The world's biodiversity is in trouble, with wildlife crime, the spread of invasive species, and loss of habitat reducing the number of species. The loss has economy-wide consequences, but biodiversity is especially important for the 870 million rural poor whose livelihoods and safety nets are inextricably linked to natural and semi-natural ecosystems.
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South Asia is home to 13-15% of the world's biodiversity including some of the world’s most endangered species. The world’s tiger population has declined alarmingly, mainly due to poaching and the enc... Show More +roachment of tiger habitats. 65% of the 3,000 or so remaining wild tigers are found in Bangladesh, Bhutan, India and Nepal. With South Asia’s rich biodiversity, the region is a lucrative place for illegal wildlife trade. To help preserve the region's biodiversity, the Strengthening Regional Cooperation for Wildlife Protection in Asia (SRCWP) project helps countries tackle illegal wildlife trade.ChallengeAccording to The Wildlife Trade Monitoring Network (TRAFFIC) report, the seizure of parts of more than 1,400 tigers across Asia in the last 13 years indicate an alarming rate of illegal trade of tiger parts. Illegal wildlife trade is largely controlled by criminal gangs who poach flagship species such as tigers and elephants in one country, store them in another, and then trade them outside of South Asia. No single country on its own can contain illegal wildlife trade, thus cross-border collaboration is required to stop poaching. This makes the control of the illegal trade of wildlife and wildlife parts a challenging multi-country responsibility.ApproachThe first World Bank regional project in South Asia, the Strengthening Regional Cooperation for Wildlife Protection in Asia (SRCWP) follows two-pronged approach: capacity building to address the illegal wildlife trade through regional cooperation, and habitat protection and management to promote regional conservation benefits and address human-wildlife conflict. The project assists participating governments in building or enhancing shared capacity, institutions, knowledge, and incentives to collaborate on tackling the illegal wildlife trade and other selected regional conservation threats to habitats.The project has already led to some significant developments in Bangladesh, since its inception in 2011:Combating Wildlife Trafficking and Crime:The project helped the Bangladesh Forest Department (BFD) to establish a Wildlife Crime Control Unit (WCCU) which is equipped with a forensics lab, a legal support arm, and a wildlife crime control group to implement the Bangladesh Wildlife (Conservation) Act 2012. The WCCU has a 24-hour hotline for reporting of illegal wildlife trafficking and other wildlife related crimes.The WCCU coordinates with other agencies including the Rapid Action Battalion (RAB), Border Guard, Coast Guard, Customs, Police, and Ministry of Foreign Affairs to tackle wildlife crime within Bangladesh. The WCCU also collaborates with TRAFFIC, UNODC, INTERPOL, and the International Consortium on Combating Wildlife Crime (ICCWC) internationally to build synergies and to develop and implement tools for more effective enforcement of the wildlife trade and landscape based conservation. Bangladesh is the first South Asian country that is in the process of implementing the Wildlife and Forest Crime Analytic Toolkit developed by UNODC and ICCWC. Protection of Flagship Species & Protected Areas Management:The Project is assisting the Bangladesh Forest Department in partnership with four universities, and six non-governmental institutions to implement 34 sub-projects, aimed to improve the management of protected areas and conservation of flagship species through a landscape approach. The endangered species addressed under these sub-projects include Bengal tigers, Elephants, Gharials, Langurs, Marine Turtles, Saltwater Crocodiles, Spoon-billed Sandpipers, Waterbirds, and White-rumped Vultures. Some of the sub-projects are addressing human-wildlife conflict through engagement with the local communities and civil society.Tiger Census:Bangladesh is among the 13 tiger range countries where tigers still roam in the wild. It is important to have accurate estimation of the tiger population and density for formulating effective management plans for the Sundarbans. The project is supporting the census of Bengal tigers in Bangladesh's Sundarbans region through camera trapping method. The census using cameras would last from October 2013 to November 2014. Digital infrared camera with thermal and motion detecting sensors are being used for the census. Human-Elephant ConflictThe Elephant population is declining at an alarming rate due to habitat loss and fragmentation caused by illegal timber felling, encroachment for