Dhaka, Bangladesh (BBN)-The World Bank is supporting the Bangladesh Forest Department to reduce forest degradation and increase forest coverage through community participation.
Nine coastal and hilly districts are under this programme and they are Cox’s Bazar, Chittagong, Noakhali, Lakshimipur, Barisal, Pakuakhali, Barguna, Bhola, and Feni.
The Climate Resilient Participatory Afforestation and Reforestation Project has contributed to increase forest cover and provide alternative and better livelihoods to the forest dependent communities.
The project has afforested and reforested 13,139 Ha land, two-third of the project target.
Further, the project completed 1,505 km out of the targeted 2,000 roadside strip plantation.
The project has completed the nursery and all preparatory works for the remaining plantations of the project in the coming monsoon season.
The project helped the local poor community find better and diversified the livelihoods options.
The average annual household income of the participating families have increased by 38 per cent.
Further, during the project period 99 per cent of the households could double the savings.
The increase in savings will also enhance resilience of the poor families in case of shocks.
The surrounding communities’ dependency on forest resources reduced by almost half.
All households shifted to improved cook stoves, which also contributes to save forest degradation.
The Arannayk Foundation is implementing the alternative livelihood component of the project.
The project provided skills training to 6,000 Forest Group members on various trades as per their choice.
Additionally, 565 group leaders have received training on organizational and leadership development and financial management, including around 400 females and 35 people from ethnic population.
The project supported capacity strengthening of the Resource Management Information System (RIMS) of Forest Department, which helped project monitoring, but more importantly helped creating a GIS based data management center.
The data center is equipped to operate as a self-sustaining body in the longer term.
An Integrated Protocol for Forest Resources Monitoring and Assessments has been prepared, field tested, revised and completed.
The Protocol, which builds upon the methodologies of the National Forest Inventory, has been prepared taking into consideration national workshops and lessons learned from pilot testing in two Divisions.
The Forest Department has prepared a draft National Forest Policy Paper through a regional and national consultation process.
The draft policy is expected to be presented at a national workshop in April, 2016.
The Bangladesh Climate Change Resilient Fund (BCCRF) has provided $33.8 million.
Seven development partners are contributing to BCCRF: the Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID), the Embassy of Denmark in Dhaka, the Department of International Development (DFID), the European Union, represented by the European Commission (EC), Sweden represented by the Swedish International Development Cooperation (Sida), the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), and USAID.
The World Bank administers the BCCRF.