Amid rapid urban population growth in the country, it will be very difficult for Bangladesh to make its cities sustainable by 2030 in line with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) unless there is an inclusive urbanization policy and strong political commitment, said urban experts.
They said Bangladesh needs to go for rapid decentralization, reducing internal migration with a special focus on the growth of all the cities and towns with socioeconomic opportunities to attain the 11th goal of the global agenda.
Besides, the experts said, coordination among different government bodies and strong city governance are also vital to ensure the better use and management of the country’s urban spaces.
They also suggested taking steps to reduce the overburdened urban population from mega city Dhaka through planned decentralization and developing its adjacent towns with civic amenities and job opportunities.
Contacted, urban expert and former chairman of the University Grants Commission (UGC) Prof Nazrul Islam said attaining the goal of sustainable cities will be very difficult for Bangladesh as its most cities and towns have developed in an unplanned way.
“We must carry out all the city development activities under well-thought-out plans with a strong commitment to make our cities and towns livable and sustainable,” he observed.
Nazrul Islam said the country’s urban population is growing fast due to huge migration to urban areas from villages. “The government must focus on rural development to check the growing migration to cities, mainly to Dhaka and Chittagong.”
The urban expert suggested developing divisional cities, district and upazila towns with enhancing economic opportunities and incentives.
He said the government’s plan to set up 100 special economic zones at different parts of the country will be very effective to reduce internal migration as it will create jobs for thousands of workers in those areas.
“The government will have to give incentives for district and upazila towns with economic and social investment plans like setting up batter educational institutions, including colleges and universities, good hospitals and better healthcare service,” Prof Nazrul Islam said.
He said a special focus needs to be given on Dhaka as it is an unplanned city with a population of 17 million.
According to the UN projection, he said, its population may shoot up to 23-25 million by 2030.
Source: Daily Sun, Dhaka, Bangladesh