settlements and agriculture, unplanned road construction, and other challenges. Elephants move between Bangladesh and the neighboring forests of Arakan Yoma in Myanmar, and Assam, Meghalaya, Mizoram, and Tripura states in India. As their habitat gets destroyed and food sources become scarce, the incidence of human-elephant conflict (HEC) has increased, killing 47 elephants and 180 humans between 2003 to 2012. To mitigate human-elephant conflict, the project has mapped routes of elephant corridors and two major Human-Elephant conflict areas while a detailed study is ongoing for developing pilot projects for addressing HEC. Project Results to Date Wildlife Crime Control Units established in the Forest Department headquarters in Dhaka and in seven divisional forest offices.The rescue of 5,253 wild animals and the arrest of 171 wildlife offenders between 2012 to April 2014Approval of the Wildlife Conservation and Security Act 2012 by the Bangladesh ParliamentThe Bangladesh Forest Department is conducting a census of Bengal tigers in the country and using the data for monitoring the size and density of the tiger population in the Bangladesh Sundarbans.Ongoing preparation of Protected Areas Management Plans30 Bangladesh forestry department officials completed the certificate training course on wildlife management at the Wildlife Institute of India. In total, more than 800 forest department officials have received in-country training.The implementation of the National Tiger Recovery Plan is underway. Ongoing implementation of 34 subprojects on habitat improvement, eco-tourism development and human-wildlife conflict mitigationTowards the FutureIndia has demonstrated its commitment to cooperate in regional wildlife conservation through a bilateral Memoranda of Understanding (MOU) relating to wildlife and ecosystems in cooperation with Bangladesh, Bhutan and Nepal and is expected to collaborate to further the project’s goals of protecting biodiversity in South Asia. Show Less -
One in nine people suffer from chronic hunger, more than 1 billion people are undernourished, and 3.1 million children die every year due to hunger and malnutrition.Hunger affects poor people the most... Show More +—both in the present and over the long term. When people are hungry and malnourished, they are less able to improve their livelihoods; adequately care for their families; live full and healthy lives and lift themselves out of poverty. Children are especially vulnerable—malnutrition in the first two years of life can result in physical and cognitive damage that diminishes future health, welfare and economic well-being.For developing countries, this is a drain on development with effects that can last for generations. Hunger impairs a person’s ability to be part of a productive workforce, and contribute to economic growth. In the short term, food shortages and rising food prices can widen inequality, and lead to conflict and instability.Feeding the world with sufficient, nutritious food is already a huge challenge in the present. The problem is set to intensify in the future, as the population grows, climate change affects food production and the natural resources that help feed the world are stretched even further. What is the World Bank doing to end hunger now and in the future? Show Less -
Washington, September 30, 2014 – Belizeans will manage natural resources more sustainably in Key Biodiversity Areas, and alternative livelihoods opportunities will be provided to local communities as ... Show More +a result of a US$6 million Global Environment Facility (GEF) project approved by the Board of Directors.“Like the rest of the Caribbean, Belize is most vulnerable to hurricanes. It is only by protecting its forest and rich environmental resources, as well as supporting reforestation that it can mitigate the effects of climate change,” said Sophie Sirtaine, World Bank Country Director for the Caribbean.Belize has the largest barrier reef in the Americas and the highest forest cover in both Central America and the Caribbean, including intact virgin forest. The country is a signatory to the Convention on Biological Diversity. Despite having succeeded in preserving its forest and outstanding biodiversity to a greater extent than its neighbors, forest cover has decreased over the last decade. Belize’s rich biodiversity remains under threat by deforestation as a result of the expansion of agriculture, housing, tourism, and forest fires.The Management and Protection of Key Biodiversity Areas project will:Increase the number of hectares under sustainable forest management by more than two folds in targeted areasEnhance biodiversity protection in six targeted protected areasProvide alternative livelihoods options and training to local forest communities on sustainable harvesting and marketing of non-timber forest productsStrengthen capacity of the Ministry of Forestry, Fisheries and Sustainable Development, and other institutions to improve management and compliance monitoring of forest resources and environmentThis five year project is financed by a US$6 million grant from the Global Environment Facility (GEF) and US$3 million in kind counterpart financing from the Government of Belize. Show Less -
