Thursday, November 7, 2013

Special conference on Environment Movement and Organization5

Cooperation with labor movement in improving work-environment

Protection of work-environment falls within the purview of the environment movement. The tanneries not only pollute the environment, but also cause serious damage to the health of the workers. The recent tragedies in the garments sector enterprises (Rana Plaza, Tazreen Fashions, etc.) have brought to fore the serious problem of work-environment. An important issue for discussion of the conference will be how environment movement and the labor movement can cooperate for improvement of work-environments, prevention of tragedies, and for protection of environment. 

Relationship with educational establishments, teachers, scholars, and intellectual community

An important goal of BAPA and BEN is to connect environment related knowledge, expertise, and research with ground level environmental activism and movement, because BAPA and BEN believe that “practice without theory is blind, and theory without practice is barren.” That is why, BAPA and BEN, from the very beginning, have been keen on establishing close relationship with the country’s universities, colleges, teachers, researchers, and the intellectual community. By holding regular conferences and publishing volumes containing the scientific papers presented in them, BAPA and BEN have built up a commendable stock of knowledge on almost all major environmental problems of Bangladesh. The conference will assess the success and failure of this line of BAPA-BEN activity and will invite representatives of the scholar and intellectual community to participate in this assessment. 

Expansion of the environment movement among students and the youth
Students and the young have a particular stake in environmental issues, because they will have to suffer the consequences of environmental degradation much longer than the current older generation. BAPA and BEN are therefore trying from the very beginning to draw the youth and students to the environment movement. The environment Olympiads organized recently in several universities of Bangladesh are an example of this effort. The conference will assess how successful BAPA and BEN have been in involving the youth in the environment movement and will invite representatives of the youth and student organizations to participate in this assessment. Going beyond the student and youth organizations known from before, the conference will invite representatives of the young generation active in the use of internet based social media, including the community of bloggers.

Research on BAPA, BEN, and the environment movement

Not many developing countries have succeeded in developing nation-wide, organized environment movement as Bangladesh has done. Not many countries have yet been able to impose ban on the use of plastic bags. These are successes that Bangladesh can be proud of and project in the international arena. The people of Bangladesh and in particular the environmental activists of the country can feel inspired by these achievements. Because of these achievements and because Bangladesh is the frontline country from the viewpoint of climate change, the environment movement of Bangladesh and BAPA and BEN’s role in it have drawn attention of many scholars and researchers. Many of them have been intrigued by the unique principles that BAPA and BEN have been following. The conference will discuss the research on BAPA, BEN, and Bangladesh environment movement and will invite relevant scholars to present their findings and offer their suggestions. 

Role of the environment movement in the coming elections

The tenure of the current, Ninth Parliament is expiring on January 24, 2014, and as per the Constitution of the country, election of the next, Tenth Parliament needs to be held within 90 days before that date. Accordingly, many are projecting that the election will be held in the third week of January. In case for some reason the Parliament is dissolved before its expiry date then the election will have to be held within three months from the day of dissolution. The government and the Opposition have not yet come to an agreement about the modalities of the election and therefore many uncertainties remain, and the country’s political situation can get heated in the coming days.

BAPA and BEN want a proper election to be held, and the issue of environment to get due attention in it. The environment and climate challenge is the biggest challenge facing the country, and hence the national attention has to be focused on this challenge.

The conference will use its forum and its preparatory activities to project environment issues and the environment movement’s views, demands, and recommendations with regard to these issues into the election campaign. The conference and its preparatory activities will make effective use of the Dhaka Declaration 2010, which, in a sense, can serve as BAPA-BEN’s manifesto for the election. The conference will also discuss how to make effective use the upcoming and future elections for protection of Bangladesh environment.

Other issues

In addition to the above, the conference will also discuss other issues, and all are invited to make constructive and thoughtful suggestions about inclusion of items in the agenda of the conference.
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