National Operator of FEE

To enhance eco-friendly tourism, the world’s largest environmental education organization’s ‘Green Key’ programme is now in Bangladesh

On 8th August 2023, Probha Aurora, the social enterprise and the sole national operator of FEE in Bangladesh, has launched Green Key Programme Bangladesh.  ‘Green Key’ programme –  one of the five programmes of Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE)- the world’s largest environmental education organization recognized by UNESCO and UNEP.

Mr. Saber Hossain Chowdhury, MP; Special Envoy to Hon. Prime Minister for Environment & Climate Change; Chairman, Parliamentary Standing Committee on Ministry of Environment, Forest & Climate Change(MoEFCC); Honorary President, Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) attended the inaugural session held at ‘Shailaprapat’ of Agargaon Tourism Building as the Chief Guest. He also announced the auspicious opening of the website of the Green Key Program Bangladesh ( In his speech, he said, In the past, we used to work for two areas- development or protecting our environment. Actually, We don’t talk about development in isolation but we talk about sustainability also. Bangladesh has been a global leader when it comes to adaptation to climate change. And, Green Key is the 1st of many steps that we must take now towards eco-tourism.

The programme started with the National Anthem performed by a team of artists. Then the theme song was played and sung by an artist Sharnomoye Mandal and the music composed by an artist Dibbomoy Desh. The theme song calls and pledges to develop eco-friendly tourism, sustainable business practices and take the tourism sector of Bangladesh to the world level of eco-friendly standards.

The event was presided over by the renowned Agricultural Economist and Emeritus Professor M. A Sattar Mandal. Many distinguished national and international delegates and special guests were present and spoke on the occasion. Bidhan Chandra Pal, the founder and managing director of Probha Aurora gave the welcome speech, and Probha Aurora’s policy-strategy-research advisor Dr. Aftab Uddin moderated the launching event. 

Mr. Daniel Shaffer, the Chief Executive Officer of Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE) delivered a special greeting at the event. He congratulated Probha Aurora for encouraging the youth towards sustainability. 

Mr. Finn Bolding Thomsen, Deputy CEO of the Foundation for Environmental Education and the Director of the International Green Key Program,  through a PowerPoint presentation highlighted the importance of the Green Key programme in the context of global and South and Southeast Asia.  He gemphasized on the importance of two main areas- management and education. He  added that Green Key is relatively new in Southeast Asia and India, and thus this is a proud moment for Bangladesh.

Mr. M. Shahidul Islam, Program Officer for Education, UNESCO Dhaka Office; Md. Abul Kalam Azad, Commissioner, Global Commission on BiodiverCities, World Economic Forum, Former Principal Secretary to the Honourable Prime Minister of Bangladesh & Former Principal SDG Coordinator, Special Envoy, Climate Vulnerable Forum (CVF) Presidency of Bangladesh (2020-2022); Iqbal Abdullah Harun, Additional Secretary, Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Bangladesh; Ram Chandra Das, Former Consultant, UNFPA, former Chairman of Tourism Corporation; Mohammad Saiful Hasan, Deputy Director, Bangladesh Tourism Board and Director, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman International Institute of Tourism and Hospitality; Dr. Nurul Islam Nazem, Professor and Former Chairman, Department of Geography & Environment, Faculty of Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of Dhaka, Deputy Team Leader, Tourism Master Plan Development Committee; Rezwanul Haque Jami, Head of eCommerce, a2i Program, ICT Division, Government of the Peoples Republic of Bangladesh & Former Founder & Vice President, eCommerce Association of Bangladesh; Erik van Dijk, National Operator bij Green Key Netherlands and Blue Flag Netherlands, Managing Director Foundation KMVK; Sanskriti Menon, Board Member, Foundation for Environmental Education and Senior Programme Director, Centre for Environment Education, India were present spoke as special guests at the event.

During his speech as the Chair, Professor Dr. MA Sattar Mandal pointed out the significance and importance of programmes like Green Key in tourism, and  mentioned that today’s event is a  a wonderful milestone achievement for Probha Aurora. At this time, he also gave emphasis on  organizing various strategic events to implement this programme.

Pointing out that the Green Key programme will play a significant role in developing eco-friendly and sustainable tourism, Bidhan Chandra Pal said, Probha Aurora is proud to have the opportunity to contribute to this programme. He humbly urged cooperation from the related government and private institutions and the UN, UNESCO and embassies in implementing this programme.

Mr. M. Shahidul Islam, Program Officer for Education, UNESCO Dhaka Office, highlighted the importance of environmental education on behalf of UNESCO. He expressed on behalf UNESCO,  about the support and commitment and full cooperation in all the programs of ‘FEE’ that will start ‘Probha Aurora’ in Bangladesh.

Md. Abul Kalam Azad said, we sincerely thank Probha Aurora, who are implementing the Green Key in Bangladesh with support from Dutch and Netherlands. He also commented that its importance in tourism is very high and needed copperation and support from all concerned.

Iqbal Abdullah Harun congratulated Probha Aurora and said that awarding certificates to those practicing sustainable practices in the field of tourism is indeed a wonderful initiative. The journey will not be simple and smooth and Probha Aurora will face many challenges. On behalf of the ministry, he assured all kinds of cooperation to overcome those challenges.

Ram Chandra Das said that This initiative is very important for Bangladesh, especially the tourism sector. We hope that in the near future, all organizations will be like Probha Aurora.”

Director and Deputy Secretary of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman International Institute of Tourism and Hospitality Mr. Saiful Hasan said, Probha Aurora is doing the work we should do. He said more related institutions should be included in such discussions in the coming days.

Dr. Nurul Islam Nazem said, Currently, 3% of our GDP comes from tourism, but it needs to be increased to 10%. The public sector has to contribute more than the private sector to achieve this. They need to promote Green Key more.”

Rezwanul Haque Jami said, We firmly believe that Probha Aurora will encompass most of the establishments in Bangladesh within the next few years and advocate a greener future at the national level.

Connected virtually from the Netherlands, Erik van Dijk said, we are and will always be with you in making this program successful in Bangladesh.

Sanskriti Menon from India joined virtually and said that she hopes everyone will work together to ensure greener hospitality, management and tourism in Bangladesh and India.

It is worth noting that the Green Key certification programme started in Denmark in 1994 and is the leading standard for environmental responsibility and sustainable operations in the tourism industry. This prestigious certification signifies a commitment to rigid adherence to the Green Key criteria set by the Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE) and is recognized by the Global Sustainable Tourism Council. Hotels, hostels, holiday parks, conference centers, small accommodations, camping sites, restaurants etc., are covered by Green Key. Since 2002, the program has been efficiently managed by FEE and its national member institutions. So far, more than 60 countries and more than 4000 establishments  have been accredited through this program.

It was also mentioned in the event that, this programme is now being piloted on an experimental basis, and the activities will be implemented for the next year based on lessons learned in the pilot programme to tailor the needs and context of Bangladesh. The representatives of various organizations, including government, private, UN organizations and the tourism sector, participated in the inaugural event.


1 thought on “To enhance eco-friendly tourism, the world’s largest environmental education organization’s ‘Green Key’ programme is now in Bangladesh”

  1. Dr. Aftab Uddin Chairperson PHFBD

    The representation of key stakeholders including government, private, UN organizations and the tourism sector is a clear testimony to the fact that Bangladesh has a lot to do with Green Key program in particular for enhancing the Eco-tourism. We look forward to seeing their productive collaboration in this regard.

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