The two-day ‘Ecocity Satellite Conference-2021’ ended on Thursday (September 30) with the call to avoid consumerist planning to protect the environment and climate.
Participants of the conference emphasised giving priority on health and environment in the urban planning, saying that if the priority is given on the issues it will be much easier to prevent the harmful effects of climate disasters. “For this reason, we have to come out of consumerist planning and try to meet the needs of people, considering the environment issue,” they said.
The participants also said that if the walking through reducing dependence on mechanical vehicles, creating environment for cycling, ensuring services in short distance, green space, protection of open public spaces, agriculture, urban agriculture, and recycling in waste management are given priority in the urban planning, these will make urban a livable city. For this, not only the government, but also all professional organisations, non-governmental organisations, civil society and the personal level efforts must play active role.
The two-day conference began on September 29, jointly organised by Bangladesh and Nepal at the invitation of Ecocity Builders. Work for a Better Bangladesh (WBB) Trust, Institute of Wellbeing Bangladesh, Health Bridge Foundation of Canada, Institute of Engineering, Fulchak Campus, Digobikash Institute and Society of Environmental Engineers in Nepal jointly arranged the event on behalf of the two countries with the aim of building a livable city.
The theme of this year’s conference is ‘BiodiverCity: Addressing Environment Disasters through Healthy Cities’.
A total of 50 guest speakers delivered their speeches in 17 sessions of the ‘Ecocity Satellite Conference-2021’, while a total of 37 presentations were placed in the conference.
Padma K Mainali, Joint Secretary of National Reconstruction Authority of Nepal; Nivesh Dugar, Engineer of Institute of Engineers; and Saifuddin Ahmed, Executive Director of WBB Trust, spoke on the concluding session, among others. Debra Efroymson, Regional Director of Healthbridge Foundation of Canada, read out the declaration of the conference, while Naima Akhter, Project Officer of WBB Trust, moderated the concluding ceremony.
In the closing session, the speakers said that change is needed in the urban management in order to build a livable city. “For this reason, we need to build coordination not only at the local or national level, but also at the international level. We need to not only be limited to discussions at the conference but also advocate with the government to implement it by formulating an action plan as per the recommendations received from the conference,” they said.
The speakers further said that if the government doesn’t provide subsidy to the polluting industrial establishments and non-mechanised vehicles and take initiatives for urban agriculture, organic farming, farmers’ market and other initiatives to ensure green jobs, it could be a major solution.
“We are increasing the number of mechanical vehicles and the use of plastics, cutting down trees for housing, destroying hills and mountains, and destroying the sea by dumping garbage in the name of fulfilling our needs. It is impossible to protect the environment and climate without avoiding such activities. We have to abandon consumerist planning in order to protect the environment,” said the speakers.