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WB to provide $515m to develop fisheries, roads, and forests

  • Published at 02:38 pm October 6th, 2018
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File photo: Rohingya Refugees destroying trees, planted under social forestry projects, to establish settlements Abdul Aziz/Dhaka Tribune

The $515 million projects include help for the Cox’s Bazar local community hosting Rohingyas

The World Bank has approved $515 million for three projects in Bangladesh to improve coastal and marine fisheries, forest management, and rural roads. 

These financings will help the rural people by reducing poverty and creating new livelihood opportunities, including for local communities in the Cox’s Bazar hosting Rohingya people, the World Bank said in a press release.

“These three projects will create opportunities for the rural population and especially help the vulnerable people come out of poverty. At the same time, they will improve the country’s resilience to climate change,” said Qimiao Fan, World Bank Country Director for Bangladesh, Bhutan and Nepal. 

The $175 million Sustainable Forests & Livelihoods Project will help improve forest cover through a collaborative forest management approach involving local communities. Under this project trees will be planted in about 79,000 hectares of forest, including a coastal green belt. 

This will also help increase climate change resilience.

“This project will support increasing income through alternative income generation activities for about 40,000 households in the coastal, hill and central districts of the country,” said Madhavi Pillai, World Bank Senior Natural Resources Management Specialist and Task Team Leader for the project. 

This will include Cox’s Bazar where nearly one million Rohingyas have taken shelter after fleeing violence in Myanmar. The project will particularly help the host communities through its income generation activities, improving the availability of wood for fuel in a sustainable way, and reducing human-wild elephant conflict.

Some of the Rohingya refugees carry bundles of tree branches to their sheds to meet the need of fire wood for cooking | Tarek Mahmud/Dhaka Tribune

The project will develop and implement Protected Area management plans for about 10 Protected Forest Areas with involvement of community members.  

The $240 million Sustainable Coastal and Marine Fisheries Project will help improve fisheries management, expand mariculture and strengthen aquaculture bio-security and productivity. The project will set up community co-management associations with the fishing communities, enabling them to adopt supplementary and alternative livelihoods in 10 coastal districts,. 

It will also empower female workers through alternative livelihoods support, skills development, and nutrition awareness.

Fisheries, Bangladesh’s second-largest export earning sector, are vital to Bangladesh’s food security. The sector employs more than 18 million people.

“The project will help improve fisheries management systems, infrastructure, and other value chain investments. This will result in better productivity and availability of fish,” said Milen Dyoulgerov, World Bank Senior Environment Specialist and Task Team Leader for the project. 

It will also help expand the current fisher ID card system, which will be linked with the geographic information system platform. It will also improve vessel registration and licensing for fishing.

The $100 million additional financing to the Second Rural Transport Improvement Project will help rehabilitate rural roads in 26 districts that were damaged from last year’s heavy rainfall and floods. 

The ongoing project has improved and repaired more than 5,000km rural roads. 

The financing will factor in climate-resilience in planning, technical design, implementation and maintenance of the roads.

“The financing will continue a road safety program to ensure traffic safety as the rural roads are facing increased motorized traffic,” said Dung Anh Hoang, World Bank Senior Transport Specialist and Task Team Leader for the project.