Community based sustainable management of Tanguar Haor (Bridging Phase)

Tanguar Haor, Sunamganj, Bangladesh


Project title: Community Based Sustainable Management of Tanguar Haor (Bridging Phase)

Location: Tanguar Haor, Sunamganj District, Sylhet Division

Project duration: September 2016 – December 2017

Project background: Tanguar Haor is Bangladesh’s leading internationally significant freshwater wetland that harbours a wide variety of fauna and flora. The Haor territory spans two sub-districts, Tahirpur and Dharmapasha in the Sunamganj District, covering 9,727 hectares and supporting at least 60,000 people. Numerous communities depend on the area’s natural resources for their livelihoods. In the past, Tanguar Haor was subject to the control of rich and well-connected individuals who guarded their resources fiercely, leading to conflict and violence. Declaration of Tanguar Haor as an Ecologically Critical Area in 1999 and a Ramsar site in 2000 provided an opportunity for the government to test a new management paradigm.

The wetland’s rich biodiversity posed a complex and conflicting scenario that required a holistic management approach to find the balance between conserving the natural integrity of the Haor and promoting the sustainable use of the wetland as a livelihood resource.

In 2006, the Ministry of Environment and Forests of the Government of Bangladesh, in association with IUCN, launched the Community Based Sustainable Management of Tanguar Haor (CBSMTH) project to establish a co-management system for this Haor to conserve its ecosystem values and services, and to provide a basis for an improvement of livelihoods in rural communities. The project was funded by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) and was implemented in partnership with the Center for Natural Resource Studies (CNRS), Efforts for Rural Advancement (ERA), HELVETAS Swiss Intercooperation, Bangladesh Environmental Lawyers Association (BELA) and Gana Unnayan Sangstha (GUS).

During its three uninterrupted preparatory, development and consolidation phases, spanning between December 2006 and August 2016, the CBSMTH project achieved significant milestones. Some of these achievements include the establishment of a collaborative management system through a co-management approach for conservation, and the stabilization and sustainable use of the natural resources of Tanguar Haor. These have been designed, established and practiced over the last 10 years using the said three phases of CBSMTH.

Moving forward, the knowledge, experience and platforms that have been developed as part of the earlier phases need to be systematically captured, documented and integrated with legal institutions to mainstream the management of Tanguar Haor. The Bridging Phase of the CBSMTH Project focuses on linking the ‘Tanguar Haor Management Rules’ with an overall goal of managing the resources of Tanguar Haor in a sustainable way.

Objectives of the project

a.    To strengthen co-management committees and establish cooperative societies at different levels and giving them legal footings

b.    To manage natural resources of Tanguar Haor sustainably as per ‘Tanguar Haor Management Rules’

Expected outputs

a. Tanguar Haor co-management committees guided by the ‘Tanguar Haor Management Rules’ implement their mandates effectively and independently

b. Inclusive co-operative system is established and functioning for ecosystem management

Donor:  Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF), Government of Bangladesh

Partners: NIL


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