force at national level to provide Parties to the Convention with the authority to:(i)                 Designate at least one Management Authority and one Scientific Authority;

(ii)               Prohibit trade in specimens in violation of the Convention;

(iii)             Penalize such trade; and

(iv)             Confiscate specimens illegally traded or possessed (Ray makers and Vasquez, 1999). The designated Management Committee for the CITES is Forest Department. So far, no significant action could be taken under this convention.


The Planning Division has the following functions:

  • Preparation of national plus-annual, Mid term Development Plan, Three year Rolling Plan and perspective for the economic and social development of the country in accordance with the socio-economic objectives of the Government of Bangladesh.
  • Preparation of annual development programs within the framework of national plan and formulation of policies for the implementation and impact of the economy
  • Periodic review of national development plans, study of its implications and impact on the economy
  • Review on selective basis the operational performance of various sectors of the economy
  • Evaluating plan, performance and watching the progress of plan implementation on a continuous basis in order to prepare evaluation on national plans
  • Study of important economic issues and formulation of economic policies and measures
  • Evaluation of external debts and submission of reports thereon along with evaluation of national plans
  • Undertaking and promoting economic research and initiating surveys and investigations needed to support effective planning and development
  • Advice on the nature of the machinery for securing efficient execution of national plans, annual programs and economic policies
  • Stimulating and where necessary initiating project formulation examining and tendering advice on programs and projects with a view to determining their consistency with the national objectives
  • Reviewing the progress of implementation of approved projects, particularly aided projects, identifying the causes of delays and difficulties in the implementation of projects and proposing solutions thereof
  • Coordination of development activities of various Ministries/ Divisions and their agencies where such activities are inter-related or inter-dependent
  • Coordination of economic policies which have across the economy impact or involve more than one Ministry/ Division
  • To act as the National Focal Point on New and Renewable Sources of Energy as well as perform the coordinating role on all energy related inter-ministerial matters
  • All matters relating to statistics
  • Promotion, improvement, development and coordination of statistics and elimination of duplication efforts in statistical field
  • Assessment of statistical requirement for the country in line with international standards, provide general direction to statistical activities, designating statistics collecting agency and authorizing products
  • Conduct periodic censuses on population, agriculture, live-stock establishment and industries, conduct socio-economic and demographic surveys and collect, compile and publish current official statistics on all economic activities, namely agriculture, manufacture, foreign trade, Government statistics, and others, estimate national and social accounts, compile and analyze those statistics and publish reports thereof
  • Coordinate assistance and advice on methods used by various Ministries/ Division in data collection establish standardization and impartial objectivity in official statistics. Accord clearance to statistics generated/ collected by any Government agency for national and international use
  • Organize and establish data bank and electronic data processing system
  • Administer the Statistics Act and Rules framed there under
  • Provide secretarial services for the national Statistical Council and Standing Committees on National Income Commission
  • Promote research and training in statistics, organize and administer unified statistical services
  • Administration of B.C.S. (Economic) and B.C.S. (Statistics)
  • Secretariat administration including financial matters
  • Administration and control of subordinate offices and organizations under this division
  • Liaison with International Organizations and matters relating to treaties and agreements with other countries and world bodies relating to subjects allotted to this Division
  • Issuance of rules and guidelines for preparation and processing of development projects at national and Upazila levels
  • To act as the National Focal Point on private investment in all sectors as well as playing the coordinating role on all matters relating to private sectors
  • All laws on subjects allotted to this Division
  • Inquiries and statistics on any of the subjects allotted to this Division
  • Fees in respect of the subjects allotted to this Division except fees taken in courts.

 Functions of the Programming Division:

  • Determination of the sizes of the Annual Development Programs (ADP) and sectoral allocations/ proportions.
  • Formulation of ADP and revision of ADP.
  • Preparation of Annual Technical Assistance Programs (ATAP) and revision of ATAP.
  • Recommend release of ADP funds in relevant cases.
  • Oversee ADP implementation/ administration.
  • Determination of external assistance requirements for ADP financing.
  • Preparation of the list of Aid Worthy Projects before Bangladesh Development Forum Meeting.
  • Inter – Ministerial and intra-Planning Commission co-ordination in matters of ADP preparation, revision and appropriation/re-appropriation of funds.
  • Provide secretarial service to the programming committee of Planning Commission.
  • Keeping records of resource use.
  • Preparation and interpretation of the Guidelines for Local Government Development.
  • Oversee formulation and implementation of Local Government Development programs and co-ordination with Finance Division, ERD and Local Government Division in this regard.

