Dr. Emadul Islam is the Deputy Director of the Center for Bay of Bengal Studies at the Independent University, Bangladesh. He's also a key supporter of 10 Billion Strong and Bangladesh Hub lead. He recently shared some insight about his work.
Dr. Emadul Islam and colleagues after a recent summit to discuss crital issues in the Bay of Bengal.
Can you tell us about your work at the Center for Bay of Bengal Studies (CBoBS) at the Independent University in Bangladesh?
As the Deputy Director of the Center, I coordinate all of the core activities including research, arranging policy dialogue, seminar, conference, proposal writing, networking with relevant stakeholders etc. Currently I am leading an international research project called “Climate and Ocean Risk Vulnerability Index”. In addition, I am conducting research on renewable energy and climate adaptation issues.
Why is the Bay of Bengal and Bangladesh so important to understand and study as our climate changes?
The Bay of Bengal region historically has served to connect the eastern and western hemispheres of the world with each other, connecting the Indian Ocean with the Pacific. The countries of the Bay of Bengal have a combined population of over 1.7 billion and between them a GDP of $3 trillion, ranking fourth after the United States, China, and the EU in economic terms.
The countries of this vibrant region, through discovering a sense of collective identity and engaging in economic cooperation, can open up vast exciting vistas of meaningful self-development of their peoples through enhancing regional cooperation among all littoral and adjacent states of the Bay of Bengal. The bay is the largest in the world and extends from Indonesia in the southeast area of this vast bay to Sri Lanka in the southwest. The region also includes landlocked entities like Bhutan, Nepal and Northeast India, and adjacent maritime states of Singapore on the east and Maldives on the west of it.
However, dangers to the Bay of Bengal ecosystem are only now beginning to be understood, and prolonged environmental damage from a combination of deleterious global warming-induced climate change and the rising traffic of global commerce could increasingly erode economic and political stability in the region.
What are some ways that your work and center are helping people in Bangladesh and other locations adapt to climate change?
The mission of CBoBS is to better identify and reduce ocean-related hazards, and to strengthen resilience of coastal natural capital, through promoting research, regional cooperation and investing in nature-based solutions for protecting the most vulnerable people and restoring biodiversity, particularly by valuing and safeguarding coastal habitats in the Bay of Bengal region.
We work towards six strategic priorities, including integrated coastal management, the blue economy, nature-based solutions, climate change adaptation, marine plastic pollution, and marine security. Our goal is to ensure a resilient Bay of Bengal for its inhabitants.
In your research and work, have you discovered any promising new models that allow for continued human and economic development, without significant environmental externalities?
Actually, my PhD research proposed a sustainable disaster recovery model and I also have experience applying the newly developed Climate and Coastal Risk Vulnerability Index (CORVI) in the coastal city of Chattogram, Bangladesh.
Emadul received token of appreciation from the State Minister of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, for a keynote address about “Father of the Nation”, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.
What’s the most promising new idea or innovation related to the environment that Bangladesh can offer the world?
We believe that development projects should prioritize environmental issues in design and implementation. Climate-friendly behavioral change and knowledge and attitudes toward the environment are necessary to combat climate risk and vulnerabilities. New awareness programs and environmental education should be included in early school curriculum.
What is your focus and intended impact for the next few years?
I wish to make an impact by adapting a model for recycling, reusing plastic, and general waste disposal. Boosting regional connectivity is also the highest priority to tackle environmental problems in the Bay of Bengal region. I wish to focus on renewable energy, sustainable climate adaptation, and sustainable disaster recovery issues. I also plan to conduct evidence-based research and recommend policy directions for policymakers.