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The state of Community Based Sustainable Management of Tanguar Haor, What measures are to be taken?

Anwar Hossain Chowdhury*

Tanguar Haor is the second Ramsar site of Bangladesh. Multiple International Agencies like Swedish Development Corporation (SDC) and IUCN, Bangladesh are functioning with Government of Bangladesh as technical and financial assistance provider to implement the Community Based Sustainable Management of Tanguar Haor Programme (CBSMTHP) for Tanguar Haor. This paper focuses to present an in depth analysis of Phase 1 of Community Based Sustainable Management initiative of Tanguar Haor, which is just implemented. This paper also attempts to understand what the awareness level of the local people is and how they view the issue of community based sustainable management of the area, especially for the recourses of the Tanguar Haor.

1. Introduction Bangladesh is located in the delta of the worlds major river systems. The network of the rivers and cannels and seasonal intrusion of water in to low lying lands make Bangladesh as a land of water and wetlands. More than two third of the countrys land mass may be classified as wetlands according to the definition of the enunciated in the Ramser Convention. So, wetland ecosystems are of great importance to Bangladesh because of their extent and of the critical economic and ecological role that they play in sustaining life and livelihoods in the country. Wetlands provide short- and long-term benefits and services to the people of Bangladesh including crop and fish production, swamp forest and reed land maintenance, and regulation of water flow. Wetland resources are of particular importance in the context of livelihood strategies of the poorest segments of society. Nowhere in the world are the lives of so many people so intricately linked to the productivity of wetlands. The cultural and economic functions of wetlands contribute in many ways to satisfying essential needs of large parts of the population. Wetlands are under threat from encroaching and competing forms of land-use, and the resources they contain are exploited in unsustainable ways.

The Tanguar Haor (TH) is located in the north east district Sunamgonj of Bangladesh . The haor is the home of 140 species of sweet water fishes and thousands of indigenous birds. It is also an excellent wintering site for large numbers of migratory birds. This haor also is a harbour of nonfish organisms like snails, mussels and different types of aquatic vegetation. There is a great importance of Tanguar Haor in fish Production, maintaining Biodiversity, meeting local demand and regional demand and also serve as the good source of fish seed supply for other water bodies.

*Anwar Hossain Chowdhury is obtaining his Masters of Development Studies from University of Dhaka, Bangladesh. He is currently doing his Internship Research at IUCN Bangladesh Country Office. .

This Haor has been supporting and being the only natural resource in support of livelihoods of a large downtrodden human population of fishers and other poor people of the area. Like other wetlands and inland capture fisheries in Bangladesh, it has been believed to be under rapid degradation and loss of resource base. This happens due to absence of any or planned and ecologically sound and socially acceptable practices. It is an urgent responsibility for the national and international community to intervene and undertake proper steps towards equity based and ecologically sound intervention leading to sustainable management. Conservation of Environment, saving natural habitats & the issues of sustainable development attract massive attention in the contemporary context.

This paper will focus on what measures are to be taken to ensure Community Based Sustainable Management of Tanguar Haor Programme (Phase I), in order to ensure the effective and efficient conservation related to following concerns as follow: 1. What the common people know about Tanguar haor? 2. What is the current state of Tanguar haor from different perspective like environment, living animals, birds, stakeholders? 3. How much local inhabitants know about the initiatives being taken to confront this crisis (environmental degradation) by the government & non-government bodies? 4. What is perception of the local inhabitants regarding initiatives and projects for conservation and sustainable development at Tanguar Haor (TH)? 5. What measures are to be taken to deal with the sustainable development crisis at Tanguar Haor (TH)? fisheries and surrounding peoples,

2. Tanguar Hoar : The Perspective

Tanguar haor is an important habitat in national levels not only for fish conservation and fish production but it is also a unique rendezvous of all kinds of beel organisms and its habitat in comparison to other beels in the country. It is also one of the six mother fisheries in the

5 Northeast region. This not only supports fish but also other aquatic organism and vegetation. Considering its ecological importance it has been declared as Ramsar Site.

Covering 9,727 hectares, Tanguar Haor in North-East part of Bangladesh, adjacent to the Indian border, is part of a wetland/floodplain complex of the Meghna and Surma river basin. These two rivers are among the main tributaries of the Brahmaputra river. Administratively, one third of Tanguar Haor lies in the Tahirpur Upazilla and the remainder in Dharmapasha Upazilla, both within the Sunamganj District of the Sylhet Division. About 50% of the area of Tanguar Haor is water bodies, followed by 31% crop land. In 1999, the Government of Bangladesh, recognizing the ecological importance of the area and the over-exploitation of resources declared the Tanguar Haor an Ecologically Critical Area. In 2000 the Tanguar Haor was listed as the countrys second Ramsar site wetland of international importance. The management of the haor was transferred from the Ministry of Land to the Ministry of Environment and Forests in 2001. The MoEF, under the National Conservation Strategy Implementation Project, sponsored a number of studies to determine the potential in natural resources of Tanguar Haor and to identify the causes of observed resource depletion. These studies identified lack of income and employment opportunities for the people of the basin (who live isolated on islands during the entire rainy season) as a major cause of resource depletion. The swamp forests have diminished as local people harvest wood for use as fuel, reed beds have depleted due to unsustainable harvesting practices and the fish stocks had been seriously diminished due to over-exploitation by leaseholders. The lack of any system for recognizing customary rights of use and related management schemes has alienated the haor residents and precluded the emergence of management schemes that could ensure that exploitation levels are sustainable.

In this context, the Government of Bangladesh took three important steps as follow:

1. It terminated the allocation of fishing rights to the highest bidding leaseholder, and suspended all fishing except for small scale fishing in the immediate vicinity of haor villages for subsistence purposes.

2. It prepared a management plan for Tanguar Haor, with technical support from IUCN Bangladesh, introducing the concept of wise-use of wetland resources based on the wise-use principles of the RAMSAR convention.

3. In 2003, put in place with its own resources and under the direction of the Deputy Commissioner, Sunamganj District, a protection force consisting of District Magistrates, Police Officers and Border patrol officers, to enforce a moratorium on the exploitation of Tanguar Haors natural resources.

The moratorium on exploitation of natural resources has helped the resource base to recover, but put considerable strains on the local livelihoods. It was felt that measures to allow wise-use of natural resources are now urgently needed. Although rich in resources, there is a very high level of poverty. Twenty per cent of Bangladesh rice production is from Sunamganj- Kishorganj haor region; yet Sunamganj is one of the poorest districts in Bangladesh.

