Introduction: An ecosystem includes all of the living things viz. plants, animals, and microbes in a given area that interact with each other, as well as the non-living environments like weather, earth, sun, soil, climate, atmosphere that surround the living things. The main function of ecosystem is to transfer of energy into living system and conversion of biomass utilizing nutrients from the soil, water and air. This biomass production, transfer and recycling is the overall food system (Ricard, 2014). The productivity of an ecosystem depends on geographical position, landscape, climatic factors and availability of soil and water along with the biotic components. Different ecosystems transform energy into organic matter; the ecosystems are distinguished from one another by their productivity. The greatest production yielded by forests, savannah, steppe and cultivated land. Primary production on land is about twice than the ocean (Table 1) and there is a regular reduction in ecosystem productivity as one moves from the tropics to the polar regions (Astanin and Blagosklonov, 1978).
IUBAT University the host of RCE Greater Dhaka, Bangladesh has been taking various steps according to Global Actions Programme (GAP) to speed up SDGs through sustainable education. Among the five priority action areas of GAP, it includes integrating sustainability practices into education and training (whole-institution approaches), empowering and mobilizing the youths. RCE Greater Dhaka is a pioneer institution, playing a crucial role in disseminating sustainable education to students, youths and community. This requires an exact communication among different components of the organization, i.e., faculty, students, administration and operation.
Environmental volunteering is an emerging field in Education for Sustainable Development (ESD). Beside the traditional field of volunteering it includes different activities related to socio-ecological conservation of a nation. In comparison to the developed countries volunteering activity is relatively low in Bangladesh. RCE (Regional Centre of Expertise) Greater Dhaka is working for orienting the activity and structuring it as an integral part of ESD. The following write up shows regional center’s role in making environmental volunteering in ESD curricula and transforming society through volunteer youth engagement in and outside the nation. The volunteer activity of the centre is especially concentrated within urban educational institutions and rural organic farming (WWOOF) on a global basis. This centre is also involved in carrying out volunteering activities in natural disasters and in community health camping. The later activities are done by its partner organization Red Crescent Youth, Chittagong and by IUBAT Nursing Society. The research centre is playing a crucial role in integrating volunteering activity in the main stream of ESD and playing a dynamic role for the community by overcoming the financial constraints of a developing nation. We have found that the role of environmental volunteering is beyond the price range for overcoming the resource barrier through selfless collective individual effort to reach every scale of society for example education, health, disasters, farming etc. This is also making the centre a global hub for environmental volunteering activism.
Rural upliftment is the major thrust as majority people are living in rural areas of Bangladesh. The RCE Greater Dhaka, through its host organization IUBAT—International University of Business Agriculture and Technology, has taken initiatives to promote sustainable advancement of rural areas by providing opportunity to qualified but financially challenged youths to have access to higher professional education through educational financing. This is done under the concept of Knowledge Based Area Development: A Step Towards Community Self-Reliance (KBAD) which received a Flagship Project recognition in 8th Global RCE Conference in Kenya. This case study presents some outcomes for sustainable rural development. Under KBAD, opportunities have been created for the marginalized and vulnerable youths to attend professional degree and diploma programs at IUBAT with financial assistances in various forms including deferred payment of part of the fees. It has been observed that some of these skilled graduates are providing intellectual leadership to rural communities to create economical and social prosperity on a sustainable basis. Under KBAD, opportunities have been created for the marginalized and vulnerable youths to attend professional degree at IUBAT with financial assistances in various forms including deferred payment of part of the fees.
Pioneer of KBAD program in Bangladesh late Prof. Dr. M Alimullah Miyan, former Chair RCE Greater Dhaka
KBAD coverage in Bangladesh
The 13th International Knowledge Globalization Conference 2018 on the theme- Sustainable Development Goals- Success and Challenges was held on 23-25 February at International University of Business Agriculture and Technology (IUBAT) Campus. The conference was organized by IUBAT, the host of RCE Greater Dhaka, Knowledge Globalization Institute, Suffolk University, Boston, USA. The conference was also co-sponsored by UNESCO and Mrs. Sun Lei, Education Programme Specialist spoke on Global Citizenship Education.
