People Acting through Social Mobilization for the Conservation and Wise Use of Wetlands in the South West Coast of Bangladesh
Brochure cover about wetlands in Bengali
Initiated in 2009, this Ramsar Small Grants Fund project funded through a generous voluntary contribution by the Government of Japan, aimed to disseminate Ramsar Convention messages among local communities and to promote wetland wise use in the South West Coast of Bangladesh. The project was carried out by the Coastal Development Partnership (CDP), a not-for-profit, public interest organization for progressive development & environmental conservation. CDP was established in 1997 as a coordinating secretariat for a network of NGOs trying to relieve the suffering of the people of the waterlogged areas in the southwest coastal region of the country.
With the support of the Ramsar Small Grants Fund (SGF), the project was implemented with particular focus on the Sundarbans Reserved Forest Ramsar Site, and worked with local NGOs, communities, businesses, decision makers and the fishing industry to highlight the value of the wetlands and advocate for their wise use.
Using existing CEPA guidelines developed by the Ramsar Secretariat such as the Wise Use Manual, tools were developed, translated and adapted to facilitate their use by the local community. Policy documents were adapted for field staff and used as part of a training focusing on wetland management. These adapted tools were also used by partner NGOs and schools to implement activities such as an essay writing competition on wetland conservation, community rallies and cultural programmes on the occasion of World Wetlands Day. Wetland conservation related songs, informational booklets, posters and stickers were produced and distributed at these events. A video on the value of the Sundarbans was created, distributed to different stakeholders and shown at various community fairs and festivals.
The project developed a brief advocacy report on Communicating Wetland Issues in Bangladesh and provided this report to partners for them to communicate it to local parliamentarians. Another important achievement was the launching of the Wetland Advocacy and Resource Centre website (WARC), dedicated to ensuring easy access to updated information, tools & activities, policy advocacy guidelines, future training & capacity building needs and other relevant issues about the Sundarban wetlands. The CDP will continue to maintain this site for the next ten years. The website will be updated on a regular basis with information on wetland best practices, wetland community activities, policy documents and wetland management. The CDP also aims to include incidents of wetland destruction on the website and notify relevant government agencies of these potential threats. The Secretariat gratefully recognizes the Government of Japan’s long time support of the Small Grants Fund.