3. Location of the Tanguar Haor The most important mother fishery of

Bangladesh, Tanguar Haor (TH) is located in Sunamgonj covering an area of 9,727 hectares. Geographical position of is at 25 06 to 2511 N and 9101 to 9106 E. This site is influenced by Dhanu Baulai, Surma and Jadukata Rivers. Meghalayan Hills are in the North from where number of hill streams flows to the Haor. Other important haors like Matian, Shanir and Thapner are very nearby and have some dependency with some degree of variation.
Source: IUCN Bangladesh Country Office

Figure 01: Location of Tanguar Haor at Bangladesh

7 a. Physical feature Five large central depression constitute the topography of TH which are Rowar, Rupaboi, Bherberia, Tangua and Leehchamara flanked by lowdown plain, then sloping upwards lands and then to Indian Hills. About 44 narrow water canals slope down to these beels from Indian territory and 30% of them flow water round the year while rest other remain alive only in monsoon . These water flows (narrow canals and rivers) resulting huge sediments to the Beels and adjacent upland (villages) which area could be easily traced in the satellite Map.

Source: IUCN Bangladesh Country Office

Figure 02: Full Map of Tanguar Haor Area by IUCN Bangladesh office.

Some Salient features of Tanguar Haor are: a. Deeper Beels are connected with rivers in some places rivers but these Beels are also interlinked with each other which make a unique character of these Beels elsewhere in the country.

8 b. It is claimed that Dhanu-Baulai mother fishery (The Boulai River and adjacent deeper Beels) originated from the downstream of the Baulai River and as well as from the downstream of the river Surma. c. These deeper Haors are inter-linked with each other making them unique characteristics and also inter-linked with adjacent Haors like Matian Haor and Shanir Haor. d. Shallow ground function as breeding ground of small fishes while the deeper ground for big fishes? e. There are many Kandas in the Tanguar Hoar area which are khas land though some agricultural practices are done but mainly works as grazing land for cows, buffallows, birds and fish to breed once they started submerged . Tanguar Haor consists of about 50 beels; perennial flooded parts of the haor are rich in fish. These areas retain water during the dry winter months act as shelters of mother fish. The higher grounds, known locally as kanda, located in between beels which is planted with wetland plants in order to restore wetland forests. During the monsoon, from April or May until October, the beels merge to form a single, large body of water, called a haor.

These areas remain under water for several months each year and drain gradually during the winter. Birds and plant life, as well as the areas human inhabitants, have adapted to the unique phenomenon of deep annual flooding. About 46 villages, home to 25,000 inhabitants, depend on the natural resources of the haor with the majority of local residents involved in farming and fishing. On 19 April 1999, the Bangladesh Government declared Tanguar Haor to be an Ecologically Critical Area (ECA) under the Environment Conservation Act 1995. The following year, on 10 July 2000, Tanguar Haor was declared a Ramsar site in recognition of the fact that each year the area is home to 98 species of migratory birds numbering about half a million at the peak period at the end of February each year.

b. Land use and Lease Agreement

Before Government declaration it to be an ecologically critical area and, subsequently a Ramsar site; Tanguar Haor was classified as khas (government-owned) land and was administered by the deputy commissioners office on behalf of the MoL. This official administered the process of leasing khas jalmahals to members of the local elite under a designated development project. The deputy commissioners office was responsible for receiving lease fees and sending notifications to leaseholders regarding administrative matters. Prior to 2001, the MoL leased the beels of Tanguar Haor for a maximum period of three years with a provision for subsequent renewals.

On 12 February 2001, management of Tanguar Haor was taken over by the MoEF for a period of 10 years, to ensure the conservation and sustainable management of the resources of the Ramsar site. Following this move, lease agreements covering the area were annulled. The district administration took over the task of protecting Tanguar Haor, with the support of law enforcement agencies, in October 2003.

c. Climate and Rainfall Climatic feature of Tanguar Haor (TH) are sub tropical monsoon nature with three dominating seasons likely summer, monsoon and winter. Summer is from April to June and temperature ranges from 30.9 to 33.4 degree celcious. Winter is From October to February and temperature ranges from 8.5 to 16.6 degree celcious. Humidity is 83% in wet season and 64% in dry season. Average annual rainfall is 8000 mm in northern part of Sunamgonj. Within Sylhet region out of total annual rainfall 65- 69 % rainfall occurs in summer. The spring with 21-23% of annual rainfall and the autumn experience with 6- 8%. Evaporation enhances rainfall during the spring causes flash flood in Tanguar Haor (TH) area.


4. Socio Economic Profile of the Tanguar Haor area

In order to develop a concrete knowledge base about the Tanguar Haor from socio-economic viewpoint it is essential for a community researcher to develop a good understanding about the socio-economic profile of the area as follow:

a. Biological Set Up and Fish Ecology The hoar is a large water logged areas between levees or banks of large river systems at the foothill of the, the Meghalayan- Joyanti hill Cherapunji rainforest, i.e. water is available here all year round, but the most important fact is that, water can be found here even in the dry season. Water supply varies from 7000 cubic meter/Sec to 220 cubic meter/sec in July and February respectively. The haor is enriched with clear water and is mainly due to low sediment levels in the water. In case of a river the water is in a constant flow, but in a haor the water flow is subdued which provides a shallow depth of water in most areas. It is a unique ecology.

b. Ecological Features For better management instead of restricting activity with Government Khas land of Tanguar Haor (TH) a much wider Ecological boundary has been proposed to consider making it a sense. Ecological features of TH are very distinctive; dry and monsoon are the two dominant natural condition e.g. the rainy season later lies to extreme conditions. The plant community is adaptive from dry condition to submerged condition in which they live aerobic to anaerobic condition. Though it is claimed that eutrification resulting from submerged plant hampered the fish habitat but continious wave and steady water supply do not allow this condition to become acute.

c. Environmental Features

Vegetation type are conditional to environment parameter which includes hydrology, soil, flood tolerance that regulates the growth and propagation of vegetation. Different plant communities occupy different habitats providing them a peculiar characteristics either they are tolerant to

11 aquatic and terrestrial condition for their survival and propagation. And this amphibian characteristic vegetation can be seen only in haor system and especially in TH elsewhere in the country. Aquatic environment of TH is very unique. It has traditional interaction with much dynamic way with land and water, biotic to abiotic and fish to vegetation, fish to fish even. d. Siltation and trends of Habitat Change, adaptations and fisheries resources This Haor is different from the others as no big river cross through it which is one of the major causes of low sedimentation. However, in the monsoon hill streams cause some sedimentation in the upper edge of the haor and the adjacent cluster villages. This is also creates an unique character to the beels which provides good breeding ground and habitat for the shallow water living fishes which motioned earlier. Siltation trends is not significant hence it is considered that siltation does not hamper the habitat of fish ,instead add some nutrients to soil which has good impact for agricultural activity. e. Social Set Ups -Value of non commercial items Traditionally, in the winter months, residents of Tanguar Haor were able to graze their cattle in fallow land situated between paddy fields and the beels. Grasses, reeds, twigs and leaves were harvested for fuel and thatching. Branches or whole tree-tops were collected from swamp forest for use in constructing enclosures, called khola or kathha, which entice fish to breed in them. The hijal (Barringtonia acutangula), a wetland tree species, is widely favored for this purpose. Limited bird trapping and hunting was also carried out.

