Community based adaptation in the ecologically critical areas of Cox’s Bazar: Teknaf Peninsula and Sonadia Island – through biodiversity conservation and social protection

Project Description

Sondia Island

Bangladesh is a biodiversity hotspot with a number of internationally recognized areas of significance and it is also one of the most densely populated countries in the world. Specific guidelines are needed to manage local demand for resources and prevent the degradation of key ecosystems.

An ecologically critical area (ECA) is a category of protected area for threatened ecosystems. In 1995, the Government of Bangladesh included a provision for the declaration of ECAs in the Bangladesh Environment Conservation Act. 12 sites are currently classified as ECAs and guidelines exist to control further damage to these areas.
The ECAs in Cox’s Bazar are located on the extreme South-East corner of Bangladesh, on the border with Myanmar.
Teknaf peninsula, stretching 80km, is one of the longest sandy beach ecosystems in the world. The peninsula provides breeding areas for four globally threatened species of marine turtles and serves as a significant bird refuge for over 80 migratory species. In addition, its inshore waters are feeding grounds for a number of globally threatened marine mammals, such as the Irrawaddy and bottlenose dolphins.
Sonadia Island supports the last remnants of mangrove forests, which once stretched along most of the coastline of Chittagong and Cox's Bazar. These mangrove species are different from those found in the Sundarbans and can tolerate higher levels of salinity. The island supports a large number of marine turtles, water birds, mollusks and echinoderms.

IUCN Bangladesh, Hand to Embrace the Less Privileged (HELP), Sukhi Bangla Foundation (SBF) and Nature Conservation Management (NACOM) are working with vulnerable communities in Cox’s Bazar to increase local resilience to climate change impacts, promote conservation of biodiversity and diversify livelihood options.
Key activities

  • Assess community risk and vulnerability to climate change
  • Collect local knowledge and practices on disaster preparedness, protection and adaptation
  • Identify and prioritize interventions to enhance community and ecosystem resilience to climate change
  • Develop biodiversity conservation and climate change risk reduction action plans for sub-ecosystems and communities
  • Conduct research on climate resilient homesteads and settlements
  • Develop and support the implementation of a communication plan to promote project information and activities.

Expected outcome
Produce conservation management plans for Teknaf peninsula and Sonadia Island.
The project was supported by the Department of Environment, Government of Bangladesh.


Deer are common in the Sundarbans.