 Major Functions of Agriculture, Water Resource & Rural Institution Division

 Major Functions of Crops Wing:

  • Planning for increasing crop production and increased productivity and real income of farming families on a sustainable basis
  • Planning to attain self-sufficiency in food grain production and to increase production of other nutritional corps
  • Taking steps to increase foreign earnings through exports of agricultural products including fruits and vegetables
  • Taking steps to create favorable environment for promoting agro-based industries
  • Taking steps to increase research facilities for producing quality crops to increase production per acre of land

 Major Functions of Food Wing:

  • Making Plan for ensuring self-sufficiency in food grain and food security for all;
  • Making plan for preservation and maintenance of security stock of food grains to meet any natural calamities, shortfalls;
  • Taking steps to stabilize prices of food grains;
  • Taking steps to ensure maintaining food quality

 Major Functions of forest, fisheries and livestock Wing

 A. Forest and Environment:

  • Planning for expanding Forest Resources
  • Taking steps to conserve and protect the eco-system for bio-diversity and maintaining favorable environment for human being
  • Taking steps to encourage private forestation through plantation of rubber, teak, fruit trees and high value trees
  • Taking steps to include people’s participations (NGO, government, Local government bodies) in afforestation programs
  • Plan for making research to produce improved variety of trees and develop new technology and transferring technology through extension works
  • Taking steps to promote multiple Land use plan

 B. Fisheries and Livestock:

  • Making plan and programs to increases Fish and livestock production and improve nutritional level
  • Making plan to generate employment opportunities and alleviate poverty through promotion of Fisheries and livestock production
  • Taking steps to increase foreign earnings through increase export of shrimp, fish, fish products, leather products and reduce imports of powder milk
  • Taking steps to increase research facilities for improving quality of fishes and livestock and increased production through improved technologies
  • Encourage private sector in production, research and marketing of Fish, livestock and processed products.

 Major Functions of Rural Development and Institution Wing:

  • Making plan to create facilities for self-employment, development of small and landless farmers and eradicate rural poverty;
  • Making plan for Rural physical and social Infrastructural development through formation of schools, colleges, training centers, growth centers, construction of bridges, culverts, roads, formation of groups etc.
  • Taking steps to promote resource mobilization through individual/group savings;
  • Taking steps to create favorable environment for micro-credits for rural poor people.

Major Functions of Industry Division:

  • Planning for increase in production of paper and newsprint
  • Identification of comparative advantages in different sectors of the economy
  • Taking steps towards increase of foreign and private investment
  • Taking steps towards strengthening of exports

 Oil, Gas, and Natural Resources Wing:

  • Encouragement of growth of locally produced energy, such as natural gas
  • Satisfaction of local commercial demand through development of gas
  • Establishment of national gas grid
  • Taking steps towards development of mineral resources

 Power Wing:

  • Working towards an objective of producing an additional 3,319 Mega-Watt to meet local demands
  • Allotment of Tk. 8,836,10 crore in Fifth Five-Year Plan
  • Encouragement of private sector investment

 Functions of Physical Infrastructure Division:

  • Preparation of short, medium, long-term plans for sectors under Physical Infrastructure Division, including roads and highways, railway, civil aviation and tourism, post and telecommunication, statistics, water distribution, local and municipal infrastructure development, works and housing
  • Establishment of development for hill tracts · Evaluation and approval of different development projects
  • Preparation of implementation plan for annual development projects
  • Providing secretarial services for ECNEC and inter-Ministerial meetings
  • Undertaking of research studies on issues related to development of physical infrastructure


 A. Arsenic Mitigation and Water Supply Project:

Arsenic Mitigation and Water Supply is a US$ 44.4 million project, jointly financed by World Bank, Swiss Development and Cooperation Agency and GOB. The objective of the Arsenic Mitigation–Water Supply Project is to alleviate arsenic water contamination as a factor in the reduction of arsenic-induced mortality and morbidity.

The on-site mitigation component will include interventions in rural areas and urban areas. Physical interventions in towns will include

(a) Installation of deep tube wells;

(b) Provision of hardware for rainwater harvesting and/or sanitation plants; and

(c) Expansion of distribution systems.

For the rural program, physical works will include installation of shallow and deep tube wells, ponds with filter, hand pumps, treatment and rainwater catchments systems. The second component will support increased understanding of the arsenic problem through monitoring of groundwater quality, and studies on causes and impacts of arsenic release in the groundwater as well as socially and economically sustainable approaches to mitigating arsenic contamination. The institutional strengthening component will support improved data collection, management and dissemination, capacity building in participatory design, appraisal and implementation of grassroots level projects and the definition of strategies for policy and institutional reforms in the water supply sector.

 Water resource management: National Water Management Plan (NWMP) provides the guiding principle for water resource management in Bangladesh. The plan is very comprehensive and includes a detailed investment option in water sector. The Bank assistance in combating environmental problem in water sector should also be guided by the NWMP.

 Sanitation activities: Sanitation activities in the rural areas initiated since 1954 in this part of the world got the kick off only in 1970 when the UNICEF started to provide sanitary pit latrines at a subsidized rate. Only 8.3% and 29.1% of the population are using water sealed and pit latrines (BBS 1999). Such situation is the basic cause of diarrhea, a recognized health hazard for Bangladesh. Any rural development program where government seek ADB assistance may have a component of this as a cross cutting environmental program.

