On October 5, 2018 the World Bank today approved $515 million for three projects in Bangladesh to restore coastal and marine fisheries, boost reforestation, and renovate rural roads; all with the goal of creating resilient prosperity for all.
The funding will help revitalize rural communities, reducing poverty and creating new livelihood opportunities. This includes communities in the Cox’s Bazar district hosting Rohingya refugees who fled violence in Myanmar.
“These three projects will create opportunities for the rural population and especially help the vulnerable people come out of poverty,” said Qimiao Fan, World Bank Country Director for Bangladesh, Bhutan and Nepal. “At the same time, they will improve the country’s resilience to climate change.”
The $175 million Sustainable Forests & Livelihoods Project will help improve forest cover through a collaborative forest management approach involving local communities. The project will plant trees in about 79,000 hectares of forest, including a coastal green belt that will also help increase climate change resilience.
“The 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.
The focus on Cox’s Bazar is crucial, as nearly one million Rohingya took shelter. 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 which has affected parts of the district.
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 biosecurity and productivity. In 10 coastal districts, the project will set up community co-management associations with the fishing communities, enabling them to adopt supplementary and alternative livelihoods. It also empowers female workers through skills development, and nutrition awareness.
“Fisheries are vital to the country’s food security and the sector employs more than 18 million people. After garments, fishery is the country’s second largest export earning sector,” said Milen Dyoulgerov, World Bank Senior Environment Specialist and Task Team Leader for the project. “The project will help improve fisheries management systems, infrastructure, and other value chain investments. This will result in better productivity and availability of fish.”
The project 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 5,000 km rural roads that helped millions of people access markets, hospitals, and schools. 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.
The World Bank was among the first development partners to support Bangladesh following its independence. The World Bank has since committed more than $29 billion in grants and interest-free credits to the country. In recent years, Bangladesh has been among the largest recipients of the World Bank’s interest-free credits.
Photo of woman fishing in Bangladesh via Adobe Stock.