Support for Institutionalization of organized forest dependent indigenous people for the sustainability
About the Implementing organization
Name: Komolchari Polly-Kollyan Sommitee
Year of establishment: 2011
Type of organization: Community-based association or organization, Indigenous group or organization, Ethnic minority group or association
One of the main innovative solutions of this approach was by involving the indigenous people in traditional forest management practices. Firstly, allowing the natural regeneration. Secondly, enrichment plantation in the degraded parts and around the homestead. Such initiative worked to restore the forest to safeguard against extreme weather events, reduce water scarcity and secure habitat for wildlife. Prior to the initiative, freshwater was becoming scarce as rainfall was less. However, fewer trees during rain meant soil erosion and massive landslides that damaged households and sometimes resulted in causalities. Wildlife migrated as a result of habitat destruction.
Now regeneration of different forest species are seen in degraded forest. Overall water yield from the forest through the streams has increased, providing the local community with a nearby source of safe drinking water. Different wild animals has been seen in the VCF. One of the main strategies of the initiatives is institutionalization of a CBO. The CBO has been registered by government legal authority. Management of the CBOs is done by the communities themselves – which is a unique approach in the CHT. The CBO is guiding the community in conserving the VCF, supervising smooth and transparent financial transaction following a documented operational guideline. During the last seven years, they have created a revolving loan fund for providing loans for AIGAs. This fund is solely managed by concern CBO.
Forests / Rivers / Wildlife
Type of Action
Protection / Restoration / Sustainable use / Access and benefit sharing / Awareness and education / Advocacy for land & water rights
Sustainable Development Element
Jobs and livelihoods / Food security / Water security / Renewable energy / Climate action
As forests are important in reducing the accumulation of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, the activities of the project participants played a major role in combating negative environmental impacts. The initiative has also reduced environmental degradation and contributed to a safer habitat for both wild animals and humans. Many wild animals are returning to the area. The undisturbed forest is providing a natural source of fresh water to the community which is increasing as the forest is being restored. This has ensured year-round water supply not only to the Komolchari community but also to the four adjacent villages. The focus on AIGAs to reduce forest dependence as well as the installation of improved cooking stoves in most houses has contributed significantly to less forest resource collection and less fuel consumption. The increased tree cover and contributing to a reduction in landslides, which destroyed both homesteads and the forest.
Sustainable Development Impacts
The initiative is compliance a good number of sustainable development goal (SDG) by UN. It contributes to end the poverty and hunger while improving nutrition (Goal-1, 2) and it also highly promotes sustainable agriculture (Goal-2). The initiative promotes well-being for all at all ages (Goal-3). Women rights are specifically addressed in the initiative (Goal-5) and ensuring availability and sustainable management of water for all the community members are one of the key focuses (Goal-6). Many steps were taken addressing to adapt to climate change related issues (Goal-13). Finally, the overall goal of the initiative is to ensure sustainable economic growth of the community people along with ensuring sustainable manage forests, halt and reverse land degradation and providing a safe habitat to biodiversity (Goal-8, 15).
This initiative has given the community the authority of a written agreement which demarcates the area on the basis of GIS mapping. On seeing the success of this approach, adjacent communities who are also trying to manage their own VCFs have also shown an interest adopting the same approach which is planned to be rolled out to another 05 traditionally managed VCFs. The primary reason that the initiative is being scalabled local and national recognition of the VCF and its rules and regulations, which was absent prior to the initiative. In addition, the activities from this initiative are being shared with Bangladesh’s national Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT) Development Board’s VCF conservation body and it is expected to replicate such initiative with the support of government on a larger scale in other parts of CHT. Some Government, non-government organizations have approached to the CBOs to use this initiative’s findings and applying in their respective areas.
This initiative digitally demarcated the boundaries and generated detailed site maps, which was never done previously. This then gave legal strength to the traditional conservation practices and the right to maintain community land rather than hand it over for illegal intrusion. The initiative also focused on networking of local influential people such as parliament members and media representatives which then enabled community members to gain a strong stand on their land rights. The community has also approach the Hill District Council for a better legal standing than before. This initiative has been televised by national and private television channels presenting it as a model village. Some traditional VCF management committees have shown interest to learn about it and two VCFs management committees have already adopted the system. In addition, the UNDP, under the umbrella of the Bangladesh government, have already developed a plan that was motivated by this initiative.
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