October 18, 2016

350.org reacts to UNESCO’s recommendations to the government of Bangladesh in relation to the projected Rampal Power Plant


UNESCO recommends cancelling and relocating Rampal, and halting development of the Orion power plant.

As UNESCO made public the report recommending “the Rampal power plant project is cancelled and relocated to a more suitable location where it would not impact negatively on the Sundarbans”, Payal Parekh, 350.org Programme Director, issued the following statement:

“UNESCO is making an important statement on behalf of the community resisting the building of the Rampal plant. However, the struggle is not over yet. The Sundarbans need to be added to the list of World Heritage Sites in Danger, and the government of Bangladesh must definitively drop the plans for Rampal or any other coal-powered plants, which threaten the rich biodiversity and the health of 4 million people living in and nearby the Sundarbans. Solar panels already provide affordable, reliable energy to 18 million people in the country, and other renewable energy options like wind power can be harnessed instead of condemning the Bangladeshi people to the toxic impacts from the 4.7 million tonnes of coal Rampal is set to burn every year.”

According to the UNESCO report, the Sundarbans “continue to demonstrate the values for which it was inscribed on the World Heritage List. The property is iconic as part of the world’s largest mangrove system and home to the Royal Bengal Tiger among other species.” The report goes beyond Rampal to recommend halting all development of the site of the Orion Power Plant in Khulna.  

Last July, a group of international organizations delivered a petition signed by 50,000 people to the UNESCO headquarters in Paris, demanding the Sundarbans to be added to the list of World Heritage Sites in Danger.

Three French banks and two Norwegian pension funds withdrew their investments from this project in the past. Science has proved that there is no room for new coal infrastructure if the world’s governments are serious about keeping the planet’s temperature under 1.5º warming, as stated in the Paris Agreement which Bangladesh ratified last September and India did early October.

Contact: Jenny Zapata Lopez,  [email protected], +521 614 4277692.