Speakers at a workshop have put emphasis on the importance of the regular developing of environmental statistics of the highest possible quality.
They made such observations at the opening session of the workshop on “Environmental Statistics and GIS Integration for Natural Resource (Capital) Accounts to Measure Green Growth in Bangladesh” jointly organized by the Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics (BBS) and the World Bank. The three-day workshop took place on September 16-19, 2022.
The workshop explores a range of evolving technologies for collecting more and improved environmental data to support natural resource (capital) accounting and nature-smart policymaking for green growth in Bangladesh.
Dr. Shahnaz Arefin, Secretary, Statistics and Informatics Division, Ministry of Planning attended the workshop as the Chief Guest, said a press release today.
Speaking on the occasion, Shahnaz said, “We need Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) attainment, but the SDGs require an equal emphasis on environmental protection and economic development.
Environmental degradation is a burning issue, but the severity and impact is not yet well measured. “Where we are today is a comparison from yesterday, and we need accurate data to give us a better understanding of where we will be tomorrow, especially in the context of climate change and environmental degradation. So having robust environmental statistics is very important. As this work is multidisciplinary and multifaceted, we call for a convergence of different organizations and agencies’ workflows.”
The government stakeholders emphasized the fact that the environment and development nexus is very strong and interrelated, thus environmental statistics would become mandatory and urgent for understanding and monitoring the progress of green growth, the SDGs, the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction (SFDRR) and the 8th Five Year Plan.
Md. Rafiqul Islam, Project Director of the Strengthening Environment, Climate Change and Disaster Statistics (ECDS) Project, BBS said, “The workshop creates an opportunity for Bangladesh to advance its implementation of the ‘Bangladesh Environmental Statistics Framework (BESF) 2016-2030’. Now we have to plan how BBS can successfully institutionalize and operationalize natural resource (capital) accounting for measuring green growth indicators of Bangladesh in partnership with ministries, divisions, departments and organizations.”
The workshop delves into the institutional data infrastructure needed to support the measurement and implementation of green growth; in particular, to contribute to the target monitoring of GoB’s 8th FYP which will incorporate criteria to prioritize and monitor green growth interventions and embed green, resilient and inclusive development (GRID) principles in budget planning.
“A country can work on economic growth, but unless it also works to mitigate the impacts of environmental degradation, it will take two steps forward and three steps backward. Investments need to be green, resilient and inclusive. Green growth for Bangladesh includes the sustainable use of natural resources and low emissions policies. The challenge is to approach green growth through market-based solutions. And sound data is needed to devise these solutions,” said Eun Joo Allison Yi, Senior Environmental Specialist, World Bank Group.
Dr. Ahsan H. Mansur, Executive Director, Bangladesh Policy Research Institute (PRI) said, “Unless there is a strong economic rationale behind actions, people are unlikely to change. Green growth is no different – we need to understand its economic imperative and make strides.”
The workshop covers several technical discussions on how geographic information system (GIS), remote sensing (RS), and earth observation (EO) data can help prepare inventory and accounts of forest, haor/wetland, water, agriculture and fisheries resources to improve the physical condition of these resources as well understand the value of their ecosystem services.
A wide range of ministries, government departments, research institutes, and stakeholders that are key for environment data production and application joined the workshop, including the Ministry of Planning Statistics and Informatics Division (SID), Planning Commission, Ministry of Forests, Environment and Climate Change (MoEFCC), Ministry of Water Resources, Ministry of Livestock and Fisheries, Ministry of Agriculture, Department of Forest (BFD), Department of Environment (DOE), Soil Research Development Institute (SRDI), Bangladesh Water Development Board (BWDB), Bangladesh Agricultural development Corporation (BADC), specialist agency Center for Environmental and Geographic Information Services (CEGIS), Bangladesh Centre for Advanced Studies (BCAS), Bangladesh Policy Research Institute (PRI), Unnayan Shamannay, among others.
The findings of the workshop will contribute to developing applications for environmental statistics and natural capital accounting in Bangladesh.