In the Inauguration Ceremony on the 23rd February, Honorable Minister of Social Welfare, Government of the People's Republic of Bangladesh, Mr. Rashed Khan Menon, MP ornamented the occasion as the Chief Guest. Dr Jonathan Haughton, Professor, Department of Economics, Suffolk University, USA and Dr John Richards, Professor, School of Public Policy, Simon Fraser University, Canada were the keynote speakers. The inaugural session was presided by Professor Dr Abdur Rab, Vice-Chancellor, IUBAT.
The theme of the conference was to assess the progress of SDGs. More than 300 researchers, experts, teachers, policymakers from home and abroad participated in the conference.
A roundtable discussion on “Higher Education for Sustainable Development for Bangladesh” was organized with the participation of Vice-Chancellors of different private universities, where Professor MA Rahman, Coordinator of RCE Greater Dhaka highlighted the ESD activities of the centre and invited all the universities to join into RCE Network. Professor Selina Nargis, Professor MA Rahman, Dr. MR Dastagir, Dr. Arif Reza from RCE Greater Dhaka presented six papers on highlighting ESD, gender equity, climate action, life on land and sustainable landscape management.
The conference was dedicated to the memory of Professor Dr M Alimullah Miyan- the Pioneer of Private University in Bangladesh.
13th International Knowledge Globalization Conference 2018
RCE Greater Dhaka facilitates collaboration to research, develop and promote Education for Sustainability and Global Citizenship, so that is central to the emergence of a sustainable Bangladesh. The vision of the RCE Greater Dhaka is to tackle the problems identified in the key ESD challenges in the region and contribute to the promotion of Education for Sustainable Development both locally, regionally and globally. The RCE’s ultimate vision is to engage all Bangladeshis in lifelong learning and effective change of sustainable ways of well-being, living, working and acting. It is envisioned that the RCE Greater Dhaka will serve as an example of good practice to other regions facing similar sustainability challenges and issues and contribute to the goals set by the UN Decade of Education for Sustainable Development. The major partners are:
Some ongoing activities of RCE Greater Dhaka are:
Held Environment Olympiad 2012 on 30th June with the aim to strengthen comprehensive steps expressing serious concern over deteriorating environmental hazard viewed, agriculture-based and densely populated developing country like Bangladesh, is in need of comprehensive steps for environmental protection and to establish green culture in the society. The Olympiad, first of its kind in Bangladesh voiced new determination and pledged to combat the worse effect of climate change by way of protecting environment. The Olympiad expressed serious concern to see how Earth’s life support systems are destroyed due to green house effects accompanied with excessive carbon emission by industrial establishments across the world. It laid down strong support to integrate activities with global community and strengthen collaborative effort in line with the spirit of United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development: Rio+20 Summit. With participation of over 700 students of different Public and Private Universities, Colleges and Schools in Dhaka including large number of environmentalists, academics, intellectuals, researchers, members of civil society, representatives of NGO’s and important members of the society, green activists and members of environment clubs participated in the Olympiad.
Mr. Shafiqul Islam, a student of IUBAT became the Champion in the Environmental Olympiad 2012. The proud members of the RCE Greater Dhaka are seen with Prof. Dr. M Alimullah Miyan, Vice Chancellor of IUBAT and Chairperson of RCE Greater Dhaka.
RCE Greater Dhaka partners: Red Crescent Youth, Chittagong, associated with the students of 40 colleges actively participated in the rescue and rehabilitation operations during and after the weeklong coastal flooding and land-sliding due to heavy downpour during 25th June to 2nd July in Chittagong and Cox’s bazaar coast. They rescued thousands of people from the disaster area and distributed food and water. Due to their active support the death casualty was 119 which could be much higher.