Starting in 1993, the leaseholder imposed a fee of 10,00012,000 taka per 100 head of cattle for a single seasons grazing rights. Locals were also required to pay the leaseholder a fee for fattening domestic ducks at the rate of 3,000 taka for 100 ducks per season. Villagers found collecting grasses, reeds, twigs or leaves would be assaulted by the leaseholders guards. Local netters and traders were also required to pay a hefty lump sum for the right to trap birds. These restrictions enraged locals not only because they were illegal. The jalmahals lease arrangement did not award the leaseholder control over haor resources. But to add insult to injury, the

12 leaseholders associates and employees were permitted to use the same resources that were forbidden to local villagers. But that situation is overdue the banning of leasing system. Local habitants have the privilege for gazing cows, rearing ducks and collecting fuel woods without providing any fee. But there unlimited access to these valuable resources should keep under in a master plan which helps to restore the biodiversity in shape in future. Today, the concern is that similar restrictions will once again be imposed on residents of the area, now that Tanguar Haors abundance of natural resources has become the focus of conservation efforts.

f. Population and Demography The numbers of homes are some 25,000 inhabitants, living in 46 villages; most of who are engaged in agriculture and the subsistence are in fishing in the haor. Despite large-scale migration into the area, the population density of the haor basin is relatively low compared to the rest of the country. Most villages in Tanguar Haor support an average population of 500. g. Ethnicity, Religion and Culture Average household size stands at 5.8, the birth rate is high and 30 per cent of the population is below the age of 10 years. According to a survey by the Bangladesh Centre for Advanced Studies (as referred in NCS report), 100 per cent of the inhabitants of Tanguar Haor are ethnic Bengali, belonging either to the Muslim or Hindu faith. Majority of the population are culturally more or less alike with Bangladeshi culture .Two more detailed studies carried out by the National Conservation Strategy Implementation Project and released the same year revealed that there are at least 11 villages, mostly located in the northern half of Tanguar Haor, where ethnic populations belonging to the Garo and Hajong groups reside.

h. Fisher Community Fishing and farming are the principal occupations of people living in Tanguar Haor. The survey in seven villages of Tanguar Haor found that more than 62 per cent of heads of households are engaged in farming to some extent, while almost 18 per cent are day labourers and 8 per cent are

13 dependent exclusively on fishing. Day labour provides additional income for some families, while business activities are a source of income for less than 2 per cent of families in the villages surveyed. But recent trend shows the differences in the profession some sort of 70% household dependency on fishing of the resources of Tanguar Haor (TH).

i. Fish Processing and Value Addition Fish processing is very limited in the case of harvested fish in Tanguar Haor and in the area. The only Fish Landing Center established by BFDC in Dobor Ghat, Sunamgonj is far from the site and now abandoned. However, there is a private fish processing unit in Sunamgonj. CBRMP of LGED has some proposed activities in fish processing especially in promoting improved fish drying. Fish is being drying in the area traditionally by open sun drying system. Traditionally, it is reported in Tekerhat that long ago. Fish were dried and kept under the floor by digging a big hole using Chatai on all side and covered by soil. In suitable season, these fish used to sell to traders. This process was reported from multiple villages adjacent to Tanguar Haor.

j. Economic Activities Fishing carried out by the leaseholders in Tanguar Haor usually amounting 20.00 crore taka (1US$ = 69 Taka, in recent times) per year as the estimation but the local people claimed that its value may be exceed the provided amount where as the lease value of TH is 8. 20 million taka in the year 2002. Poor people were kept away from these earning sources. However, at present there is no leasing system and fishing is ban now. It was found that some 70% heads of households are engaged in fishing, 20% in other agricultural activity and 10% as day labour during 8 months (in wet season), where as it is 30% to fishing, 50% to other agricultural activity and 10% as day labour in rest 4 months (Wet season). In other profession fewer families are engaged in reed and fooder collection, fuel wood collection, sand collection, bird trapping, duck rearing etc. However, in an around 1987, it was found that 62% head of households were engaged in farming,18% as day labour , 8% in fishing and 2% in business (NCS Fisheries Report).Other economic activities of the area are Cultivation/Agriculture, Sand Collection, Coal Collection, Stone Collection, Coal Business, Navigation-passenger and goods transportation etc.

14 k. Value of non commercial items

There are some activities which does not have direct value but play important role. Among them Grazing of Cow, Buffalo, Goats, Harvesting Reeds, vegetations and collecting singra and other food materials are very important especially for poor people. Usually for the women, duck rearing is a good practice in this area. l. Fisheries Management System There are different fisheries management systems in the area. However most of them are usually with leasing system in nature. Leasing system officially had some variations in nature and mode of ground level implementation was a little different. In fact same group of influential people were in the scene whatever the management was there. Condition of caring habitat and fish as part of lease agreement was not maintained. Present management set up of Tanguar haor is non lease system by Ramsar Management. m. Mother Fishery Area in Tanguar Haor There is a great importance of Tanguar Haor in fish production, maintaining biodiversity, meeting local demand and regional demand and also serve as the good source of fish seed supply for other water bodies. Unlike other haors, there is no major khals or a river that directly connects with Tanguar Haor , providing the haor as the wetland of low sediment and with clear water and it is good ground for breeding of fishes. Sumerged and amphibian vegetation are the good habitat for small and medium size fishes mother fishes, where as natural reeds and other vegetation provide a natural ecological balance for shelter of other mother fishes. More over therte is a good abundance of food and biological situation to boost up the maturity of fishes along with the support of the supply of hill streams which keeps the reservoir in dry season.

n. Fishing Practices Various fishing activities and use of various gears in Tanguar Haor. During leasing time, hired fisherman of the lease catch the fishes and local fisherman has few or almost no access for catching fishes. Due to the customary rules of fishing, fishermans have the access only up to the

15 first of Bhadra which is also now applicable ,due to ban on fishing by the district authority. Fishing gears used in TH likely Ber Jal, Push jal, Current jal, Fash jal and some sorts fishing traps are used in this regard. The mesh size of these gears are vary according to the users and the beels.

o. Management and Conflict

The most important cause for insecurity and conflict in Tanguar Haor revolves around use of haor resources. The leasing system in place until 2001 (de facto until 2003) legally vested only limited powers in the leaseholder, but on the ground the leaseholder severely restricted the rights of local communities to access and use the same resources. Although the leasing system is no longer in force in Tanguar Haor, a survey of the insecurity and conflict issues prevalent under that system is nevertheless important because it highlights both the needs and the concerns of local communities. Their fear, as the final field studies were being conducted in 2003, was that the new management of the haor as a Ramsar site and ecologically critical area would exclude them once again and this time legally, from using the resources of Tanguar Haor to support their livelihoods. p. Community and Dependency of Haor

Wetland resources play a critical role in the lives of those residing in and around Tanguar Haor. Most economic activity carried out in the area, including commercial fishing, trade in fuel wood, hunting and trapping waterfowl, the harvesting and sale of grasses and reeds, and farming, is based on these resources. Earlier study confirmed that more than two-thirds of households in Tanguar Haor are either directly or indirectly dependent on the haor. Recent studies for profession suggests that 70% heads of households are engaged in fishing, 20% in other agricultural activity and 10% as day labour during 8 months (in wet season) ,where as it is 30% to fishing, 50% to other agricultural activity and 10% as day labour in rest 4 months (Wet season). In other profession fewer families are engaged in reed and fooder collection, fuel wood collection, sand collection, bird trapping, duck rearing.

