SEMP (Sustainable Environment Management Programme) a multidimensional follow up to the National Environment Management Action Plan of Bangladesh. The programme is being executed by the Ministry of Environment and Forests of the Government of Bangladesh with the help of 21 sub-implementing agencies. SEMP aims at sustainable environment management, sustainable human development and a breakthrough in the poverty situation affecting poor sections of the society. The SEMP envisages interventions in different sectors of the country's economy in order to bring about an improvement in the country's deteriorating environmental situation and to improve simultaneously the financial base of the poor, particularly of the poor women.

The SEMP consists of five theme areas, namely Policy and Institutions; Participatory Ecosystem Management; Community Based Environmental Sanitation; Awareness and Advocacy; and Training and Education. There are 26 components (projects) under these theme areas. SEMP has been designed to prevent and reverse the trend of environmental degradation as well as to promote sustainable development. SEMP will benefit grass-roots level population in the eco-specific intervention areas. It targets to support community capacities for sustainable management of environmental resources. The programme is aimed at strengthening the capacity of the public sector on policy development in support of enhanced community participation and sustainable management of the country's environment and natural resources.

As a signatory to Agenda 21 at the Earth Summit, Bangladesh has already put high priority to environmental plans and programmes including integration of environment in development planning with a view to achieving a balanced growth. Further, prior to undertaking of any major development programmes, its likely adverse impact on environment is presently being looked into from different perspectives, besides direct interventions aimed at overall improvement of environmental situation and reduction of alarming poverty currently obtaining among the disadvantaged groups in the country. Bangladesh, has, in fact, signed Agenda 21 of the Earth Summit as a basis for attainment of sustainable development through policies initiated and coordinated at the national level. In this regard, SEMP can be considered as an important initiative in the field level. [Mamunul Haque Khan]