February 2008 – December 2012 Country Outcome Review

portfolio Overview

Climate change in Bangladesh is expected to bring temperature increase, sea-level rise, increasingly erratic and intense monsoon rainfall, and increased prevalence and intensity of flood and drought. This will lead to substantial impacts on ecosystems and land resources. Following are the some of the impacts climate change in the context of Bangladesh:

Increased risk of extreme events like cyclone, tornados, storm surges etc. this will have significant implications on the lives and livelihoods of affected communities

Increasingly erratic and intense rainfall, increasing risks of floods, drought and erosion

Loss of biodiversity in mangrove forests, due to storm damage, as well as changing balances between rainfall and salinity driven both by seasonal drought and sea-level rise

Significantly increased flooding due to sea-level rise as well as melting of Himalayan glaciers by the end of the 21st century

Sedimentation of riverbeds, leading to changing ecosystem dynamics, and increasing risk of flood

Transformation of thousands of hectares of land from non-flood-prone to moderately or extremely flood-prone status

Beginnings of the progressive inundation of mangrove forests, farm land, and other land in the area, stemming from sea level rise

CBA interventions in Bangladesh are building resilience to climate change in the Land Degradation and Biodiversity focal areas. Climate change presents significant risks to global environmental benefits in these focal areas, including saltwater intrusion, increased riverbank and coastal erosion, changing rainfall regimes – all of which affects the natural resource management practices of people, leading to potentially greater ecosystem impacts.

Pilot activities for the CBA are concentrated on the southern coastal belt, a region that is expected to be highly impacted by climate change, which also contains significant biodiversity. While the southern coastal belt is the focus, areas of climate impact hotspots in the north that observes extreme events, erratic rainfall and flooding, drought, and sedimentation of riverbeds leading to changing ecosystem dynamics are also considered. Coastal biodiversity is also significantly threatened by climate change.

The decision to focus CBA activities in the southern coastal belt of Bangladesh was based on detailed vulnerability assessments of several regions of the country, and on the high vulnerability of communities/ecosystems to climate change including variability, as well as the existence of significant land management issues, as well as threatened globally significant biodiversity including various varieties of birds, aquatic animals, flora and fishery.

The CBA country strategy was first drafted in early 2009 under the guidance of the Ministry of Food and Disaster Management (MOFDM) with support from one of the largest disaster management programme titled “Comprehensive Disaster Management Programme (CDMP)” supported by UNDP Bangladesh. A wider consultation happened among the programming and scientific communities for the drafting. In such a multi stakeholder workshop the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MOEF) claimed relevance of the project under their mandate and gained support from most of the participants. This has caused substantial delay in signing contract between UNDP and the Government of Bangladesh (GOB) until December 2009. The CBA National Coordinator was recruited only in March 2010 when most other participating countries have progressed almost halfway.

The CBO platform in Bangladesh is not so strong that they can prepare and implement projects by their own. Therefore, it was decided to invite NGOs to support the target CBOs for the implementation of the CBA interventions. During June 2010, a call for concept was published in the national dailies for 2 consecutive days. Almost 600 NGOs, some of them are large NGOs, showed interest and asked for the concept template. However, only 81 of them have come up with a concept for CBA. After the initial review of the concepts, it was observed that most of the concepts were so simplistic and there was only a little innovation in the concept.

As Bangladesh is a non-SGP country, couple of Committees was advised in the project document for project selection, approval and monitoring activities from the host government. The CBA Technical Review Committee (TRC) was first formalized and holds a meeting in September 2010 to select the potential innovative concepts and find 14 for full proposal development. The CBA National Coordinator has facilitated the proposals and sends it to the TRC for final selection. In a meeting in January 2011, the TRC has recommended 10 Proposals for funding approval and forwarded it to the CBA Approval Committee. On 20 March 2011, the Approval Committee has approved all 10 projects for funding.

Figure: List of potential Guarantees for CBA

(1-14 developed the full proposal; 1-10 approved by the Approval Committee; 1-5 funded by CBA)

Meanwhile, due to the delay in project preparation and contract signing, half of the grant funds were reallocated to other CBA countries. Therefore, only five projects out of 10 approved were funded. Though most of the approved projects has secured substantial co-financing (both cash and in kind), couple of them could manage only a little in kind resources. The projects were then again revisited as per the focal areas – 3 in the coastal areas, one in the hill tracts and the other in the northern foothill areas. Almost all the projects has agriculture innovation and extension component along with poultry and livestock, irrigation, coastal plantation and mangrove restoration plots, fisheries components.

The coastal projects are dealing with the effects of salinity due to sea level rise and the recent landfall of cyclone and storm surges. The hill project has the sustainable wetland management in its core through community participation. While the far northern project deals with the indigenous farming community once dependent on a hilly stream for water and irrigation. The project is trying to upgrade the quality of the stream for improved water flow during dry season. However, generation of the household and human capital is the central element of all the projects for vulnerability reduction.

