Annual Meeting 2016 of RCE Greater Dhaka Connects Community Activities to the SDGs

On 24 October 2016, RCE Greater Dhaka held their Annual Meeting under the theme ‘Initiatives to promote the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)’ at the International University of Business Agriculture and Technology (IUBAT), Dhaka, Bangladesh. 24 October was UN Day, the anniversary of the launch of the UN Charter.

Among the participants were Sun Lei, Education Specialist at UNESCO, as Honorary Guest, as well as advisors of the Youth Forum of RCE Greater Dhaka and several other RCE stakeholders, students and faculty of the university. RCE Greater Dhaka introduced their activities and highlighted potential collaborations between the RCE and UNESCO, especially related to Goal 4 (Quality Education) and Goal 13 (Climate Change). UNESCO particularly acknowledged the RCE’s effort in waste management and their Youth initiatives.

Being the only RCE in Bangladesh, RCE Greater Dhaka, together with IUBAT, has taken the ESD idea beyond campus. Although the university provides mandatory ESD lessons for all undergraduates, and there is an established Green Campus policy, the RCE hopes to build a sustainable community beyond that. RCE Greater Dhaka is a member of World Wide Opportunity on Organic Farms (WWOOF), a movement linking volunteers with organic farmers, to promote cultural and educational experiences, based on trust and non-monetary exchange, and it is also engaged in several Traditional Knowledge and Youth mobilization initiatives.

Different RCE partner organizations, for example ’Change’ spoke about their community initiatives, such as educating poor students and several planting projects in the city. ‘Green Savers’ another eco-friendly organization explained how they mobilize people and businesses to increase green areas in the city, they have established an oxygen bank programme in schools and have developed several green apps. The Knowledge Based Area Development Programme (KBAD) by IUBAT provides repayable loans to students enabling them to break out of the poverty trap, leading to more community self-reliance.

Professor Ataur Rahman, Director at the Centre for Global Environmental Culture (CGEC) and responsible for ESD at IUBAT discussed the role of traditional knowledge in disaster management. “Having the crucial knowledge of sustainability may save the country from natural disasters and help Bangladesh become more self-resilient,” he said.

The meeting closed with a drama showing the day to day actions that end up polluting the environment and a pledge to all to be more sustainable.

Photos are available on facebook.