The Bay of Bengal Ocean Stewardship (Preparatory Phase)

Tags: Environmental Issues, Profile

Sea Grant model of conservation research, education and extension for the Bay of Bengal region.

GOAL: Capacity of Bay of Bengal communities has enhanced to institutionalize coastal stewardship and build ocean literate citizenry.

Details

Context and Project Development Objective

Nearly 400 million people, who live in the Low Elevation Coastal Zone (LECZ) of the eight littoral countries of the Bay of Bengal (BOB), rely on this common Large Marine Ecosystem (LME) for their subsistence. Poverty is high in the drainage basin of the Bay of Bengal Large Marine Ecosystem (BOBLME), which is also a global marine biodiversity hotspot and one of the most vulnerable regions to climate change. Pressing socio-ecological threats to this region include vulnerabilities that arise from environmental stressors like rising sea levels, extreme weather events, and loss of biodiversity and ecosystem goods.

The Bay of Bengal Ocean Stewardship project aims to address three key challenges to reduce the vulnerabilities of the coastal communities to those threats; (i) the poor state of community stewardship of coastal and marine ecosystems; (ii) inadequate capacity of the workforce engaged in coastal resilience; and (iii) the lack of trans-boundary institutional collaboration to adopt LME approach in conservation. The Project Development Objective (PDO) is to establish a permanent program by 2019 for stakeholder preparedness to adopt Sea-grant Model with a goal to enhance the capacity of BOB countries for coastal resilience. With multi-stakeholders support from Community Based Organizations, Civil Society Organizations, conservation NGOs, educational and research institutions, and youth organizations of the five beneficiary countries (Sri Lanka, India, Bangladesh, Myanmar, and Thailand), the project team will facilitate the process of strengthening locally-led conservation efforts. Given the similarities of geomorphological features and overlapping nature of socio-ecological challenges in the riverine deltas of BOB region, this project will also contribute to advancing the mission and building capacity of the National Sea Grant network, particularly through of learning sharing and peer-exchanges.

The project is structured around four interlinked components namely; Ocean literacy; Stewardship of coastal and marine ecosystems; Trans-boundary collaboration; and Project management and sustainability.

Contacts

To explore ways to collaborate, all interested partners and donors can reach us via e-mail at mbehl@uga.edu (Mona Behl, Ph.D.) or MdKutub.Uddin@uga.edu (Md Kutub Uddin Mohammad Arju) 

Overview

Summary: The preparatory phase of a long-term program for introducing applied research, extension, and public education for coastal and marine conservation in the Bay of Bengal region. The program will enable the countries to create trained workforce and build ocean literate citizenry for stewardship of coastal and marine ecosystems.  

Overall term: 2018 to 2019
Preparatory phase: January - June 2018 (As follow-on for CSP Fellowship)


CSP Leaders and Organizations

CSP Fellow: Md Kutub Uddin (Mohammad Arju)
Supervisor: Dr. Mark Risse, Director, Georgia Sea Grant
Mentor: Dr. Mona Behl, Associate Director, Georgia Sea Grant
Host Organization: Georgia Sea Grant
Home Organization: Bangladesh Youth Environmental Initiative

Thematic Area: Environmental Issues
Country of the Fellow: Bangladesh
Other Beneficiary Countries: Sri Lanka, India, Myanmar and Thailand

Co-executing Partners:
Sher-e-Bangla Agricultural University (Department of Fisheries Biology and Genetics)
Global Youth Biodiversity Network

National Partners: One National Partner in each beneficiary country.  National Partners have supported the project development and currently collaborating for resource mobilization, they will start actively collaborating for national level implementation after the inception of the first phase of the project.

Outcomes and Expected Changes

Expected Changes

The size of the workforce trained in locally-led marine conservation has significantly increased in Bangladesh and other Bay of Bengal countries. Knowledge capacity of the beneficiary countries has increased to build national Ocean Literacy programs. The partners are institutionally collaborating to adopt the Sea Grant Model of applied research and stewardship in the localized context.

Long-term Sustainability of the Project

In case, future funding after the current project period is not available, the Home Organization will continue facilitating new leaders at limited number with its own resources as an in-kind support to the coordinated effort to transform the project into a permanent program. There will be coordinated efforts to transform the learning-sharing event into a recurring International Knowledge Forum hosted by the participating countries on rotating basis. Subject to funding availability, such knowledge forum or field exposure, or practicum experience will be hosted by US institutions for selected trainees. On institutional level, this project period will be used as a window to establish strategic communication with the related government agencies in participating countries for transforming it into permanent program.