16 q. World Heritage Site Obtaining Tanguar Haor as Ramsar Site In 2001, management of Tanguar Haor was officially handed over to the MOEF for the purpose of conservation. Leasing in the haor was also officially discontinued at this time. It took two more years for the administrative authorities to enforce the leasing ban on the ground, leading to the exit of the leaseholder from the area in December 2003. Today, Tanguar Haor is to be managed and developed as a conservation area. No specific plans have yet been implemented in this connection. The MOEF has proposed the establishment of a sustainable use zone where local fishermen will be allowed to fish on a subsistence level. At present, the authorities permit subsistence fishing in the area, and a transition from the leasing system to community-based management system is under active consideration by the government. The following table shows the status of TH and Ramsar Convention wise criteria. Table 1: Ramsar Site criteria and Conservation status at TH Sl Criteria Group A of the Criteria. Sites containing representative, rare or unique wetland types Criterion 1: A wetland should be considered internationally important if it contains a representative, rare, or unique example of a natural or near- natural wetland type found within the appropriate biogeography region. Criterion 2: A wetland should be considered internationally important if it supports vulnerable, endangered, or critically endangered species or threatened ecological communities. Criterion 3: A wetland should be considered internationally important if it supports populations of plant and/ or animal species important for maintaining the biological diversity of a particular biogeography region. Present status in TH TH is unique in nature for its unique Remarks like biodiversity - Haor and kandas - Rich submerged and terrestrial vegetation

TH has ----- no of threatened species fishes and ---- no of rare species of birds

Important plant and animals; 135 of fishes and 208 species of birds. And plants --- species

17 4 Criterion 4: A wetland should be considered internationally important if it supports plant and/ or animal species at a critical stage in their life cycles, or provides refuge during adverse Conditions. Specific criteria based on water birds Criterion 5: A wetland should be considered internationally important if it regularly supports 20,000 or more water birds. Criterion 6: A wetland should be considered internationally important if it regularly supports 1% of the individuals in a population of one species or subspecies of waterbird For several species, e. g. Baquba Wetlands. specially the northern part of TH. Specific criteria based on fish Criterion7: A wetland should be considered internationally important if it supports a significant proportion of indigenous fish subspecies, species or families, life- history stages, species interactions and/ or populations that are representative of wetland benefits and/ or values and thereby contributes to global biological diversity. Criterion 8: A wetland should be considered Internationally important if it is an important source of food for fishes, spawning ground, nursery and/ or migration path on which fish stocks, either within the wetland or elsewhere, depend. 98 no of migratory birds are available here. Rare species pallas fish eaglehaliaeetus, leucorhyphus. Endangered species like Many fish, gutum,chapila , kakila use TH as refuge shelter During adverse condition of life . Early stages million of water bird migrate here , now number comes to about 40000 migrating from mostly Erasia - Berberia beel, Lechamara beel , Rupa Boi beel . At least --- no species of water birds and supports more than 1% of birds species

Specific criteria- based on fish The wetlands of TH provide important habitat for a wide range of fish species, including several endemic species. Like Manu, Gutum, Bila. The dominant fish family is the Cyprinids. Endemic fish include Barbus. The TH provide important nursery grounds for many fish species of the Meghna and the Brammaputra

Source : Tanguar Haor Fisheries: Baseline: TARA

r. Present Ramsar Management: A status with its Benefits and Idea to People There are lots of benefits achieved due to Ramsar Site implementation and management. There are some adverse opinions but as Ramsar Site not yet gone with its full activities yet, these will change. Among them following are worth to mention:

18 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. Fish stock increased. Took control over the management and exploitation. Stopped destruction of natural resources. Stopped and restricted destructive bulk fishing (beel fishing). Allowed to grow more fish and to grow in bigger size. Allowed to strengthen the status of threaded species, and Increased biodiversity by increasing their population size.

However, management should give more emphasis to all area equally and increase patrol and as soon possible partial fishing to be allowed according to interim plan. Fishing pressure increased in the periphery People are in fear that they will not get chance to catch fish which has been changing now through motivation by the project and its partner organization work.

Normal fishing (poaching) affects fish population. But it cannot catch bigger fish from the beel bottoms or from deeper area as such fishing needs at least 2-3 weeks continuous effort by fixing fixed gears. If fishing is totally banned for long time following situation(s) may occur: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. High Natural Mortality. Aquatic Vegetation and pollution. Change of feed and column feeder to other species may shift. Imbalance predation prey relationship. Species Succession. Fall of Production.

However over fishing and improper katha setting also create many of the above conditions process of management and recommended increased level of guarding. Water clarity combined with sunshine is a perfect recipe for the growth of aquatic plants. This is a haven for fish to breed in, grow and flourish. These are the nursery beds for our wild fish population; wetlands like Tanguar are where the fish come to breed from adjacent water sources Haors are very important for the diversity of living organisms that can be found here. River, khals are around TH played important rule to keep the TH alive, supplying water in the monsoon and also in the dry season.

19 Table 2: Important Beels and Rivers/Canals of Tanguar Haor Name of Beels/Waterbody Rowa Beel Rupa Boi Beel Bherbheria Beel Hatirgata Beel Mohishergata Beel Lechchamara Beel Kulma Beel Tangu Beel Tekunia Beel Samsa Beel Name of Rivers/Canals Alamer Duar Patlai river Hashmara River Paikertola River Shib Bari Nadi Ghashi Nadi Azrakhali canal Kawar Khal Nohal Beel Araillakona Beel
Source: Tanguar Haor Fisheries: Baseline: TARA

u. Fish Biodiversity The Tanguar Haor is very rich in fish biodiversity along with other flora and fauna. Abundance of many nationally declared threatened species is interestingly abundant here. This indicates the importance of this haor in maintaining and strengthening biodiversity. In other parts where many species are rare such, TH can work as supply point from where those species can be dispersed.

