Strengthening regional cooperation for wildlife protection

--Aparup Chowdhury PhD Additional Secretary & Project Director

3.Apoarup Chowodury

The objective of the Strengthening Regional Cooperation for Wildlife Protection Project (SRCWP) is to assist the participating governments to build or enhance shared capacity, institutions, knowledge and incentives to collaborate in tackling illegal wildlife trade and other selected regional conservation threats to habitats in border areas. There are three components to the project. The first component of the project is capacity building for addressing the illegal trans-boundary wildlife trade. This component aims to bring about regional harmonization and collaboration in combating wildlife crime through strengthened legislative and regulatory frameworks, well-equipped specialized agencies and systems, as well as relevant training and awareness programs for staff across the range of agencies that contribute to the enforcement of wildlife laws and regulations. The second component of the project is promoting wildlife conservation in Asia. The third component of the project is coordination and communication. This component would provide services, Technical Assistance(TA) and incremental costs for project staff as well as operating costs for the management and coordination of the project.

Project Cost

In this project Bangladesh will get US$ 36.0 million dollars as (Taka. 25,495.20 lakhs) IDA assistance from the World Bank and GOB contribution will be Taka 2,124.60 lakhs.

Project Implementation Period: July 1, 2011 to June30, 2016

Project Area:

64 districts of Bangladesh including all Wildlife

Sanctuaries, National Parks, Eco-Parks, Botanical Gardens, Safari Parks, Reserved Forests, Wetlands and Marine Protected Areas etc.

Component 1

Capacity Building for Wildlife Conservation and Co-operation for Addressing the Trans-boundary illegal Wildlife Trade in Bangladesh (US$ 8.86 million including contingency)

Under the proposed reforms, in keeping with the Wildlife (Conservation & Security) Act 2012, the status of Wildlife Circle (WLC) within Forest Department (FD) will be enhanced by the creation of Wildlife Wing.

There will be three units under the Wildlife Wing which would comprise of:

(i) Wildlife Center (WC): To be established for undertaking training, research, education and awareness, information communication technology, monitoring and evaluation.

(ii) Protected Area Management Unit (PAMU): Which would consist of the four existing divisions, which is split on geographic basis, responsible for conservation and management of the Protected Area network and

(iii) A Wildlife Crime Control Unit (WCCU): To be established with responsibilities for forensics quarantine, legal support and CITES compliance.

The WC will have 4 Rescue and Recovery Centers under the location of Rajshahi, Khulna, Sylhet and Chittagong and they will be supported under Sub-component 1.2

The proposed project would support establishment of the Wildlife Center (WC), the upgrading and strengthening of the four existing PA management divisions through the PAMU, and the Wildlife Crime Control Unit (WCCU). The project will also foster regional cooperation between the participating countries.

Sub-component 1.1

Institutional Strengthening in Wildlife Conservation and Illegal Wildlife Trade Control in the Wildlife Circle.

Sub-component 1.2

Staff Capacity Building and Training

Component 2

Promoting Wildlife Conservation in South Asia

Sub-component 2.1

Virtual Regional Center of Excellence for Wildlife Conservation

Sub-component 2.2

Competitive Funding to Support Protected Area Management with Regional Conservation

Conservation, Protection and Management of Protected Areas for Regional Conservation

Benefits: Priority given to the Protected Areas (PA) with interconnected habitats and ecosystems in the regional countries will be eligible for accessing funds for conservation, protection and management aim at the regional conservation benefits.

Interventions will be based on existing management plans or new ones prepared under the project. Field-based PA managers are well acquainted with the challenges of management and conservation as well as the local needs and conditions. Often, PA managers are under-resourced and have limited incentives to meet centrally defined goals. To sharpen incentives, promote demand-driven interventions and encourage attention to regional conservation benefits, Window I will provide funding for proposals submitted by field-based PA managers on a competitive basis. Competition among the applicants is expected to improve efficiency and promote more cost-effective and relevant interventions.

Window 2:

Innovative Pilot Projects with a Regional Dimension Addressing Human- Wildlife Conflicts and Ecotourism: Following the demand driven approach for competitive funding, a second window has been established for supporting innovative pilot projects with a regional dimension focusing on human-wildlife conflict management and ecotourism. When addressing conservation issues with regional dimensions, a landscape approach is necessary and must be considered during preparation of proposals for pilot projects.

Funding Review Process for Innovation Pilot Projects submitted to Windows 1 and 2: The proponents of project proposals under the two windows of sub-component 2.2 will be responsible for submission of their respective proposals to the Proposal Review Committee/National Expert Committee. In order to ensure only issues with a regional dimension are funded under this sub-component, a committee with regional representation will be responsible for proposal review and approval. The Regional Proposal Review Committee will comprise representatives from the Governments of participating countries and non-governmental technical experts (who would form a majority of the committee) will review proposals for funding eligibility. If a particular proposal presents a conflict of interest vis-a-vis a committee member, the letter will have to withdraw oneself from the evaluation and approval process for that proposal.

Component 3:

Project Coordination and  ommunication Plan