Towards Building Coastal Resilience in South and South-east Asia

30 March 2014 | Article

Building coastal resilience is a priority as many coastal communities in Bangladesh and other Asian countries are particularly vulnerable to natural hazards, such as storms, floods and droughts, and to climate change.

With an aim to draw knowledge from other countries in South and Southeast Asia and to share lessons and practical solutions for tackling complex coastal issues, the Mangroves For the Future (MFF) in collaboration with IUCN project, Ecosystems for Life: A Bangladesh-India Initiative is holding a regional symposium on Coastal Community Resilience that has begun in Dhaka today. It will provide a platform for multi-stakeholder and multi-country dialogue on a broad spectrum of issues related to coastal community resilience and trans-boundary water resources management.

Honorable Minister, Ministry of Environment and Forests, Mr Anwar Hossain Manju, MP inaugurated the symposium as Chief Guest while Mr. Md. Shafiqur Rahman Patwari, Secretary, Ministry of Environment and Forests and Chair of National Coordinating Body of MFF Bangladesh chaired the inaugural session. Among others, Md. Yunus Ali, Chief Conservator of Forests, Bangladesh Forest Department and Member Secretary of National Coordinating Body of MFF Bangladesh and Mr. Ishtiaq Uddin Ahmad, Country Representative, IUCN Bangladesh Country Office were also present at the event.

“Understanding how people living in coastal communities cope with climate-related hazards, as well as other disruptions, can help us to design more proactive and comprehensive policies to support coastal communities’ resilience in the future” said Mr Anwar Hossain Manju, MP.

The symposium is being organized by the MFF National Coordinating Body (NCB) of Bangladesh and the MFF Regional Secretariat, with the goal of sharing experiences between Bangladesh and India, Indonesia and Viet Nam, on how to build coastal community resilience using ecosystem-based approaches. The symposium is followed by a field visit in Satkhira, a coastal district of Bangladesh.

MFF with support from Danida is piloting building coastal community resilience in Bangladesh, Indonesia and Viet Nam with a focus on building resilience of coastal communities by promoting ecosystem-based approaches and by showcasing the climate change adaptation and mitigation benefits that can be achieved with healthy mangrove forests and other types of coastal vegetation. It is also working to improve governance and management of coastal resources by promoting models of co-management, Payment for Ecosystem Services (PES) and similar resource-sharing mechanisms that will benefit traditional coastal communities in the three countries.

A diverse participation ranging from governments to civil society and member of the research community from different countries are attending the symposium. The recommendations and other key outcomes deriving from the symposium will be shared with key stakeholders, including governments, to promote future nature-based policy and practice in coastal areas.

“One of the key objectives of MFF is to disseminate scientific and local knowledge on coastal resources management that will support national to regional policies aimed at building resilience among the vulnerable coastal communities of Asia”, said Dr. Don Macintosh, Senior Adviser, MFF.  “Today’s Symposium is an appropriate platform for MFF countries to learn from each other”, he added.