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Conserving Natural Resources and Improving Livelihoods through Collaborative Management

IPAC (Integrated Protected Area Co-Management)
Project leader
Mohammed Golam Mostafa
5 Jun 2008
4 Jun 2013
Seed distribution under IPAC AIG program in Sylhet Cluster
Seed distribution under IPAC AIG program in Sylhet Cluster
Bangladesh is currently experiencing a steady loss of biodiversity in its protected areas: national parks, wildlife sanctuaries, game reserves, wetland and fishery sanctuaries, and ecologically critical areas. Despite this situation, people living in and around these ecosystems continue to extract and use the shrinking resources, mainly because they have few alternatives. In addition, some local communities perceive these areas to be a direct threat to their own livelihoods and to their land ownership and access rights.
Without the active involvement of local people, increased economic incentives for their collaboration in conservation efforts and the adoption of more sustainable patterns of resource use, the protected areas will continue to deteriorate. Bangladesh needs to develop and scale-up sustainable approaches to the co-management (collaborative management) of these areas that take into account existing socio-economic dynamics, prevailing ecological conditions, and policy, legal and governance frameworks.

Co-managing protected areas

The government of Bangladesh and USAID have initiated the Integrated Protected Area Co-management (IPAC) project with a view to conserving the natural resources in 26 wetland and forest areas covering over 360,000 hectares in the country and to improving the livelihoods of 2.2 million dependent communities under a collaborative management approach between communities and the Central  Government. The International Resources Group (IRG) is leading the initiative, which is building on the foundation laid down by two earlier USAID-funded pilot projects: the ‘Management of Aquatic Ecosystems through Community Husbandry’ and the ‘Nishorgo Support Project’.  
The IPAC project will help sustain the conservation successes achieved through the pilot projects; expand support to promote and institutionalize an integrated protected area co-management  (Nishorgo Networks for the development of a pro-poor, participatory national program for co-management, environmental governance and adaptation to climate change mitigation and adaptation; and build institutional capacity.

Improving environmental resources management

WorldFish is working with IRG and other local and international partners in providing scientific information and technical support for best practice in community-based fisheries management and the extension of proven approaches. The Center will also support participatory monitoring and research to help improve the management of wetlands and fisheries; provide policy and advice for their development, and address climate change mitigation and adaptation.

At the project’s conclusion, WorldFish staff hopes to have scaled-up natural resource co-management at the government’s policy and operational levels. Senior ministry staff in Bangladesh’s environment, forestry, and fisheries agencies will have been provided with technical expertise in natural resources inventory and mapping, biodiversity assessment and management methods, economics, adaptation to climate change, and water resources and watershed management. The project will also have expanded the geographic area under co-management to ensure nationwide, long-term success and contribute to sustained, broad-based economic growth.

¹Nishorgo Network comprising of forest and wetland Protected Areas (PAs) by which empowered local communities join hands with the Government of Bangladesh to protect the natural assets of the nation in the form of a collaborative management (co-management) that benefits local communities through various biodiversity conservation efforts.