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West Bengal and the UK join hands to tackle degradation in the Sundarbans delta

West Bengal and the UK join hands to tackle degradation in the Sundarbans delta

| @indiablooms | 24 Jan 2020, 07:17 am

Kolkata/IBNS: West Bengal government's environment department  together with the British Deputy High Commission Kolkata and the Newcastle University, UK have joined hands as a ‘force for good’ to launch Living Deltas Transdisciplinary Research Hub funded by UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) under the Global Challenge Research Fund (GCRF).

It was announced at an  event on “Sundarbans, Climate Change & ‘Living Deltas Transdisciplinary Research Hub’ in Kolkata recently.

Climate change is a defining issue of our time. Impacts of climate change are threatening vulnerable ecosystems such as the Sundarbans. The West Bengal Government and other organisations are addressing the increasing threats to the Sundarbans delta in India through a range of measures.

"The UK is proud to be working in partnership with India through long-term research and innovation programmes that create new knowledge, new shared opportunities and transform the lives of people globally. The Living Deltas Research Hub will contribute towards efforts to build climate resilience in the Sundarbans through evidence-based research and policy-making," said a release from the British Deputy High Commission said.

The ‘UKRI GCRF Living Deltas Transdisciplinary Research Hub (2019 - 2024)’ covers the Deltas regions of three countries — India, Bangladesh and Vietnam.

This programme is being led by the Newcastle University, UK, working in partnership with collaborators from India, Jadavpur University and Indian Institute of Engineering, Science and Technology (IIEST), Shibpur. One of the key aims of this research initiative is to tackle the problem of delta degradation due to a range of challenges including climate change.

The research hub brings together 22 research organisations from across the world to safeguard delta futures through more resilient communities and sustainable development. Living Deltas is one of the 12 interdisciplinary research hubs funded by the UKRI and GCRF. Working in partnership with researchers, governments, international agencies, NGOs and community groups, these hubs will share knowledge and expertise to develop innovative and sustainable solutions to help make the world safer, healthier and more prosperous.

Rebecca Fairbairn, Director, UK Research & Innovation, India said: “GCRF brings together the best minds from around the world to tackle global challenges, the strength of India’s involvement is testament to the growing strength of the relationship between researchers and innovators in our countries.”

Professor Andy Large, Newcastle University, UK, Director and Principal Investigator of the Living Deltas Hub said: “The urgent need for the Hub is clear, as human impacts increase, the necessity of sustainable development strategies underpinned by locally-rooted knowledge becomes ever greater.”

Nick Low, British Deputy High Commissioner to Kolkata said: “As the United Kingdom prepares to host the crucial UNFCCC COP26 climate change summit in Glasgow at the end of this year, it’s tremendously exciting to see some of the brightest and best minds in West Bengal and the UK come together as a ‘force for good’ to work with the inhabitants of the Sundarbans to safeguard this precious habitat and the livelihoods of those who live there.”

Among others who attended the event are Mr. Prabhat Misra, IAS, Principal Secretary, Department of Environment, Government of West Bengal, Dr. Andy Henderson, University of Newcastle, UK, Deputy Director and Co-Investigator of the Living Deltas Hub, Professor Tuhin Ghosh, School of Oceanographic Studies, Jadavpur University, Co-Investigator, Living Deltas Hub, Professor Souvanic Roy, Indian Institute of Engineering Science and Technology, Shibpur, Co-Investigator, Living Deltas Hub and Dr Amalesh Choudhury, Expert on Coastal Zone Management and members of the media.

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