Washington, September 24, 2014 – Today, in partnership with the Global Environment Facility (GEF), the World Bank Group approved a $10 million project to address the decline of important migratory fis... Show More +h stocks in both coastal areas and areas beyond national jurisdiction. The Ocean Partnerships for Sustainable Fisheries & Biodiversity Conservation Project aims to improve the management of high value migratory species and maintain the economic benefits of sustainable fisheries and biodiversity conservation for developing countries and communities. More than a billion people rely on fish as their main source of protein and about 300 million are employed in jobs linked to healthy oceans.“The health and productivity of global fish stocks are under threat from overfishing, habitat destruction and marine pollution, all made worse by a patchwork of insufficient governance arrangements,” said Paula Caballero, World Bank Senior Director for the Environment and Natural Resources. “There is growing consensus that sustainable management of valuable fish stocks is essential if national and local economies are to continue deriving benefits from them and if we are serious about securing food and livelihoods well into the future.”While many fish populations fall within the exclusive economic zones (EEZs) of individual countries, migratory species such as tunas, billfishes and sharks travel between EEZs and into areas beyond national jurisdiction (ABNJs). These fish stocks represent some of the most economically valuable species in the ocean. The tuna fishery alone engages 85 countries and is valued at US$10 billion a year. “The fact that these stocks are both high value and transboundary makes them uniquely challenging to manage effectively,” said Tim Bostock, World Bank Fisheries Expert. “We are now at a crucial juncture. We believe this project will spur the type of innovative and concerted action -- within and beyond national jurisdictions -- that is so urgently needed.”The GEF has committed $10 million in grants to be allocated in four marine regions: Western Atlantic and Caribbean, Bay of Bengal, Western and Central Pacific, and the Eastern Pacific. Grants will facilitate development of innovative management solutions implemented in partnership with regional actors from both public and private sectors.This project builds upon other World Bank ocean and coastal management work including the Pacific Regional Oceanscape Project (PROP) and recent investments to support tuna fisheries management and sustainable livelihoods in India. The GEF is committed to this effort in support of focal areas concerned with biodiversity restoration and cooperative management of international waters. “Productive fisheries, ocean biodiversity and growing coastal economies are not necessarily conflicting objectives,” said Gustavo Fonseca, Director of Programs at the GEF. “Continued mismanagement of fisheries represents one of the most serious threats to marine biodiversity and livelihoods in developing countries. Reformed fisheries management can contribute significantly to fishery productivity and biodiversity restoration while supporting livelihoods.About the GEF and the World BankThe Global Environment Facility is a partnership for international cooperation where 183 countries work together with international institutions, civil society organizations and the private sector, to address global environmental issues. The GEF serves as financial mechanism for the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, the Convention on Biological Diversity, the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification, the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants and the Minamata Convention on Mercury. It also works closely with the Montreal Protocol on Ozone Depleting Substances. The World Bank is one of GEF’s implementing agencies and supports countries in preparing GEF co-financed projects and supervising their implementation in areas that are consistent with GEF objectives and national sustainable development strategiesThe World Bank Group’s vision is a world free of poverty. To support this vision, the World Bank’s Environment and Natural Resources Global Practice provides expertise, technical assistance and financing to help developing countries strategically manage their environment and natural resources to end poverty and boost shared prosperity in a sustainable manner Show Less -