Interventions under the Bangladesh CBA programme focuses on the needs of women, fisherman, and marginal farmers and landless poor. Many of the NGOs working in the target areas are engaged in providing microfinance services to these populations. The CBA programme will build on this experience and capacity while carrying out its climate change adaptation programming mission, providing lessons for replication elsewhere on how micro-finance can be used as an approach to community-based climate change adaptation.This coastal area is interlaced with innumerable rivers and canals, where historically there was no dearth of fresh water or fisheries. This region was once known as the granary of Bengal. Climate conditions have changed over time, and drought, lack of fresh water, and severe decline of fisheries – both marine and fresh water – are now common phenomena.

outcomes and impact

The objective of the Bangladesh national CBA country programme strategy is to improve natural resource management practices in Bangladesh to reduce the vulnerability to climate change impacts and increase the capacity of communities and key ecosystems to adapt to climate change.The achievement will be measured by the percentage change in livelihood groups engaged in sustainable resource management practices, stakeholders enjoying sustainable benefits resulting from community based initiatives, and increase in community awareness about climate change impacts. The VRA and IAS indicators for each project are showing progress towards the target through delivering number of benefit and solution to the communities. Five small projects have funded of which 3 in the coastal areas, 1 in the hill tracts, and 1 in the far north with the tribal population.

1. Project title: Piloting climate-resilient development initiatives at Char Kazal, Galachipa, Patuakhali: innovative options

Grantee: Center for Natural Resource Studies (CNRS)

Type of organization: NGO

Number of participants: 21,110

Location: Char Kazal, GolachipaUpazila, Patuakhali District

Project Partners: Bangladesh Rice Research Institute, Chevron-Bangladesh

Project Dates: July 2011 –December 2012

CBA Contribution: $48,638 USD

Co-financing: Community $18,600 (in kind); CNRS $10,571 (in kind); Bangladesh Rice and Research Institute $9,760 (in cash); Chevron – Bangladesh $96,178 (in cash)

Project Description and Adaptation Measures: The main objective of this project is to promote community-based adaptive capacity through piloting adaptive agriculture practices, promoting cyclone-resilient construction, and ensuring the protection of the local ecosystem. Improving sustainable agricultural output reduces food insecurity and makes the community more self-reliant which is especially critical during the rainy season when access to the mainland may be limited. The project consists of the following activities:

  • Trials of saline-tolerant rice varieties and alternative crops.
  • Promotion of crab fattening and duck breeding
  • Demonstrations of crop intensification
  • Rehabilitation and reforestation of mangrove forests
  • Creation of live fences to project homesteads and cattle during cyclone
  • Renovation of house and boat structures to improve cyclone resiliency
  • Conducting workshops, presentations, and meetings about climate change impacts and adaptive strategies to increase awareness about climate change and build adaptive capacity of the community

Improving the communities’ ability to withstand and rebound from natural hazards strengthens reduces their vulnerability to climate related risks. Building on the communities existing knowledge base, the project also improves organizational and technical capacity skills that will be invaluable in continued community-based development initiatives.

Inclusive participatory planning on land use and action plan development included a variety of community members (men, women, and youth) to ensure that all needs and constraints of different groups would be considered.A community-based management committee (CMC) will be formed with community members and local stakeholders to implement the project. The CMC will receive training and support in order to ensure the continued sustainability of activities.

2. Project title: Community-based wetland management project

Grantee: Boudhi Investigate and Research Assembly of Men (BIRAM)

Type of organization: NGO/CBO

Number of participants: 2,000

Location: BorkonaGodabanne Chora Adam, Panchari, Khagrachari Hill District

Project Dates: July 2011 –December 2012

CBA Contribution: $46,096 USD

Co-financing: Community $1,473 (in kind)

Project Description and Adaptation Measures: The main objectives of this project are to increase the capacity of the community in sustainable wetland management and water harvesting to adapt to adverse climate change situation, improve conservation of aquatic and upland biodiversity of the Borkona Godabanne Chora, and to support the community in upgrading their livelihoods with other income generating activities. The project consists of the following activities:

  • Training on sustainable natural resource management
  • Creating a boundary for protected areas of the wetland
  • Improving dams and canals for water collection
  • Piloting new crop varieties suitable for degraded and marginal land
  • Training on livestock breeding, improved agricultural techniques, and fruit harvesting to enhance income- generating activities.
  • Conducting a baseline survey of socio-economic and biodiversity status
  • Repopulating fish and birds species in the wetland area
  • Developing a plantation to improve wildlife habitat
  • Holding discussions, workshops, and presentations to increase awareness about climate change and adaptation

Hilly Wetland / Restoration works in progress / After earthwork

The community will benefit from more secure water and natural resources that will facilitate stable and diverse livelihoods. Long –term sustainable wetland management will ensure that community members not only can continue to live harmoniously with the environment in the region, but also can be stewards of environmental conservation.

