The No.11 point of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) makes it incumbent that necessary initiatives should be taken and challenges must be overcome for ensuring sustainable cities and communities by 2,030. Basically, the 11th SDG goal has indicated that in the years to come people around the world will start living more in cities and towns than in rural areas. Today about 55 per cent of the total population of the globe is living in urban areas. Last year, the United Nations predicted that 68 per cent people of the world will be living in urban areas by the year 2,050. The countries of Asia and Africa will witness that the majority of their people make towns and cities their homes. The countries of America and Europe have already experienced this episode from the past century.
No country will have the opportunity to avoid this inevitable urbanisation in the coming years. But many countries in the world including Bangladesh will face some of the major challenges to ensure sustainability of urbanisation. The country will need to ensure some of the basic requirements for the residents of towns and cities. These requirements are safe food and water, enough and healthy accommodation, modern health facilities, convenient transportation system, education, recreation and finally sound employment opportunity. There is a very close relation between urbanisation and employment opportunity as people come to cities in search of livelihood options. Every day, thousands of people are coming to Dhaka city and its surroundings to explore employment opportunities. It is also a general tendency among people to look for works in areas known for industrialisation. And no cities on the globe can sustain without having proper industrialisation that provides for their residents in very many ways. But unplanned industries can bring to nought all the achievements of an urban area and cause grievous harm to the process of achieving sustainable resilient capacity of its residents.
Bangladesh must focus on industrialisation and take pragmatic initiatives and measures for generating sound employment. For industrialisation, foreign investment is a must. But, every initiative should be undertaken, keeping an eye on environmental suitability and in the context of urban resilience. So far environmental degradation on account of industries has remained a headache. Most of the industries were established in an unplanned way at the peripheries of Dhaka and the industries in most cases did not fulfil the minimum requirement for sound environment. The surrounding areas of industries were polluted and safe water sources and rivers were badly affected. These losses appeared as a barrier to achieving resilience of the respective industrial areas in the future.
Selection of suitable places and proper planning are essential for ensuring urban resilience while initiating industrialisation in any part of the country. So, the government should ensure application of stern rules to avoid negative impacts on environment, ecology and water sources for planned industrialisation aimed at achieving urban resilience in the country. Urbanisation is very crucial for economic growth of any country. Industrialisation is a contemporary demand for urbanisation in countries like Bangladesh. Industrialisation creates employment opportunity without which people's income cannot be ensured. Without industrialisation, urbanisation cannot be sustainable and sustainability demands a well-devised plan -one that respects the environment.
Md. Ashik Sarder is a development practitioner and researcher firstname.lastname@example.org
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