Bangladesh is rich in biodiversity. The country has about 113 species of mammals, over 630 species of birds, 125 species of reptiles and 22 species of amphibians. It has 260 freshwater species and 475 marine species. As far available information, other faunal species include 327 mollusks and 66 corals. Status of insect species is not available but it is reported to be highly diverse.
Bangladesh has been the abode of 5000 angiosperm species and several subspecies. Of them 160 species are used as crops. The crops are rice, wheat, jute, pulses, oilseed plants, minor cereals, sugar corps, fruit plants, vegetables, root rubber crops, spices, forest trees, beverage crops, flowers, medicinal and aromatic plants and other wild plants.
Rice grows throughout Bangladesh which has 30 agro- ecological zones. During 1910 to 1925 about 2000 Aus, Transplanted Aman and deep water traditional rice varieties were collected out of which 800 were deep water rice. By 1960, the collection of indigenous rice varieties rose to about 3000. During 1979-80 , a total of 12479 names of rice were listed by a survey in the country.
Bangladesh has signed, ratified, accepted and acceded to CITES, World Heritage Convention, Ramsar Convention, CBD, Climate Change Convention and Convention to Combat Desertification. Thus it adheres and commit to the conservation of biodiversity and the environment.
Since signing and ratification of the CBD respectively in 1992 and 1994, the status of implementation of CBD in Bangladesh can be measured on the following activities as outlined against the concerned issue and Article of the CBD below:
Article 5 (Cooperation)
Bangladesh faces the Bay of Bengal in the south and has international border with India in the west, north and northeast; and Myanmar in the southeast. It has very similar biodiversity both in ecosystem and species with the above two countries. Till date we have not been able to identified any issue in respect of constraints of biodiversity conservation. However, we have signed agreement with India for sharing of Ganges water. Recently, we are in the process to develop common approach for conservation of Sundarbans, particularly the World Heritage Sites of the Sundarbans of both part of Bangladesh and India.
Article 6 (Strategies, Plans and Programmes)
Bangladesh has initiated the preparation of Biodiversity Strategies and Action Plan (BSAP) for conservation of biodiversity in Bangladesh under the sponsorship of the GEF. Hopefully, the BSAP of Bangladesh will be completed within 2001. However, in the mean time, Bangladesh has prepared National Conservation Strategy (NCS) and the National Environment Management Action Plan (NEMAP). Both NCS and NEMAP contains national strategy and national program for conservation of sites important from biodiversity consideration.
Article 7 (Identification and Monitoring)
Bangladesh has high diversity of species and has also quite a diverse ecosystem. As for example the country has tiger, elephant, Ganges dolphin, Whitewinged Wood Duck, Palasss fishing Eagle, Python, River Terrapin which are globally threatened species. We have been working for conservation of these species along with their habitats since emergence of Bangladesh as an independent country. IUCN Bangladesh Country Office has prepared Red Data Book of animals and these are under process of printing. We have undertaken small initiatives with the cooperation of IUCN Bangladesh Country Office and Bangladesh National Biodiversity Group for generation of knowledge for conservation of the high profile and threatened biodiversity of the country. Under the programme of Waterfowl census, we share with the regional programme and count waterfowls in the major wetland sites of the country in the month of January and February every year.
Recently, faunal survey has been completed in five ecologically critical areas namely St. Martins Island, Himchari Coastal Belt, Tanguar Haor, Baind Tract and Chalan Beel. National Herbarium has also conducted floral survey in these areas.
Article 8 (In situ Conservation)
As a means to conserve biodiversity in in situ condition, Bangladesh has three acts in which there are provisions for conservation of biodiversity through creation of Wildlife Sanctuary, National Park, Game Reserve, Fish Sanctuary, Ecologically Critical Area (ECA). So far, we have established 8 wildlife sanctuaries, 5 national parks and 1 game reserve under the provisions of the Bangladesh Wildlife (Preservation) Order, 1973; and seven ECAs under the Bangladesh Environment Act, 1995. Fish sanctuary is established under the Bangladesh Fish Act, 1950 for seasonal protection of fishes, and their habitats.
Very recently, the Council of Ministers (Cabinet) has approved a proposal to continue the moratorium on logging of trees in the reserve forests of the country. It should be mention here that the moratorium was imposed in 1989 by the Ministry of Environment and Forest.
Article 9 (Ex situ Conservation )
Bangladesh has ex situ gene bank facilities. An important gene bank has been established for conservation of rice genetic resources is located in the Bangladesh Rice Research Institute. This bank has so far collection of 4523 varieties of traditional rice and including exotic varieties. It has a total of 7439 collection of rice varieties.
