Bangladesh Environmental Issues

Image of a woman in Bangladesh planting mangrove saplingsA female farmer readies a mangrove sapling for planting. USAID sponsors mangrove tree planting in villages near the Sundarbans to help reverse deforestation and protect the coastline from storm surges caused by severe weather in the Bay of Bengal.

The majority of Bangladeshis rely on the country’s natural resources to support their livelihoods, which places tremendous strain on the environment and economy. Bangladesh is facing immediate climate change issues and must become resilient to frequent natural disasters, degradation of forest areas and wetlands, and meet the country’s energy demand without endangering the environment.

For more than a decade, USAID has helped Bangladesh protect its natural resources and biodiversity by bringing together local communities and the government to form committees that co-manage more than 700, 000 hectares of wetlands and forest areas. These community co-management groups monitor protected areas to conserve flora and fauna, prevent illegal poaching, and reduce natural resource degradation. USAID also teaches people living near these protected areas new job skills to generate alternative income sources, directly increasing economic benefits to nearly 200, 000 individuals.

Bangladesh is the most vulnerable country in the world to tropical cyclones and the sixth most-vulnerable nation to flooding. In response, USAID trains communities to become better prepared to mitigate the effects of natural disasters and recover from climatic shocks. These programs have helped establish early warning systems to alert people to flooding and incoming cyclones. USAID has also constructed multi-purpose cyclone shelters to provide a safe haven for communities and serve as primary school facilities when not used for severe weather in the most vulnerable areas of Bangladesh. In partnership with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, USAID will construct 100 shelters between 2010-2017.

In 2015, USAID programs

  • Trained nearly 160, 000 people to become less dependent on natural resources by learning new skills in agriculture, aquaculture and poultry to generate income and reduced pressure on sensitive habitats.
  • Reduced carbon dioxide equivalent greenhouse gas emissions by more than 350, 000 metric tons.
  • Supported the construction of 33 multi-purpose cyclone shelters.

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