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Bolstering Bangladesh: Curtin researchers help nation on the path to sustainability

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Curtin University Sustainable Policy Institute (CUSP) recently worked with the Government of Bangladesh’s Governance Innovation Unit to help implement the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, as supported by the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

Fifteen fellows from Bangladesh travelled to Australia and participated in a 28-day program in late 2017, followed by a one week of follow up activities in Dhaka, Bangladesh in January 2018.

The fellows were selected from different Bangladeshi ministries and departments to collectively engage with sustainable urbanisation through action research projects, aiming to make Bangladesh cities more sustainable and resilient to climate change and other challenges.

Bangladesh is facing unprecedented challenges in achieving the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UNSDGs) due to rapid but unplanned growth of cities and urban centres. Although facing different challenges and opportunities, it is hoped that the fellows could use Australian examples and case studies relating to improve liveability of Bangladesh cities and make them more sustainable.

The Australia-based activities included presentations on conceptual and technical issues related to sustainability ad SDG 11 target indicators followed by case studies and selected site visits including waste management facilities, urban living labs and eco-villages.

A busy Buriganga River scene
Bangladesh is facing the sustainability challenges that come from rapid, unplanned growth.

Locations visited included places in the Shire of Augusta-Margaret River and the City of Fremantle.

Topics covered by the fellows included waste management and treatment, delivery of health services to slum areas, road safety, more sustainable housing and buildings, secondary education in sustainability, women’s and children’s safety, metro rail ICT services and sustainability indicators.

Overall there were 15 different projects spanning different time frames. Once researching their projects in Australia, the fellows then returned to Bangladesh. The CUSP team arrived in Bangladesh to evaluate the action outcomes in early January.

The action research program of CUSP with the support of the Australian Government, especially the continued engagement of the fellows, was highly praised by all participants and government officials.

The Fellowship program was the result of a $193,460 grant, awarded to Professor Dora Marinova, Director of CUSP and fellow researchers Dr Amzad Hossain, Dr Asif Siddiqui, Dr Atiq Zaman and the PhD candidate Mohammad Solaiman, from the Australia Award Fellowship (AAF) Program.

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