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Climate Change Threatens Sundarbans and World Heritage Sites

sts intersect the site.

Famous for its beauty, it is home to at least 260 bird species, Indian otters, spotted deer, wild boar, fiddler crabs, mud crabs, three marine lizard species and five marine turtle species. They also host threatened species such as the estuarine crocodile, Indian python and the iconic Bengal tiger.

For these reasons, the Sundarbans National Park in India and the Bangladesh part of the Sundarbans were inscribed on the World Heritage list in 1987 and 1997 respectively.

Underlining that climate change will constitute one of the major challenges of the 21st century, UNESCODirector General Ko?chiro Matsuura in the report has called for "an integrated approach to issues of environmental preservation and sustainable development".

The publication stressed that these mangroves have been acting as protective buffers against tropical cyclones that are common in the Bengal basin. About 10 percent of the world's tropical cyclones occur in this area of Bay of Bengal, and 17 percent of them sweep the land in Bangladesh.

"No matter whether the frequency or intensity of cyclones change in the future due to climatic disturbances, exposure of the region to the devastating effects of storms will increase if the mangroves cannot be conserved successfully," the report said.

In the Sundarbans' case study it was mentioned that a project of the UN Development Programme (UNDP) has evaluated the cost of building 2,200 km of protective storm and flood embankments which would supposedly provide the same level of protection as the Sundarbans mangroves.

The capital investment was estimated at about $294 million with a yearly maintenance budget of $6 million - much more than the amount currently spent on the conservation of the mangrove forests in the area.

The UN body has said that though the sea level rise cannot be entirely prevented, conservation of remaining mangrove forests
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