B. Dhaka Urban Transport Project:

This is a US$ 177 million World Bank funded project of the Government of Bangladesh.
The project has two major objectives:

(i)                 To improve urban transport services in an economically and environmentally sustainable manner; and

(ii)               To strengthen the institutional and policy framework and address long-term transport planning issues in Greater Dhaka Metropolitan Area.

 C. Air Quality Management Project:

This learning and innovation loan project of US$ 5 million will address the rapidly worsening air pollution problems in Dhaka and selected cities. The project includes

(a) Air pollution control strategies for the transport sector, particularly cleaner fuels and lubricants for two-stroke engine vehicles;

(b) Air pollution monitoring equipment and training; and

(c) Air pollution inventory and source assessment analysis.

 D. Sustainable Environmental Management Program:

A US $ 26 million UNDP funded program on Sustainable Environment Management
(SEMP) for environmental capacity building.  This is the largest ever environmental grant provided by UNDP globally.

SEMP is a follow-up action program for implementation of the National Environment
Management Action Plan (NEMAP). The program will unite the government and other development agencies in Bangladesh including NGOs and the private sector dealing with major environmental issues under an umbrella national program to address national environment objectives. Activities under SEMP will be undertaken in five main areas for implementation in Bangladesh related to policy and institutions, participatory eco-system, management at grass root-level, community based environment, sanitation, advocacy and awareness, and training and education.

It is expected that the partnership of the private sector, government and other development agencies in the program will help strengthen government efforts in poverty alleviation through adoption of environmental measures leading to sustainable use of resources and management and for sustainable human development.

E. Bangladesh Environmental Management Project:

A CAN$ 12 million CIDA project for environmental capacity building in DoE; Bangladesh’s environment faces increasing pressure as the country attempts to serve an expanding population which is nearing the carrying capacity of its natural resource base. Natural resource degradation is not being addressed effectively and is constraining opportunities for the rural poor. The Department of Environment is the technical arm of the Ministry of Environment and Forests and is responsible for environmental planning, assessment, management, monitoring and enforcement. This CIDA funded project will strengthen the institutional capacity of the Department of Environment to enable it to carry out its legislative powers, mandate and functions. Components of the institutional capacity development project include: Institutional Planning; Policy and Legal Reform; Environmental Management Demonstration Areas; Environmental Initiatives; Environmental Awareness Activities; Resource Information Systems, Human Resource Development and Project Management. Canada has a wealth of environmental management expertise to offer in all of these areas.

Proper urbanization: The urban population is expected to reach 50 million by 2010 and nearly 80 million in 2020. The urban population of Dhaka is expected to reach 14-16 million by 2010 and 15-20 million by 2020. Chittagong will double in size by the year 2010 reaching 9-12 million. These two urban giants will be the dominant cities in the next 25 years, home of almost half of the country’s urban population, or approximately 25-33 million by 2020 (World Bank and BCAS, 1998).

 Urbanization is not intrinsically good or bad, it can have both positive and negative impacts on peoples’ well being and environmental conditions. It is possible to create better opportunities for efficient provision of badly needed services with proper planning and adequate investments. On the other hand, it can increase risks of disease, desperation and social turmoil if new jobs and services become insufficient. For a sustainable urban growth future investments need to be strongly balanced to ensure economic growth as well as quality of life. Keeping the trends of urbanization in mind, the challenges for a sustainable development are:

• Develop institutional capacity for urban management and planning

• Urban employment generation

• Strategy development to tackle urban environmental problem

• Extension of infrastructure and utility services

F. Bangladesh Environment Initiative Fund:

A CAN$ 500,000 CIDA project. The project is a responsive small projects fund that finances small scale environmental projects conceived by Bangladeshi organizations and institutions. Projects can relate to policy development, increasing awareness, small scale action research activities and dissemination of information on the environment. Notable examples are the publication of a newsletter by the Bangladesh Environmental Lawyer’s Association and a report on monitoring and mitigation of arsenic in ground water.

G. Sundarbans Biodiversity Conservation Project:

ADB/GEF US$82.2 million project to protect the Sundarbans. Comprising 6,000 square kilometers in the south-west of the country, the Sundarbans Reserve Forest (SRF) offers regional storm protection, and is a rich area of biodiversity and natural resources. It forms part of the world’s largest contiguous mangrove forest, and is a
globally significant resource which provides habitat for endangered species, including the Bengal tiger. It also offers subsistence to approximately 3.5 million people in the 17 thanas (subdistricts) of the impact zone bordering the SRF. The Project will introduce modern management systems which will involve stakeholders, and take a participatory approach to community development in the impact zone, to achieve long-term sustainable use and conservation of the SRF.


Although the environment sector is the key department of the government operations, a number of problems have been detected while working this sector. These problems along with the recommendations for solving them are stated here:

 a)      Environmental manual prescribed by Bangladesh rule should be upgraded.

b)      Speed up processing of foreign Aid.

c)      Detail Manual should be prepared for accurate laws implement.

d)     Some discretionary power should be given to the local Government management.

e)      Reduce environmental pollution on an emergency basis.

Environmental Plan