Source: IUCN Bangladesh Country Office

Figure 3 :Species Composition pattern in TH on Catch basis


Source: IUCN Bangladesh Country Office

Figure 4: Species composition pattern in TH on estimated Stock basis. So not only for the Tanguar Haor area, but for other area also its proper management with conservation touch with biological consideration is important. Tanguar Haor is also home to 141 varieties of fish, more than half of Bangladeshs 260 freshwater fish species. Pallass fish eagle (Haliaeetus Leucoryphus) start to build nests in adjacent trees of Tanguar Haor at winter season. The conservation status of Pallass fish eagle is vulnerable with a population of about 2,500 to 10,000 remaining in the whole world. This species was included in 2009 IUCN Red List Category (as evaluated by Birdlife international- the official Red List Authority for birds for IUCN) as a vulnerable one. The Pallass fish eagle can only be found in Tanguar Haor area of Bangladesh, and due to conservation effort its number have increased from 18 to 33 in the Haor Area in last 2 year. The species is the hardest-toplace eagle species. It retains dark eye, bill and talons of the sea eagles. Figure 05: Pallass Fish Eagle

21 Tanguar Haor also includes 55 fish species that are threatened in Bangladesh, of which 28 are endangered. Of these 28 endangered fish species, 17 are found only in Tanguar Haor. In addition, 11 amphibians, 34 reptiles, 206 bird species and 31 mammals are found in the area. During the winter months, Tanguar Haor sees the arrival of more than half a million migratory water birds.

Source: IUCN Bangladesh Country Office

Figure 06: Migratory Water Birds of Tanguar Haor Area In the winter the Bengal raised blooms in the fields of Tanguar Haor. Tanguar Haor experiences a typical tropical monsoon climate and rains are brought to the area mainly by the south-west monsoon winds which blow from June to September.

Annual rainfall ranges from 5,000 to 6,000 millimeters. The wettest months of the Tanguar haor area includes June, July, and August.


4. The concept of Co-Managed or Community Based Haor Management

The unique feature of Community Based Sustainable Management of Tanguar Hoar Program (CBSMTHP) is embodied in its essential nature, which manifests itself not only in advocating the grassroots cause, but by ensuring the closest participation of the concerned communities all through the project process. The community people and other stakeholders actively participated and regularly suggested ways of rendering the CBSMTHP successful, functional and sustainable. The basic objectives of the Community Based Sustainable Management of Tanguar Hoar Program (CBSMTHP) are as follow: 1. Prevention and reversing the trends of wetland degradation 2. Sustainable use of Wetland resources. 3. Promoting sustainable development 4. Ensuring peoples participation in formulation and implementation of sustainable management plans. 5. Improving the quality of life with special focus on women.

So before going in to more detail about Community Based Sustainable Management of Tanguar Hoar Program (CBSMTHP) we need to understand how the concept of Community Based Management was formulated for sustainable management of natural resources.

a. What is Co-Management or Community Based Management ? Borrini-Feyerabend et al. (2004, 69) prefer using the term co-management, which they define as follows:
Co-Management (CM) of natural resources is used to describe a partnership by which two or more relevant social actors collectively negotiate, agree upon, guarantee and implement a fair share of management functions, benefits and responsibilities for a particular territory, area or set of natural resources.

The advantage of this definition is that it covers different ways in which the planning and implementing authority over natural resources can be shared among various types of social

23 actors, thus refraining from any a priori indication of which model is the most appropriate. Accordingly, this paper uses the term Community Based Sustainable Management of Tanguar Hoar Program (CBSMTHP) to designate all kinds of approaches to managing natural resources of Tanguar Haor that fit the above definition of co-management. Some advocates of CBSMTHP have assumed communities to be small spatial units, with homogenous social structure and shared norms. In fact, this is rarely found in the real world. Communities are rather characterised by dynamic relations of:


Multiple and somewhat conflicting interests, Different actors attempting to influence decision-making, and Internal as well as external institutions shaping decision-making processes (Agrawal and Gibson 1999).

The CBSMTHP program is a very unique one, because it has the triple objective of poverty reduction, natural resource conservation and good governance. The opportunity and challenge is to pursue these objectives simultaneously, as they are not, by default, mutually supportive. Involving local communities and securing the rights of poor and marginalized groups in sustainable management of natural resources is a central theme in CBSMTHP program of Tanguar Haor. The poverty-governance-environment link has been further highlighted in recent years through interventions aimed at building capacity for resilience (disaster preparedness) as well as adapting to climate change.

b. Why Community Bases Natural Resource Management (CBNRM) is important for Sustainable Development of Tanguar Haor? CBNRM is not a stand-alone solution to poverty, resource degradation and bad governance. Rather it is a development process and constant power struggle of the poor people of Tanguar Haor. Depending on the actual relations within a particular group or community of people, their knowledge and the conditions according to which they can make decisions, local communities may sometimes, but not always, be the most appropriate unit for natural resource management concepts . The close link between the three objectives of poverty reduction, resource

24 conservation, and good governance is increasingly acknowledged by various international and national actors, including development practitioners as well as conservationists, and is reflected in many countries development strategies.

Figure 7: CBNRM and its linkages to overall development objectives.

The objective of poverty reduction is closely linked with natural resource conservation, because poor people in developing countries like Bangladesh depend on natural resources for their livelihoods. It is therefore important to ensure sustainable management of these resources. Effective and equitable natural resource management and conservation, on the other hand, require genuine involvement by the social actors who depend on the resource. Involvement of poor people in natural resource management is often best achieved through decentralization of authority over the resources, and this cannot be approached in isolation from the need to promote good governance.

In simple terms, governance means the process of decision-making and the process by which decisions are implemented (or not implemented). In recent years, requirements to the political

25 and administrative system of being democratic, responsive, effective etc. have increasingly been conceptualized as important elements of good governance.

Decentralization is often seen as an important means to foster and nurture the important elements of good governance in developing countries. Policy-makers and researchers recommend decentralized natural resource management for many reasons. Some of them are that: (i) Local people are likely to identify and priorities their environmental problems more accurately than centralized organizations. (ii) Resource allocation is more efficient and transaction costs lower when decisions are taken locally, so that state expenditure on management can be reduced, while resource conservation is improved. (iii) Local groups are more likely to respect decisions that they have participated in taking. (iv) (v) Monitoring of resource use is improved, and Marginalized groups gain greater influence on local policy.

The three core objectives of poverty reduction, natural resource management and good governance are not always mutually supportive, and CBNRM is not always a realistic option, but this is a experiment in Bangladesh done by IUCN Bangladesh Country Office to check the level of community awareness and involvement for natural resource management for a sustainable future. Depending on how it is pursued, conservation of natural resources can even be contrary to poverty reduction. A community may, for instance, have to reduce or completely stop their extraction of a particular natural resource in order to gain authority over it and to maintain its productive potential.

