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About the Implementing organization

EGREE Foundation

Country: India

Year of establishment: 2013

Type of organization: Community-based association or organization, Legally recognized non-profit status

Description

The East Godavari River Estuarine Ecosystem (EGREE) encompassing Godavari mangroves is the second largest mangrove area, after the famous Sunderbans in West Bengal. Adding to the rich and diverse flora and fauna in the region, the mangroves are also of crucial economic value to the local communities as well as major production sectors. The landscape and seascape of the EGREE are characterized by rivers and channels, natural levees, mangrove forests, tidal channels, tidal flats, a lagoon, Kakinada Bay, sand spits, mainland beaches, sand dunes and paleo sand ridges. Thirty- five different types of mangroves have been recorded from this region, and it supports an abundantly rich oral and faunal diversity. Cited as an Important Bird Area, 119 avian species have been recorded from here. It is, additionally, an essential settling site for Olive Ridley turtles, leatherback turtles and green turtles.

EGREE Foundation has been established under Andhra Pradesh Society Registration Act, 2001. It is a cross sectoral platform to facilitate implementation of biodiversity conservation initiatives through the production sectors operating in the East Godavari River Estuarine Ecosystem (EGREE). The foundation has closely worked in partnership with the Forest Department of Andhra Pradesh and has initiated several efforts, to mainstream marine and coastal biodiversity conservation. All the line departments are also members of EGREE foundation. The foundation has created awareness among the various communities and stakeholders in the region about the crucial role played by mangroves, as protectors that shield the coastal cities from cyclones.

Key activities

1. Providing support to Coromandel company for setting up the Coromandel bird sanctuary leading to conservation of 264 local and migratory bird species

2. Providing support to the forest department in developing the Coringa Wildlife Sanctuary to promote eco-tourism as an alternate livelihood opportunity - 16-fold increase in the revenue of the sanctuary, which is being redirected for the management of the sanctuary and support to the local community

3. Besides ecosystem partnerships with industries it has also created with the local communities turtle base camp watchers or nature guides

4. Communities have a stake in the well-being of the ecosystem through various livelihoods

5. Women empowerment is central to EGREE’s work, special skill development programmes were organized as a part of this project, to empower women to take up additional livelihood activities

The foundations work contributes towards achieving SDG 1, 13, 14

Nature Element

Oceans︱Coasts︱Wetlands︱Rivers

Type of Action

Ecosystem protection︱Awareness building and education︱Climate-resilient food and agriculture︱Nature-based alternatives to a carbon-intensive economy: green entrepreneurship

Sustainable Development Element

Jobs and livelihoods︱Sustainable communities and disaster risk reduction︱Partnerships

Related Sustainable Development Goal(s)

        

Environmental Impacts



• Safer migratory routes for Whale sharks, fishing cats, turtles, otters, and birds

• increased Mangrove cover in the region, due to plantation and regeneration

• Protection of nesting habitats of Olive Ridley Turtles at turtle base camp.

• Three new species of birds and one snake recorded

• Highest density of fishing cat in India recorded in EGREE (90-100)

• Whale shark rescue protocols prepared by compensating with the net loss

• Otters were counted to around 50 in the sanctuary

• In house library established to conduct research on water quality assessments in the region

• Before the project intervened, no special conservation steps taken for protecting Olive Ridley turtles.

• Micro-plans for 41 villages in the EGREE Region completed and implemented for strengthening SHGs/Community-Based Organizations (CBOs) in natural resource use and sustainable livelihoods.

• Trainings conducted on Prevention of Wildlife Crime and Trade with Emphasis on Coastal and Marine Species


CLIMATE IMPACTS

The East Godavari River Estuarine Ecosystem (EGREE) encompassing the Godavari mangroves (321 sq. km) is the second largest area of mangroves along the east coast of India. The mangroves acts as a carbon sinks enabling to mitigate climate change. It also contributes to significantly for sustaining local livelihoods. First, mangroves are critical for climate change adaptation and mitigation – esp. cyclones – which the EGREE Area is susceptible to. Increased mangrove cover results in increased carbon stocks. There is an increase of mangrove cover due to EGREEs work. Additionally, alternative livelihood opportunities will put less pressure on the mangrove cover and water bodies in an area critical for industries. Futhermore, increased mangrove cover results in more fish, thus increased income generation. Alternative livelihoods have created jobs and increased incomes for both men and women thus there has been less dependency on the environment for subsistence need.

