Introducing BELA

BELA was established in 1992 with a group of lawyers with the broad objective of promoting environmental justice and contributing to the development of sound environmental jurisprudence. Environment and natural resources support the lives and livelihood of majority of the people in Bangladesh in numerous invaluable ways. Two thirds of the Gross Domestic Products (GDP) come from agriculture whereas sixty percent of the people have their only protein intake from the rich sweet water fishery of the country. Bangladesh has the largest unbroken coastline of the world and shares with India the largest mangrove forest of the world. The country has an extensive network of about 300 rivers with a flow of 25,000 kilometers. The hill areas of Bangladesh are known for their rich biodiversity and cultural diversity. While Bangladesh could have been globally recognized for its rivers, coastal area, forests, biodiversity and diverse cultures, the country has instead been commonly portrayed as a land of dense population, natural disasters and political unrests. This has been primarily due to faulty development priorities, myopic policy approaches and poor governance that have resulted in the over-exploitation and degradation of resources in complete disregard for the dependence of the vast majority of people on the same. This has been compounded by the abuse of power by vested interest groups with economic and political clout. The rule of law has eroded due to slack or/and absence of implementation of laws which has essentially created a strong culture of impunity in the society. In addition to the governance challenges on the domestic front, the environment of Bangladesh is also faced with external threats. For example, it has long standing problem with India over the sharing of waters of the common rivers. Many of the important rivers in Bangladesh have dried up due to arbitrary withdrawal of waters ...

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