This will have at least short-term negative impacts on households whose livelihoods rely mostly on products from this resource, unless they are compensated for their (short-term) loss. Likewise, in situations where strong political or commercial interests are against decentralized natural resource management, CBNRM may not (yet) be politically feasible, but the people of TH are trying their best to look for other job options and to give up their forefathers profession, fishing namely as they are now aware of its consequences and impact of it on Tanguar Haor.


In fact, there are still very few well-documented examples of CBNRM delivering on all three objectives and thus Tanguar Haor is becoming a notable example of CBNRM. While the theoretical foundation for CBNRM is sound, successful fulfillment of its triple objective is likely to be a long-term process of changing and constantly adjusting balances of power at all levels of society. This requires both political will as well as professional skill bodies like IUCN Bangladesh Country Office.

c. Three different levels for success of CBSMP at Tanguar Haor

This paper also addresses that, successful implementation of

CBSMTHP at Tanguar Haor

requires huge change in the mind set at three differently identified levels of the society to optimally pursue the triple objective of poverty reduction, natural resource conservation, and good governance. The three different levels of CBSMTHP program support are: 1) The National level, 2) The Intermediate level. And 3) The Local level,

Figure 8: Three levels at which to support CBSMTHP initiatives

27 At the National level, policies and the legislative framework normally needs adjustment and revision to establish an enabling environment that makes CBSMTHP attractive to local communities. At the National level, the main issue is how to support policy processes and legal frameworks for an enabling environment for conservation. At the Intermediate level, it is important to promote the model of decentralized natural resource management that is most likely to work under the given political circumstances. In particular, this involves a choice between: (i) Devolution of natural resource management authority to elected local governments/ representatives, community leaders , and (ii) Deconcentration of line agencies, authorizing district-level officers to delegate management authority to local communities. So at the Intermediate level, the key concern is how to institutionalize CBSMTHP either through local governments under a devolution process or through deconcentration of line agencies, which delegate authority to local communities.

At the Local level, it is crucial that CBSMTHP establishes significant economic incentives for managing and conserving the resource, which is closely related to clearly defined and officially supported tenure systems, as well as to revenue-sharing mechanisms. For this level, the principal question is how to organize the collaboration between social actors and their relationship to the natural resource (Fig. 8).

Furthermore, CBSMTHP should result in a coordination of resource use by numerous individuals, thus establishing an optimal rate of production and consumption at the local level as well as for society at large. CBSMTHP is not a stand-alone solution to secure poverty reduction, resource conservation and good governance, and whether other resource management systems would be better will always be subject to context analysis and political debate. Accordingly, CBSMTHP is rather a development process and constant struggle to ensure sustainable conservation of Tanguar Haor resources and community members.

28 5. Response of the FGD on CBTHP Program, what measures are to be taken?

The Focus Group Discussion was conducted on 13th October, 2009 on three randomly selected villages at Tanguar Hoar area. The FGD are done by me as a part of this paper research, where common fishermen were asked about their views and opinions about sustainable

development impact and conservation process of CBSMTHP. The villages were as follow: Figure 09: FGD at with local fishermen of TH area. 1. Village : Joypur ( Adjacent to Tanguar Haor Area) 2. Village : Chiragoan ( Adjacent to Tanguar Haor Area) 3. Village : Mondiata ( Adjacent to Tanguar Haor Area) All of the three villages are located at adjacent to Tanguar Haor, and selected randomly for opinion collection, and no officials of IUCN Bangladesh Country office or Government officials were present. At each Focused Group Discussion (FGD) the participants were 10-15 fishermen from each village, who shared with the paper writer how they see and feel, how they react to The state of Community Based Sustainable Management of Tanguar Haor, and what they feel, they need to do more for a more effective and efficient community based sustainable management of Tanguar Haor?

The visits made were sudden, without prior notification, and I tried to represent myself as a independent researcher and a sympathetic friend to the fishermen to bring out the true feeling and realization of the people for the impact of the CBSMTHP.

29 a. Individual level & Community level response The Focus Group Discussion responses from at Individual level and at community level are presented in the summarized manner: 1. The IUCN, SDC and GOB jointly developed a system of commercial and non commercial fishing by issuing cards for inhabitants/fishermens of TH. The cards were given to fishermens across the TH area with a initial annual fee of Tk 500 and a monthly fee of Tk. 100/ each.

2. The fishermen forms groups to develop cooperative society and to work in the alternative job scopes like cattle farming, duck farming, Cattle breeding, plantation of Robi Crops like BORO 28 ( a water tolerant variety of paddy which grows in winter) during winter, in order to survive. 3. Sometimes Fishermen finds out the biggest dilemma, that by paying bribe of only Tk.50 to administrative agencies like Ansers ( local Police Force) of Tanguar Haor area, some corrupted fishermen and agents from local water lords can carry on fishing without any problem, which indicates the intermediate level is not functioning properly. 4. The fishermen of Tanguar Haor was very much confused with this illegal fishing practices, under direct supervision of administrative agencies like Police and Anser, which raised many logical questions and the common people started to believe the Ramsar site declaration, and IUCN is a project in nothing but to hurt the fishermen's right and livelihood and gain profit from the stock of fishes of this area. 5. When this problem was communicated to IUCN officials of the area, they took serious effort to involve and empower the community people to develop awareness and to protect illegal fishing and migratory bird hunting; developed community based petrol force to the response to the problems. 6. To ensure proper supervision at of the project area, and to minimize illegal fishing IUCN Bangladesh office set up IUCN regional office, at the Sunamgong District and uses

30 partner NGOs office and recourses for community participatory meeting. Beside the stated arrangements, schedules for regular as well as sudden inspection of the Tanguar Haor area was developed and implemented for the last two year by IUCN regional office and district administration as well. 7. There are some limitations of using haor in the present administrative arrangements. For example, people are allowed to use the haor for agriculture, non-commercial fishing, transportation, and other activities but they are barred by the district administration for commercial fishing and collection of fuel wood from the remaining (or reforested) swamp forests. They are permitted by the district administration to raise ducks and use the grass land for grazing animals during the winter seasons. However, on many occasions, there have been restrictions placed. Nearly 50% of the restrictions were imposed by law enforcing agencies that are mandated to manage the Haor. 8. For some fishermen, fishing is their four generations profession for livelihood. So giving up this profession was not easy. But as there are restrictions in fishing activities in Tanguar Haor area for conservation, the fishermen of the area realized its benefits and ready to sacrifice their professional comfort, and forced to choice other difficult profession like working as a day labor in the adjacent coal carrying or at stone carrying agencies from India (the neighboring country India, export coal and stone in Bangladesh by the adjacent border area), stone broker, seasonal farmer, hired boatman and what not. 9. The misery of communication is still very acute in Tanguar haor area, and is well reflected by a villagers statement the villages of Tanguar are so remote that even news from the radio reaches a day later.

