Bangladesh: Protecting The Environment And Natural Resource Management

October 14, 2016

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With the highest per capita consumption of fish-based animal protein on the planet, the health of Bangladesh’s aquaculture is critical. Bangladesh has among the world's leading inland fisheries producers with an annual production of more than 2.8 million tons. The Government also has successfully embarked on a major sustainable effort to safeguard the iconic national hilsa fish. However, almost 30 percent of all inland fish species are threatened with extinction. There is a mounting concern that nine critically endangered species of inland fisheries are in danger of collapse, which would threaten livelihoods and diets, especially among the Bangladesh’s poorest.

While Bangladesh has strong environmental and natural resource management policies and regulations, there remains a need for:

Integrating environmental protection and management into national planning and strengthening environmental institutions, especially to respond to the Bangladesh’s rapid urbanization, industrialization, and growing pollution.

Unlocking the potential of the climate-smart “blue” economy. Bangladesh needs to improve its protection of ocean health, create sustained jobs and livelihoods, and strengthen its management of vast marine resources.

Climate-resilient forest and landscape management, which can improve rural livelihoods and foster economic opportunities in rural areas.


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The Government also has successfully embarked on a major sustainable effort to safeguard the iconic national hilsa fish. However, almost 30 percent of all inland fish species are threatened with extinction.

Photo Credit: World Bank

Solutions – Better management, enforcement and analytical capacity

The World Bank’s Environment and Natural Resource (or ENR) portfolio is made up of $132 million in investment projects and an additional $3.25 million for analytical work. 

Investment projects include:

The Clean Air and Sustainable Environment Project (CASE), to which the Bank has committed $62.2 million to improve air quality in Dhaka.

The Strengthening Region Cooperation for Wildlife Protection in Asia, which has made $36 million available to assist the governments of Nepal and Bangladesh to jointly minimize illegal wildlife trade and threats to border-area habitats.

The Climate Resilient Participatory Afforestation and Reforestation Project (CRPARP), a $33.8 million initiative to reduce forest degradation and help communities in coastal and hilly areas build long-term resilience against the effects of climate change. 

Analytical and technical assistance projects include:

The South Asia Water Initiative Sundarbans Focus Area Strategy ($2 million), which enhances Bangladeshi-Indian technical cooperation around water resources management in the Sundarbans, one of the world’s largest mangrove forests.

The Forest Investment Program – Investment Plan. With Climate Investment Funds, the World Bank leads coordination of Bangladesh’s strategy to invest in climate-resilient forest management and greenhouse gas emission reduction.

Bangladesh Blue Economy Assessment An initiative supporting the Prime Minister’s national priority to find new sources of sustainable growth in marine and ocean areas peacefully handed over from India and Myanmar to Bangladesh in 2015. These newly acquired lands are greater than Bangladesh’s total land area.    


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Bangladesh has among the world's leading inland fisheries producers with an annual production of more than 2.8 million tons.

Photo Credit: World Bank

Results – Stronger resilience, monitoring and habitats

Air Pollution Management and Urban Health. The CASE project has established 11 continuous air monitoring (CAM) stations in eight major cities and developed designs for three new energy-efficient and cleaner low-cost brick making kilns that reduce local pollution and CO2 emissions.

Forests and Resilient Rural Development. CRPARP supports multi-species plantations (17,500-hectare block plantations and 2,000-kilometer strip plantations) that are resilient to cyclones. Also, about 6,000 poor and forest-dependent households in 200 communities participate in the alternative livelihoods support program.

Regional cooperation on shared ecological resources. The Strengthening Regional Cooperation for Wildlife Protection in Asia project supported the completion of a tiger population survey in the Sundarbans and the enactment in 2012 of the Wildlife (Conservation and Security) Act.

Blue Economy Development. A proposed Sustainable Development of Coastal and Marine Fisheries Development Project ($200 million) will support both domestic and export-oriented economic growth from improved production and trade of fish and fish products, livelihood diversification, and food security for the poor.  The project is expected to be operational in 2017 to 2018.

Forests, Climate and Rural Transformation. A project building on lessons from climate-resilient coastal forests and conservation-linked livelihoods, as well as on the new Forest Action Plan and Forest Investment Plan to create sustainable employment opportunities and promote economic transformation in rural areas

Towards the Future: The World Bank will continue its support for interventions that focus on air pollution management, blue economy development, forests, climate and rural transformation and integration of environmental issues into development planning. 

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