To ensure that specific local needs and knowledge are covered, focus group discussions included a wide variety of people from vulnerable farmers to religious leaders. Traditional knowledge has been invaluable in the project development phase and continued community discussions to address progress are expected to continue. Women, who comprise over half of all participants and are one of the most vulnerable groups in the community, are playing an integral role in the project planning and will take an active role in farming system initiatives and income generating activities. A community committee will be established and trained to oversee and ensure the continuation of wetland management and other activities.

3. Project title: Empowering Women for Coping with Climate Risks in Selected Areas of Coastal Bangladesh

Grantee: Gram Bikash Shohayak Shangstha (GBSS)

Type of organization: NGO

Number of participants: 40,519

Location: Mirmadan and PurbaAlipuraVillages of Alipura Union & Banshbaria and DhandaniaVillages of Banshbari Union; Dhasmina Upazila; Patuakahi Distict

Project Partners: Union Parished/ UDMC; Alipura and Banshbaria Union of Dhasmina; Upazila Adminstration/ UzDMC, Dhasmina, Patuakhali

Project Dates: July 2011 –December 2012

CBA Contribution: $47,970 USD

Co-financing: Community $35,003 USD; Union $841 USD; GBSS $7,551 USD

Project Description and Adaptation Measures: The main objective of this project is to restore livelihood opportunities of women by improving ecosystem based adaptation. Increasing the capacity of the vulnerable groups improves their ability to reduce risk and cope with climate change impacts. The project consists of the following activities:

  • Establishment of a “Women Resource Center” and “Women Groups” at the village level to build a support system for marginalized women
  • Establishment of a women-operated grain and seed bank
  • Development of a nursery and plantation
  • Exploration and support in income-generating opportunities including cattle and goat breeding
  • Holding discussions, workshops, and presentations to increase awareness about climate change and adaptation

Building on the social support network of women, this project will strengthen and formalize female social support systems while also leveraging collective power to advocate for increased access and control over resources and increased negotiating power in decision making. The Women Resource Center will also provide a bridge for community outreach for different service providing organizations that provide support to women in the areas of livelihood opportunities, health and sanitation, agriculture and other issues for women.

While women have knowledge that is useful in planning and implementing community level adaptation strategies, they do not always have the opportunity to voice their ideas. Using a gender-inclusive participatory approach to project development and planning, strong efforts were made to include women and girls in all areas of the project to ensure that their concerns and needs are addressed. Local knowledge from women has been invaluable in shaping the project and will continue to be important throughout implementation. Women Groups will be trained on the operations and management of a seed and grain bank that will protect harvests, reduce grain costs, and improve food security at the household level. Combined with improved agricultural strategies the grain and send banks will support and reinforce new agricultural systems.

4. Project Title: Strengthening Resilience of Climate Change-Affected Communities in South-western Coastal Area of Bangladesh

Grantee: Practical Action Bangladesh

Type of organization: NGO

Number of participants: 2,000

Location: The four villages of Chhotokupot, Boyarshing, Borokupot and Uttar Atulia; Atulia Union; Shyamnagar Upazila; Satkhira District

Project Dates: July 2011 –June 2013

CBA Contribution: $49,990 USD

Co-financing: Community $19,645 USD (in kind); Practical Action $59565 USD (in cash)

Project Description and Adaptation Measures: The main objectives of this project improve the resilience of coastal communities in Bangladesh to cope with increased salinity due to climate change impacts through strengthened ecosystems and protected livelihoods that will reduce climatic risks and help secure employment, food, and income. The project consists of the following components:

  • Demonstrating sustainable shrimp aquaculture and fish farming in salinity-affected areas
  • Developing a biodiversity monitoring system to be used at community, union, and local government levels
  • Training 30 skilled volunteers (extension workers) to assist in climate change adaptation and biodiversity monitoring
  • Building two (2) community plant nurseries for wind and salinity-resistant species
  • Rehabilitating mangrove forests around households and institutional premises
  • Conducting capacity-building workshops, discussions, and other activities that will improve awareness and understanding of climate change, climate-related risks, and biodiversity conservation in amongst the communities, Atulia union government institutions, and 10 local NGOs.

The community will benefit from reduced loss in aquaculture and reduced negative pressure on natural aquatic animals that will enhance livelihood opportunities. Both the community and local ecosystem will have improved resilience to detrimental climate change impacts that will allow for sustainable development and continued survival.