Article 10 (Sustainable use of components of biological diversity)
Prior to the signing and ratification of CBD by Bangladesh, it completed two major conservation initiatives namely a) National Conservation Strategy (NCS) and b) National Environmental Management Action Plan (NEMAP).
Under NCS the country undertook a project titled "National Conservation Strategy Implementation Project I". This project has the main purpose to prepare management plan in the biologically rich and intensively used ecosystems. The two main ecosystems included in this project are i) Tanguar Haor in the northeast region of Bangladesh and ii) The southeast hill forest including the only offshore island Narikel Jinjira (St. Martins). This project is at its final stage of implementation.
Under NEMAP, the country has undertaken for implementation of a project titled "Sustainable Environment Management Programme" (SEMP). This project has total of 26 components of which three components are directly concerned with the conservation of biodiversity in the wetlands and in the floodplains of the country through community participations.
In addition to the above two initiatives the concerned sectoral and sub-sectoral authorities e.g. Ministry of Environment and Forest through Forest Department, Forest Research Institute, Bangladesh National Herbarium and Department of Environment have various normal and development activities for conservation of biodiversity at species and ecosystem level. The current major development projects of Forest Department are Forest Resource Management Project (FRMP), Forestry Sector Project (FSP), Green belt project in the coastal districts and Biodiversity Conservation of Sundarbans Reserve Forest. Forest Department has also implemented the training part of the project on "Training on Conservation of Wetlands in Bangladesh" funded under the SGS of Ramsar Convention. The other component of the project for preparation of a Wetland Conservation and Training Manual is under progress.
Department of Environment (DoE) has completed implementation of the pre-feasibility part of a project for conservation of biodiversity in the wetlands of the country. Currently, DoE has undertaken a project for biodiversity conservation for preparation Bangladesh Environmental Management Plan (BEMP).
Ministry of Fisheries and Livestock has implemented 3rd phase of the fisheries management project. It has now initiated implementation of 4th phase of the fisheries management project.
Bangladesh Agricultural Research Council (BARC) is an agency resonsible for coordination of research for conservation of biodiversity in the country. It also assist for preparation of Policies, Acts and Guidelines in agricultural sub-sector of the agriculture sector. This agency has assisted drafting of the bio-safety rules for approval of the competent authority.
Article 11 (Incentive measures)
Bangladesh has not yet been initiated for adopting tools of biodiversity conservation.
Article 12 (Research and Training)
Bangladesh has by now, established several training and research institutes in addition to the scientists and teachers working in the universities and non-governmental organizations. Besides, the Ministry of Science and Technology has been conducting academic researches in the field of biodiversity since the independent of the country. Moreover, every sectors and sub-sectors has training and research institute for development and management of biodiversity in the country. As for example, there are several research institute for agricultural crop biodiversity, such as Bangladesh Agricultural Research Institute, Bangladesh Rice Research Institute and Bangladesh Jute Research Institute. Forestry sub-sector has Forest Research Institute; Fisheries sub-sector has Freshwater Fisheries Research Institute, Brackish water Fisheries Research Institute, Tidal water Fisheries Research Institute; and Livestock Department has Livestock Research Institute. There is an institute for Tea Development in the country.
The most important gap regarding biodiversity research and training is the lack of any institute for taxonomy of biodiversity. For this reason, the concerned field managers are not in a position to identify the biodiversity and biological resources for proper conservation and management as per requirement of the national and international purposes as well as implementation of CBD in the country.
Article 13 (Public education and awareness)
In Bangladesh, all development projects contain components for public awareness and education with priority basis.
Article 14 (Impact Assessment and minimizing adverse impacts)
The DoE has Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) Rules, which are applied for establishment of industrial and big infra-structural development project. Under the 1995 Environment Conservation Act (ECA), EIA is mandatory for all development projects. The rules and regulations framed in 1997 under the 1995 ECA, provides detailed procedures for EIA and project approval. In the EIA rules, the industries have been grouped into three classes (i) most pollutant industries, (ii) moderately pollutant industries and (iii) pollution free industries. For category (i) and (ii) industries, EIA and EMP (Environment Management Plan) must be fulfilled.
Article 15 (Access to genetic resources)
One of the components of this Article is to create conditions for facilitation of access to genetic resource for environmentally sound uses by the CPs and not to impose restrictions.
Bangladesh has been working for generation of information for enabling the focal points of CBD and the concerned authorities to adopt legal documents in this regard for implementation of this Article of CBD in the country.
For further information, please contact IUCN Bangladesh Country Office.
IUCN - Bangladesh Country Office
Tel: 8122577, 8127873