10. The schools in the village are without teachers and as one of the village heads put it, nobody wants to stay in Tanguar to teach at schools and we also cannot find local girls [qualified enough] to be appointed in the school as teachers.


b. Accomplishments of Community Based Sustainable Management of Tanguar Haor.

According to the fishermen of all three villages, the accomplishments within the CBTHP Program period are considerable and significant. The project has set five objectives under the goal of initiate and test a co-management system for Tanguar Haor and obtain necessary policy, administrative and community support to commence a comprehensive co-management system for Tanguar Haor in future.

So far, the project has successfully engaged community in developing the co-management structure, advancing local leadership, organizing and supporting livelihoods activities within the co-management structure and instilling self-help motivation among the community. On the policy ground, a milestone is achieved by obtaining government formal notification to allow harvest fish by the community people and benefit sharing modalities among community people, community organization and government. Accordingly fish harvest piloting was done and ushered a new management system for Tanguar Haor.

1. Institutional development: A co-management model was developed for accessing Tanguar Haor natural resources. This was a result of concerted efforts, culminating with a formalized arrangement acceptable to the people, district administration and the Government. A co-management structure, emanating from a series of discussions and deliberations, was proposed to the Government of Bangladesh. It has different levels of functions starting from village to district level for the community to participate and the organization to negotiate/interact with the government machinery and vice-versa, to manage both the TH resources as well as to ensure the welfare of the communities. The main elements of the proposed structure are indicated below:


A Central Adhoc Committee (CAC) was formed with the elected representatives of the union leaders who sit with partners at a regular interval to plan and review the progress of project activities. This committee has two decision making tiers. One is 36 member Central

32 General Body comprising all 9 Executive Committee members of all 4 unions. The other is 9 members Executive Committee elected by the general body. According to the constitution, the executive committee makes a plan every month that needs to be endorsed by the general body. It is expected that this committee will participate in Tanguar Haor Management Committee (THMC) meeting to represent the community after having organizational coverage in all 88 villages.


Union level committee [currently referred to as the Union ad hoc Committee (UAC)] was formed as the decision making platform in regard to resource harvesting and to work as interface to consolidate and facilitate livelihoods/IGAs of the village; it will also interact and negotiate with the UP and line agencies for soliciting support. This Committee has two decision-making tiers. One is union General Body made up of all executive members (5 in each group) formed in all villages under the same union. The General Body will elect a 9member Executive Body for a one year term from amongst the general members in each union. This Executive Body of UAC willconduct day-to-day activity of the project. Four Union ad hoc Committees (UACs) were formed in Uttar Sreepur and Daxin Sreepur under Tahirpur Upazila and Uttar Bangshikunda and Daxin Bangshikunda under Dharampasha upazila of Sunamganj district. UACs are supposed to represent the communities in co-management discussions with Union Parisad, the lowest administrative tier of local government.


Village Committees were formed in 48 villages under the guidance and supervision of the Executive Body (EB) of UAC. These 48 villages were selected for IGA piloting. The EB of UAC showed their spontaneous dynamism by forming two subgroups/ taskforces to develop the constitution, formulate the functions and responsibilities of UAC, and the working modalities. Although groups were formed in

33 48 villages, village representatives were elected in all 88 villages. It will help in up scaling the project in future with minimum effort.


In order to install democracy, elections were conducted to select representatives. There was a great deal of enthusiasm amongst the community. Of note is the election of a woman as a Vice Chair, in spite of the traditional parda practice. Indigenous peoples were also elected by the representatives. Overall, there is satisfaction amongst all stakeholders in the general representation of communities, as all strata in the society are now represented.

2. Platforms to support co-management: The Ministry of Environment and Forestry (MOEF) has formalized the Project Steering Committee (PSC) at the national level. The PSC is chaired by the Secretary, MoFE, and is comprised of 19 members from 8 ministries and 6 state agencies. The Project Steering Committee is expected to evolve into a national level platform/ network for wetlands and floodplain management and draw lessons from Tanguar Haor experiences, and be in a position to formulate policy recommendations of a general nature concerning the management of wetlands and floodplain ecosystems elsewhere in Bangladesh.

At the regional level, the Tanguar Haor Management Committee at the Sunamganj level has been in operation since 2007. A total of 11 meetings have been held since the inception of the project. THMC has taken a lead role in providing stewardship in taking policy support in project implementation, monitoring activities and synthesizing the critical issues which required decision at the policy level, and has made appropriate recommendations to the MoEF. Considering the needs of the Haor people, three more departments, namely agriculture, livestock and BADC have been included as co-opted members of THMC.

3. Knowledge Management: The Project has developed a database as the main vehicle of knowledge management. The database includes census, progresses of project

34 activities and socio-economic data gathered during the project. Additionally, a GISbased database is available for all mauza level resource bases, which has been very useful in local institution building processes. Currently, TH is a major component in the website of IUCN Bangladesh Country Office .

The Self-Help Credit details and transactions are currently available electronically. Tanguar Haor Information Centre was established in May 2008 in the Deputy Commissioners office in Sunamganj. All reports, maps, a DVD on bird, 3 video documentaries capturing (i) leadership development process, (ii) Participatory Resource Management process and (iii) institutional mechanism and publications are available in this centre. Also, 46 fish species from Tanguar Haor, 12 traditional fishing traps, resource use maps, and resource mobility maps are available. The Project has undertaken several studies and generated a series of reports which would enhance the current knowledge on Tanguar Haor.

4. Comprehensive long-term plan for development phase: Based on the work done during the project, and having taken into consideration the expectations and aspirations of the communities, the district administration, the Ministries and other stakeholders, a proposal for the Development Phase (Phase II) was developed. 5. Policy outreach and pilot harvesting: A milestone achievement during the project is to influence policy to provide endorsement on the benefit sharing mechanism from harvest. The resource sharing modality agreed by the Government, the District Administration and the communities is as follows: Harvesters = 40% of the income Community organisation = 36% of the income Government = 24% of the income (for reinvestment)

This arrangement was supported by the THMC and the MoEF has endorsed the modality through a gazette notification in April 2008.

35 The first pilot fish harvest was undertaken on 13 April 2008. A total of 75 fulltime fisher who represented the poorest segment of the Tanguar Haor community participated in the pilot fishing. The number was limited to 75 as UAC leaders wished to ensure that the process works well to gain the necessary experience. The harvested fish was sold on the spot through open auction, and the proceeds were immediately distributed as per MoEF notification.

c. Way forward for a sustainable future of Tanguar Haor The experience gained in the first sale was analyzed at length in the THMC meeting and in the Steering Committee meeting headed by Secretary MoEF. The fishing effort was very well appreciated by all concerned. It was recommended from both THMC and STC levels that the model should be up scaled to large scale community so that they appreciate the value of access to the resources.