RCE Greater Dhaka Red Crescent Youth, Chittagong activists are in Flood and Land-sliding in Chittagong coast
Community Service for ESD a special course has been introduced in the RCE Partner Institutions, for creating environmental awareness in the local communities. Students have been trained properly to community waste management, cleanliness, rain water harvesting, protection of wet-bodies, Permaculture and rooftop gardening and urban forest management of Dhaka Megacity.
RCE Greater Dhaka has started Ecotourism Program with undergraduate students of different disciplines; observed an Eco-Day on March 9, 2012 in Gazipur National Park, Dhaka. It was an interactive engagement of students where they were in a constant process of generating Eco-ideas and getting familiar with it. On that occasion, they were given different projects such as Ecosystem, Eco-Tourism, Eco-Hotel, Eco-Park, Eco-Industry, Eco-Photography, Eco-Trekking and finally an Eco-Event aiming to promote idea of clean traveling with the care of nature and respecting traditional cultures and values.
Tourism at Gazipur National Park normally make dirty with food packages etc.
Ecotourism at Gazipur National Park
In- house “Sack Plant Cropping Culture” at the IUBAT campus has been introduced the practice will culminate amongst city-dwellers, as well as in rural areas. Since this growing process does not involve land or bigger space it is especially helpful for marginal or landless farmers in the country. This unique agricultural cropping adopted by large number of people living especially in urban areas will strengthen “Green culture” in society at large to assist food and nutrient security and to improve the living standard towards for a Green Economy in the context of sustainable development and poverty alleviation, one of the themes of the recent UN Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20)
Professor M Alimullah Miyan, Chairperson and Dr MA Rahman, Executive Director of RCE Greater Dhaka are planting Summer tomato in the sacs
CGEC of IUBAT has been working on “Global Environment Change and Sustainable Development, Needs for the LDCs” a project with the International Geosphere Biosphere Programme (IGBP) and Asia Pacific Network (APN). An international workshop will be held next month on the issues of disasters, coastal and marine zone management.
RCE Greater Dhaka Partner the Environmental Engineering, Shahjalal University of Science and Technology, Sylhet has been working as Focal Point and Coordinator of the E-Learning Centre under CDMP Sub-linkage Project for the Ministry of Food and Disaster Management of the Bangladesh Government, and facilitating the disaster management program in the RCE region. They are also coordinating the Southeast Asia Educational Network for Disaster and Environmental Engineering (SANDEE).
With an approach to extend the activity of RCE Greater Dhaka, Professor Alimullah Miyan, Chairperson participated in the Fourth Session of the Joint WMO-IOC Technical Commission for Oceanography and Marine Meteorology (JCOMM-4) at Yeosu, Republic of Korea, on May 23-29, 2012. He presented a paper on Coastal Zone Management of Bangladesh where he highlighted the importance of sustainable management of the coastal zone to reduce rural urban migration and population influx in the cities and associated problems like pollution, transportation, waste disposal and water crisis etc.
Professor A Miyan, Chairperson is in JCOMM-4 at Yeosu, Republic of Korea
Sustainability Education Initiatives in IUBAT
Cleaning Campaign, Youth Forum
Youth Conference 2015
School Outreach for Environmental Education
Ministry of Science and Technology funding for Introducing Sack plant in low lying areas for Climate change adaptation
Meeting with UNV( United Nations Volunteers) and RCE Greater Dhaka Youth Forum on March 2017
IUBAT University in collaboration with RCE Greater Western Sydney presented by Mr. Rafiqul Huq, Greening Australia 22,June 2017
RCE Greater Dhaka Annual Meeting October 24, 2016 with its stakeholders UNESCO and others
13th International Knowledge Globalization Conference on Sustainable Development Goals held in IUBAT on February 23-25, 2018
RCE Greater Dhaka representation in 8th RCE meeting in Cebu, Philippines, 5-8th March, 2015
National Environmental Fair Prize in 2014 Theme: (Traditional Knowledge)