Twenty-five action points to support sustainable development in the Chittagong Hill Tracts have been incorporated into the 7th Five Year Plan of Bangladesh, said Mr Naba Bikram Kishore Tripura, Secretary of the Ministry of Chittagong Hill Tracts Affairs of Bangladesh, speaking at the launch of a report titled “A Strategic Framework for Sustainable Development in the Chittagong Hill Tracts of Bangladesh” on 28 October 2015 in Kathmandu, Nepal.

Report on "A Strategic Framework for Sustainable Development in the Chittagong Hill Tracts of Bangladesh" is launched by Naba Bikram Kishore Tripura, Secretary at the Ministry of Chittagong Hill Tracts Affairs of Bangladesh and Member of the ICIMOD Board of Governors.The action points were developed based on recommendations developed during a consultation organized by the Ministry of Chittagong Hill Tracts Affairs with the Bangladesh Planning Commission and the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) in Dhaka, Bangladesh on 11 May 2015. The framework and perspective suggested in this report formed the basis for multi-stakeholder consultation and the development of recommendations. Mr Tripura thanked ICIMOD for preparing this framework and sought ICIMOD’s contribution to implementing this framework as well as preparing a long-term perspective plan for the Chittagong Hill Tracts.

“The Ministry of Chittagong Hill Tracts Affairs was created to oversee the welfare of hill people and has helped establish peace and stability in the region after the signing of the Peace Accord”, said Mr Tripura. “This framework outlines the steps needed to seize new development opportunities in the Chittagong Hill Tracts, while also making its ecosystems and communities more resilient to changing socioeconomic and climatic conditions.”

“This report suggests a perspective and framework to better understand and address the particular development challenges faced by the people of the Chittagong Hill Tracts”, said Dr Golam Rasul, Livelihoods Theme Leader at ICIMOD and author of the report. “Key stakeholders, like the Planning Commission and Prime Minister’s Office, were engaged during the development of the report with guidance from Mr Tripura, as they will play an important role in taking the framework forward,” he added.

Dr Rasul echoed remarks from Dr Eklabya Sharma, Director of Programme Operations at ICIMOD, that mountain-specific policies are needed to support sustainable development in the Chittagong Hill Tracts and other parts in the HKH region. Dr Rasul noted that this strategic framework will also help policy makers and planners design and implement sustainable development approaches for the hill and mountain areas of other HKH countries, as well.

Dr David Molden, Director General of ICIMOD, appreciated the joint collaboration between ICIMOD, the Ministry of Chittagong Hill Tracts Affairs, and the Bangladesh Planning Commission, which resulted in the uptake of the framework into the 7th Five Year Plan of Bangladesh. He recognized the active engagement of different stakeholders during the Consultation meeting in Dhaka, and expressed sincere thanks to Mr Tripura and Prof. Shamsul Alam, Member of the Planning Commission, for their leadership in taking this framework forward.

The report was launched during the Himalayan University Consortium Summit, which was attended by more than 40 participants, including members of the ICIMOD Board of Governors, representatives from universities both within and outside the Hindu Kush Himalayan region, and journalists.