The Ganges-Brahmaputra-Meghna (GBM) river systems constitute the second largest hydrologic region in the world. The total drainage area of the GBM region is about 1.75 million sq km — stretching across five countries: Bangladesh, Bhutan, China, India and Nepal. While Bangladesh and India share all the three rivers, China shares the Brahmaputra and the Ganges, Nepal only the Ganges, and Bhutan the Brahmaputra.
The region is rich in natural endowments, but the paradox is that over 600 million people who live in this region are still mired in poverty. The development and utilization of the region’s natural resources have never been sought in an integrated manner by the regional countries due to past differences, legacies of mistrust, and lack of goodwill.
On the basis of research and cross-country dialogues carried out by water, development and other multidisciplinary experts/activists, this book makes a strong plea for an integrated, holistic approach to the development of the region, beginning with water resources. It points out that the abundance of water in the GBM region as a shared resource can serve as the principal agent of development for the millions of people living in the region.
By its analyses and arguments this book seeks to draw attention to the imperative of collaborative efforts on the part of the countries concerned in formulating a framework for the sustainable development of the GBM region.
The book calls on the powers that be across countries to abandon old mindsets and join hands to come to terms with geophysical realities for the sake of the future of one-tenth of humankind. It is destined to be an essential reference book for development planners, environmentalists, hydrologists and students of peace and conflict resolution.
Edited by Q. K. Ahmad, A. K. Biswas, R. Rangachari and M. M. Sainju, 2001, The University Press Limited, Dhaka, 208 pages.