Sustainable Development Impacts



• Community Based Eco Tourism Centres established with the support of Tourism and Forest Departments of Andhra Pradesh

• Project trained over 200 women from the coastal villages under the Skills for Manufacturing of Apparel through Research & Training (SMART) centre programme.

• Several training programmes on allied fishing practices conducted. The community sensitized to use disco nets and mosquito nets for sustainable fishing

• Mangroves, which are critical for coastal towns, are sustainability managed through well planned Biodiversity Management Plan and Working Plan through EDCs and VSSs

• Nesting habitats of the Olive Ridley Turtle have been protected and data reveals increase in the nesting vs hatching ratio

• Participation and collaboration with corporate sectors in the region played a crucial role in raising awareness

• EGREE Foundation has offered and supported the renovation of infrastructure in CWLS


RESILIENCE, ADAPTABILITY, AND SELF-SUFFICIENCY



• Increased mangrove cover: Mangrove cover ensures increased protection from climate change related disasters such as cyclones.

• Livelihoods: Skill development to promote alternative livelihoods, women empowerment

• Eco-tourism: Increased eco-tourismGender disparity was one of the other persistent issues in the local community. Special skill development programmes were organized as a part of this project, to empower women to take up additional livelihood activities that have extensively helped them to uplift their social status and recognition in the community.Livelihood activities, skill development trainings such as shell handicrafts, coir making, tailoring, embroidery, pickle making etc were undertaken especially focusing on local women. SMART (Skills for Manufacturing of Apparel through Research and Training) Centre was established to strengthen the livelihoods of local women, with the support of Ministry of Textiles, Government India.

Protection of local communities from climate change related disasters such as Cyclones trough increased mangrove cover. This results in less loss of life and property, and thus helps local communities rise above poverty. Alternative livelihoods provides more income and therefore supports local communities in getting out of poverty.


REDUCED INEQUALITIES

Gender disparity was one of the other persistent issues in the local community. Special skill development programmes were organized as a part of this project, to empower women to take up additional livelihood activities that have extensively helped them to uplift their social status and recognition in the community.Livelihood activities, skill development trainings such as shell handicrafts, coir making, tailoring, embroidery, pickle making etc were undertaken especially focusing on local women. SMART (Skills for Manufacturing of Apparel through Research and Training) Centre was established to strengthen the livelihoods of local women, with the support of Ministry of Textiles, Government India.

Protection of local communities from climate change related disasters such as Cyclones trough increased mangrove cover. This results in less loss of life and property, and thus helps local communities rise above poverty. Alternative livelihoods provides more income and therefore supports local communities in getting out of poverty.


GENDER EQUALITY

Gender disparity was one of the other persistent issues in the local community. Special skill development programmes were organized as a part of this project, to empower women to take up additional livelihood activities that have extensively helped them to uplift their social status and recognition in the community. EGREE project trained over 200 women from the coastal villages under the Skills for Manufacturing of Apparel through Research & Training (SMART) centre programme. After the completion of the training, the project helped support a group of trainees in setting up a unit for apparel designing, which would ensure the sustainability of the group post the project completion. The Disha Centre in Kakinada is the outcome of these efforts.


SOCIAL INCLUSION



• Promotion of eco-friendly tourism

• Mangrove apiculture, wherein women beneficiaries from the community are being trained in bee-keeping to provide additional income. This activity also makes a significant contribution to the declining bee population.

• Jobs to Youth as nature guides in the Sanctuary

• Implementation of 61-day fish ban in EGREE Region has resulted in 20% increase in the income to fisherman, which is a huge success for both communities and enforcement departments.

• An increase in the revenue generated by the PAs from gate receipts has been noted; from about Rs. 1,00,000 per annum, the increase reflected is now near to Rs. 1,00,00,000 (one crore). These returns will now be invested back, to the Eco development communities.

• Eco Tourism support to Coringa Tourism Point helped in increasing the revenue of Sanctuary from Rs. 780/- per annum in 2011 to Rs. 46, 90,440/- in 2017. Coringa is also home to the longest mangrove wooden board walk in India (2.8 Kms) which is a major attraction of the Sanctuary.

Scalability

Recently, the Government of Andhra Pradesh acknowledged the support given by the EGREE Foundation (An initiative of GoI-UNDP-GEF Godavari Project) and has agreed to divert 33% of the revenue to the EGREE Foundation for its future sustainability.

Replicability

Considering the successful conservation initiatives that EGREE foundation has undertaken, international donor agencies have expressed interesting in scaling up the project activities.

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