Published by Market Forces and 350.org, and co-published by Bangladesh Poribesh Andolan (BAPA), Transparency International Bangladesh (TIB) and Waterkeepers Bangladesh, this new publication exposes foreign-led finance as the driving force behind plans for 29 coal-fired power stations, an expansion that has seen Bangladesh leap, within just 3 years, from 12th to 6th i
(Photo: SSNC) The negative patterns of land grabbing and intimidation recorded by a Swedish Society for Nature Conservation (SSNC) investigating team in shrimp farming areas around Khulna, Bangladesh clearly affect entire families whose lands and livelihoods have been destroyed.
Women of South Asia working in several areas including health, nutrition, livelihood, environment, gathered in Dhaka, Bangladesh on July 2 and 3, 2011, for the Third Annual Conference of SWAN (South Asia Women’s Network), which was dedicated to the theme of “Women of South Asia and the Green Economy”.
Sicilia Snal (25), is a Garo woman of the forest village Sataria in the Modhupur sal forest. It is merely a 62 thousand acres forest patch, yet the third largest forest of Bangladesh, a country having one of the lowest per capita forest coverage on earth. Sicilia has to routinely visit the nearby forest to collect firewood. This is a traditional right that she and other villagers have always enjoyed.
The last remnants of forests in Bangladesh are disappearing and much of the blame goes to local peoples’ “slash and burn” agriculture. The government –supported with loans and funds from multilateral and bilateral financial institutions- is actively promoting the plantation of trees and would thus appear to be trying to revert the situation.
The Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT) in southeastern Bangladesh bordering Burma is one of the last remaining forested regions in the country, and is the ancestral domain of a dozen indigenous communities collectively known as the Jumma peoples (from “jum” = shifting cultivation). These peoples have ethnic, linguistic and religious identities totally different from the Bengali Muslim majority. Under British rule, the region was autonomous, largely off-limits to outsiders and almost exclusively inhabited by indigenous peoples.
Industrial shrimp farming has been a major cause of mangrove wetlands destruction in Bangladesh –some 45%- and has led to biodiversity loss as well as to the loss of livelihood for millions of people who have depended on mangroves.
On Nov. 7, 1990, Koronamoyee Sardar was killed by an armed gang of hired thugs whose aim was to set up a shrimp farm at Horinkhola Polder 22. The local villagers, led by Koronamoyee, resisted this invasive force. On that fateful day, Koronamoyee became a martyr for her cause, and in the eyes of her people she remains their heroine in their decade long ongoing struggle against the surrounding oppressor.
Bangladesh is one of the states signatories of the Convention on Biological Diversity. Nevertheless, the three types of forests existing in the country --the evergreen and semi-evergreen rainforests in the eastern region and at the Chittagong Hill Tracts region, the moist and dry deciduous forests, known as “sal” forests, situated in the central plains and the northeast region, and the tidal mangrove forests along the coast-- are under threat, and little is being done to save them. In the meantime, annual deforestation rate has reached 3.3%.