During her trip to Bangladesh, USAID Deputy Administrator for Policy and Programming Isobel Coleman launched a new five-year, up to $20.5 million USAID Ecosystems/Protibesh activity to protect critical biodiverse areas in Bangladesh from degradation. The program targets two key areas, including the Sundarbans mangrove forest, a UNESCO World Heritage site home to the Royal Bengal tiger, and forest and freshwater wetland ecosystems of the Sylhet border region in northeastern Bangladesh. The project will also help communities build long term climate resilience by adopting climate-smart agriculture approaches and learning business skills to diversify and increase their incomes, moving away from reliance on natural resources from forests for their livelihoods.
The new Protibesh program builds on a long history of partnership between USAID and the Government of Bangladesh and local community leaders to protect and sustainably manage the country’s biodiverse landscapes and ecosystems. Applying lessons learned from previous interventions to strengthen environmental governance and sustainable forest and wetland management, Protibesh will be locally-led by community members and GOB counterparts, including the Ministry of Environment, Ministry of Planning, Ministry of Fisheries and Livestock, Ministry of Land, and the Bangladesh Forest Department. As a result of Protibesh conservation, and climate adaptation and mitigation activities, Bangladesh will be able to combat the effects of climate change, protect the country’s critical natural resources––a rich source of life and livelihoods for the people of Bangladesh––and build resilience to climate-induced natural disasters.
Over the past 25 years, USAID has helped Bangladesh make great strides in combating climate change and strengthening environmental conservation. Over this period, USAID has worked with local communities and government officials to protect more than 2.5 million acres of wetlands and forest areas. In support of USAID’s Climate Strategy, USAID will continue to support Bangladesh in its commitment to lead the way on climate change solutions.