In honour and remembrance of our colleagues

Today, 13th March, in Kathmandu, Nepal, ESPA and the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) opened their Regional Symposium on Ecosystem Services for Poverty Alleviation with a minute’s silence for two colleagues who were lost in yesterday’s tragic plane crash at Kathmandu’s Tribhuvan airport.

The two colleagues worked for the Planning Commission of the Government of Bangladesh. They had been en route from Dhaka to Kathmandu to participate in the Regional Symposium.

Their department, the General Economic Division, has been deeply active in the ESPA Deltas research project, which seeks to understand how society and ecology interact in the vast Ganges-Brahmaputra-Meghna delta. The project studies how different development interventions could end poverty and nurture resilience to climate change among the delta’s poorest people.

The colleagues were on US-Bangla flight 211, which is reported to have missed the runway and caught fire as it crashed on the airport perimeter. They are among dozens who lost their lives in the incident, which is still being investigated by Nepali authorities. They are still to be formally identified.

The decision to proceed with the Symposium was a difficult one, and not lightly taken. However, the 80 participants who had gathered in Kathmandu from around South Asia and the world to talk about ecosystem services for poverty alleviation wanted to honour the memory of the lost colleagues by continuing their work – with a determined and collective spirit.

ESPA’s programme directorate and the Symposium participants have been united in sending their heartfelt condolences to the families affected.

The Symposium draws to a close tomorrow afternoon (14th March), Nepal time, when ESPA and ICIMOD expect to issue a concluding statement.

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