Up scaling the pilot fishing effort was done in 16 January, 2009. With consensus from all, a total of 778 fishers were selected as participants in the up-scaled fish harvest. 43 formal village committees, 4 Union ad hoc Committees (UAC) and the Central ad hoc Committee had been facilitated in selection process and fish harvesting. These fishers are full-time fishers by profession and represent the poorest segment of the Tanguar Haor community. They represented all four unions and are from all areas of the Tanguar Haor.

In the up-scaled fishery effort, a total of BDT 2,912,422 has been earned. Of this, a sum of BDT 1,164,970 (or 40%) was allocated to the fishers as their share, and a sum of BDT1,048,473 (or 36%) to the community organisations, and the balance of BDT 698,979 to the GoB as its share for reinvestments. Community share of BDT 1,048,473 (or 36%) has been kept in a separate bank account opened by CAC in Sonali Bank branch, Tahirpur. Bank operation procedures have been finalized as per instruction from THMC.

36 The co-management and benefit sharing approaches introduced is novel to all stakeholders. IUCN recognizes that this is a major concession by the Government, as in many parts of South Asia natural resources exploitation is heavily controlled by the Governments. The confidence placed by the Government of Bangladesh in allowing piloting of this scheme should not be misplaced. Indeed, this requires regular mobilization and awareness creation amongst all stakeholders, in particular the users. In the Phase II, the access rights hitherto granted to fishery may be extended to other resources such as forest, reeds etc. The studies in Phase I have indicated the need for increasing the boundary of Tanguar Haor to encompass the ecological and socio-economic considerations. Such an action, together with appropriate zoning, will enhance the chances of success in the co management model.

Whilst the co-management aspects take the lead, it is also necessary that the ecological integrity of the Haor system is not degraded any further. It would be opportune to explore ecosystem restoration activities, at least in a pilot scale as it is known that only 23 water bodies are in good condition.

37 6. Lesson Learned In one of the Focused Group Discussion session, an old fisherman said to me, In order to ensure proper conservation of fishes, the government need to save the fishermen's of the area also. If humans survivals are threatened at Tanguar Haor so will be the fishes and will result in failure of conservation initiatives. As I asked him about his opinion, what should we do? And he replied to me in laymens term, teach us some new ways to generate income, so we dont need to catch the fishes, or birds and we can have foods three times in a day.

Livelihoods in a sustainable manner at Tanguar Hoar really addresses two of the most important problems of our time. On the one hand, there is the simple fact that our world cannot continue to sustain the way we use natural resources and produce waste. On the other stands the stark reality that large parts of humanity have no part in the benefits of this use of resources. Ecological constraints and poverty are both really major issues, and we need dedicated and well-trained people to search for possible solutions. These two issues, as different as they seem, are in many ways linked. Sustainability is not just a matter of the environment; it also has its social, cultural and economic dimensions. Working towards sustainable development calls for a re-think of the objectives of society, of what our objectives should be and how we may realize them. This calls for an approach that cuts across borders, and combines insights from different academic disciplines. And beyond good thinking, it calls for a practical, problem-oriented outlook.

Effective policies may have a very beneficial impact. But policy making is too often based on insufficiently tested ideas. Hence the focus is on livelihoods in studying sustainability and development. So, my emphasis in this paper , was to identify and to present how the community and various interest groups experiences about CBSMTHP at Tanguar Hoar , and what we need to do for a sustainable futire of Tanguar Haor .


6. Recommendations

Making the poor people of Tanguar Haor more prosperous will not necessarily help the environment in sustaining, nor will improving environment quality necessarily make the life of the poor more prosperous. This paper underscores the point that poverty- environment dynamics are contingent on numerous factors including the type and nature of poverty involved, ecological characteristics of the area, and a number of conditioning factors centering the relevant institutional arrangements which influence mass behavior. Practicing participatory approaches in Community Based Sustainable Management of Tanguar Haor Programme (CBSMTHP) issued positive signals for grassroots stakeholders capacity for planning, implementing and management of the ecosystem in a sustainable manner.

On the basis of the Focused Group Discussion conducted in the three villages, the following recommendations were developed for IUCN Bangladesh Country Office (IUCN,B) , the leading partner/ technical advisor of the Community Based Sustainable Management of Tanguar Haor Programme (CBSMTHP): 1. IUCN,B have to reshape there strategy from country perspective, as its a accepted body of specialized specialist, local people are used to listen to their opinion and expertise, it have to develop some groups of NGO, activist, or third party- who will help them to implement the conservation aspects properly and in a more viable manner in the TH area. 2. IUCN,B need to communicate and develop regional and zonal operational institution using community members to promote sustainable activities at TH area, and to ensue this institutions get necessary support from IUCN,B as well as other Administrative and social levels. 3. Arrange to allow the village peoples to use village side water bodies or ponds for Co- managed / IUCN,B Managed community based fish cultivation project to ensure fishermens survival and alternative job scope.

39 4. Arrange alternative Job scope to ensure generation based fishermens survival by village based projects like Duck Farming, Cattle farming and breeding programs. Honey Bee farming, Baira-the Floating Gardens for Sustainable Farming Technique. 5. As Flash flood water intervention is a common problem of the area, IUCN Bangladesh office should train and prepare the locals for harvesting Water Tolerant Crop verities and ways to develop strong water embankments to protect the harvest.

Tanguar Haor remains an important wetland with a large population dependent on its resources. Over the years, its productivity is presumed to have decreased, and the overall ecological conditions too have degenerated.

The need for establishing the practice of Ramsar wise-use principles is the need of the hour. This is to be facilitated through a co management process with benefit sharing regime so that the widespread poverty of the communities around the Hoar can be addressed.

The pilot scale efforts implemented in the Tanguar Haor in regard to co-management and benefit sharing are landmark achievements; nonetheless these efforts have to be consolidated and finetuned so that all stakeholders are comfortable with the arrangements.

I want to end my paper using extract from Nobel Prize winner Amartya Sens lecture series in Sustainable Development, where he said, Behavioral change can also make a difference. Policy makers must ensure that information is provided to consumers to empower conscious decisions. Consumers are very much interested in knowing more about what they could do to protect the environment, consume less energy, and fight climate change.

40 Acknowledgements Sincere thanks to Dr. Niaz Ahmed Khan, Country Representative of IUCN, Bangladesh Country Office for his cordial support and time and valuable suggestion.

Special thanks goes to Mr. AFM Rezaul Karim, Project Manager, Community Based Sustainable Management of Tanguar Haor Programme (CBSMTHP), IUCN, B for his extended cooperation.

Thanks to Mr. Dhruba Kanta Kunda, Project Officer of CBSMTHP, ICUNB for detailed briefing about the project and providing us related reading materials and maps.

Thanks to Mr. Yahia Sazzad, Project Coordinator, of CNRS, Tahirpur Office, for his cordial support during field visit transport and accommodation management.

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