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Govt to prepare integrated action plan on water: Nojibur

By BSS, Dhaka
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The government is likely to formulate an integrated national plan of action on water to materialise the recommendations of the outcome document of the High Level Panel on Water (HLPW) to be published on March 14 next.
"Based on the recommendations of the outcome document of the High Level Panel on Water, an integrated (national) plan of action would be framed on water, which will be suitable for Bangladesh," said PM's Principal Secretary Md Nojibur Rahman.
The Principal Secretary said this at a meeting held at the Prime Minister's Office yesterday before the formal launching of the outcome document on the HLPW.
The tenure of the HLPW will end on March 14, 2018 and after that the UN Secretary General and a high representative of the World Bank President will receive the final outcome document from the heads of state and government.
The outcome document on HLPW will also be shared at the WWF, Brasilia, on March 19 and a Special UN General Assembly on World Water Day on March 22. Besides, the HLPW members are also committed to help implement their own recommendations.
Principal Coordinator on SDG Affairs at the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) Md Abul Kalam Azad moderated the meeting while Senior Secretary of the Ministry of Water Resources Dr Md Zafar Ahmed Khan, former PMO Senior Secretary Suraiya Begum, Local Government Division Secretary Abdul Malek, Acting PMO Secretary Sajjadul Hasan, environmental expert Dr Atiq Rahman and water expert Dr Ainun Nishat, among others, spoke.
Two separate presentations on transformation of MDGs to SDGs and water were made at the meeting.
Abul Kalam Azad informed that Bangladesh has already selected two light house initiatives to deal with water issues.
He said the first one is WASH in schools, which aims to improve WASH blocks at all government primary schools by 2022 and manage WASH in schools involving the young citizens and encourage self-motivated cleanliness through cub scouting and school brigades.
The 2nd one is excavation of ditches and ponds to promote sustainable use of surface water, he said.
Speaking at the meeting, the PM's Principal Secretary said everyone in the country needs to be water-smart right at the moment. "We'll have to take whole of the society approach to help attain the SDGs."
Dr Atiq Rahman said food security, energy security and water security are the three major components or centre points towards attaining the SDGs while there is also a need to bring climate change issues in policy.
He said there is too much water in the rainy season while too little water in the dry season here, stressing the need for bringing a balance through checking misuse of water.
Noting that there is a need to value water, Dr Nishat hailed the government's move to excavate and re-excavate ponds across the country, especially in the southern region, aiming to ensure safe water and thus minimise the risk of arsenic contaminated water.
He, however, warned of using fish feeds in those ponds saying that the use of fish feeds in ponds would deteriorate the quality of water.
Established for a period of two years from April 2016 to March 2018, the two co-chairs of the HLPWa are President of Mauritius Ameenah Gurib-Fakim and President of Mexico Enrique Pena Nieto.
Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina is one of the members of the panel while the other panel members are Prime Minister of Australia Malcolm Turnbull, President of Hungary Janos Ader, Prime Minister of Jordan Hani Al- Mulki, Prime Minister of the Netherlands Mark Rutte, President of Peru Pedro Pablo Kuczynski Godard, President of South Africa Jacob Zuma, President of Senegal Macky Sall, President of Tajikistan Emomali Rahmon, and former Prime Minister of the Republic of Korea Dr Han Seung-soo.

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