CBACC-CF Project enhances resilience of communities and ecosystems in coastal Bangladesh: Dr. Paramesh Nandy

--Interview Md. Fazlul Kabir

The initiative Community Based Adaptation to Climate Change through Coastal Afforestation (CBACC-CF) Project commenced in 4 coastal districts of Bangladesh to enhance resilience of vulnerable communities and protective ecosystems through application of adaptation interventions for climate sensitive sectors like agriculture, forestry, fisheries and livestock, said Dr. Paramesh Nandy, Project Manager, CBACC-CF Project, in an interview with The Guardian.

Dr. Paramesh Nandy is an expert in the issues of environmental aspects. He replied to a number of questions on the activities and impacts of CBACC-CF Project, based on the coastal districts of Bangladesh. Here the text of his interview is presented for The Guardian readers at home and abroad:

The Guardian: Please provide short briefing about your initiative?

Project Manager: The initiative CBACC-CF Project commenced in 4 coastal districts of Bangladesh to enhance resilience of vulnerable communities and protective ecosystems through application of adaptation interventions for climate sensitive sectors like agriculture, forestry, fisheries and livestock. Important contribution of this initiative is the development of FFF Model by integrating all these climate sensitive sectors in one model. As of today, the project enhanced the resilience of 23,992 households by involving them in different adaptation and training measures while the resilience of protective ecosystem is enhanced by establishing more than 8000 ha of coastal plantation by the Forest Department for which 464,800 coastal people were engaged in cash for work programme.

The Guardian: How the initiative improved the socio-economic conditions?

Project Manager: The initiative arranged access of 112 ha of government land for landless people with skill development trainings for sector specific resource generations contributing to their livelihood. Marginalized groups have increased their income more than 5 times compared to their baseline income and strengthened their socio-economic conditions.

The Guardian: How these are linked to environmental conservation and sustainable natural resource management?

Project Manager: Environmental conservation of the initiative is associated with the establishment of 8,650 ha of plantations that enhanced biodiversity and protection services. Integrated approaches of FFF provides multiple natural resource options to accrue both conservation and production benefits. The initiative secured land entitlement and the beneficiaries owned the generated resources that secure opportunity for them to sustainably govern the benefits in the long run.

 

The Guardian: How these conservation efforts are linked to improve community livelihoods and wellbeing?

Project Manager: Raised ditch-dyke structure protects the salinity intrusion and livelihood process of the project beneficiaries and adjacent farmers. Each beneficiary generates income throughout the year that increased their financial capital contributing to the food security and access to health and education. Through large scale coastal afforestation, livelihoods of adjacent coastal communities are secured from climate change impacts.

The Guardian: What are the key social, institutional, financial and ecological elements that make the initiative sustainable over the long term?

Project Manager: Key social and ecological elements of the initiative are the communities and protecting ecosystems contributing climate resilience measures to both. Key institutional and financial elements are the implementing agencies providing supports to the initiative.

The Guardian: What are the plans for expansion of the initiative?

Project Manager: Initial plan for the expansion of the initiative already activated in 4 coastal sites with the support of the govt. of Switzerland through SDC ($ 2.17m USD) and the govt. of The Netherlands through EKNĀ  ($ 0.98m USD). Up-scaling of this innovative initiative in more 9 coastal sites is underway with the financial support ($ 5.8m USD) from the Global Environmental Facilities (GEF).

The Guardian: How the initiative facilitated the empowerment of women group of communities?

Project Manager: The initiative facilitated the women group through providing land entitlement for resource generation. 42% of women beneficiaries are now playing active role in resource generation and brought positive transformation among community groups for the protection of women’s social night.

The Guardian: How the initiative facilitated the empowerment of marginalized and landless segment of communities?

Project Manager: Coastal Bangladesh is dominated with marginalized groups of communities given low level economy and landlessness. These has been always open decision making process involving community, CMC members and local institutions to ensure that landless groups are included as beneficiaries of the initiative. The access of landless people to government land and secured resource generation empowered them..

The Guardian: How the initiative developed partnership, nature and contribution of partnership?

Project Manager: SDC and EKN-Bangladesh showed their interests to develop partnership with the project and contributed $ 2.17million and $ 0.98million USD respectively. Most of their contributions are being used for enhancing the adaptive capacity of vulnerable communities through livelihood diversification programmes. However, the EKN contribution was concentrated for enhancing the resilience of coastal communities through improved water management programme at Char Kukri Mukri, Bhola.

The Guardian: What is the existing structure of monitoring of CBACC-CF project?

Project Manager: The project established 3 tiers of Adaptation and Monitoring Platforms by adopting CMC (Co-Management Committee, headed by UNO); DSC (District Steering Committee, headed by DC) and NSC (National Steering Committee, headed by Secretary, Ministry of Environment and Forest) at local, district and national level respectively.

The Guardian: How the initiative impact on capacity building and policy development?

Project Manager: As of today, the project enhanced capacity of 1333 GOB, NGO officials, CBOs including women members on climate risk resilience out of targeted 1400 nos. Besides, 16,740 households received skill development training in respective field. Incorporation of climate resilient policy recommendations into ‘Coastal Land Use’ ‘Forest’ and ‘Environment’ and ‘Coastal Zone’ policies is underway.

The Guardian: How the project contributes to mitigation efforts other than adaptation?

Project Manager: The project enhanced the resilience of coastal ecosystem to sustain mangrove vegetation and protect adjacent communities from climate change impacts through establishing 8650 ha of plantation that will contribute to absorbing more than 865,000 tons of carbon annually. Thus, the project is contributing to both global adaptation and mitigation efforts.

The Guardian: How the initiative shared its knowledge and innovation with others?

Project Manager: Project beneficiaries shared with local communities about innovative livelihood model and visible impacts on their household income.

– Government officials participating in exposure visits from one district to another district showed interests to replicate FFF model in other coastal areas.

– Project Management Unit shared the project innovations through displaying in a number of national and international knowledge sharing platforms.

– As a result, the project received “Earth Care Award – 2012”, sponsored by ‘JSW-Times of India’ for innovative FFF Model and providing access to govt. land for the landless in the coastal districts of Bangladesh. The project also received “Runner up of People’s Choice Award – 2013” in international contest on ‘Adapting to Climate Change’, sponsored by The Nature Conservancy and RARE, USA.

– The project published a knowledge product (Book) on “Climate Change Adaptation Actions in Bangladesh”, published by “Springer, Japan” in 2013.

The Guardian: Thank you for giving interview with the Guardian?

Project Manager: Thank you too and many thanks to our implementing partners and our vulnerable coastal communities who made this project as successful one.