US support for managing wetlands, forests

US support for managing wetlands, forests

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A new ‘USAID Climate-Resilient Ecosystems and Livelihoods (CREL) program’ was formally launched Wednesday seeking to expand and strengthen USAID’s support for co-management in up to 25 of Bangladesh’s 35 protected wetlands and forests.

Environment and Forests Minister Dr Hasan Mahmud and US Agency for International Development (USAID) deputy administrator Donald Steinberg jointly announced the launch of the new programme.

US Ambassador to Bangladesh Dan W Mozena and USAID Bangladesh Mission director Richard Greene also attended the launching ceremony.

One of the primary activities of the new programme will be the generation of alternate livelihoods such as weaving, handicrafts and backyard ponds for community members living in and around protected areas to ease pressure on dwindling but highly productive forest and wetland resources.

This will increase incomes while preserving vital forest and wetland habitats for future generations, said a press release.

More resilient livelihoods and ecosystems will helpBangladeshmeet its development goals and move along the path to becoming a healthy, prosperous, middle-income country.

Since 1998, USAID has worked with the Government of Bangladesh and local communities to better manage and conserveBangladesh’s natural resources and biodiversity.

This approach of collaborative management, or co-management, between government and communities has proven to be a successful model for managing the resources on which the people ofBangladeshdepend.

Under this model, communities have a say in the management of vital habitats and likewise benefit by sharing entrance fees and other income arising from increased tourism.

USAID deputy administrator Donald Steinberg is currently visitingBangladeshto further the partnership between theU.S.andBangladeshthroughU.S.development assistance, of which CREL is an example.

The U.S. Government, through USAID, has provided over US$6 billion in development assistance toBangladeshsince 1971.  In 2012 alone, USAID provided more than US$200 million to improve the lives of people inBangladesh.

USAID supports programmes inBangladeshthat promote democratic institutions and practices, expand food security and economic opportunity, improve health and education services, and increase resiliency to climate change through adaptation and low carbon development. UNB

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