Bangladesh India Sundarban Region Cooperation Initiative
বাংলাদেশ ভারত সুন্দরবন
যৌথ উদ্যোগ
Saturday, July 11, 2020

Sundarban,a unique trans-boundary contiguous ecological landscape shared between Bangladesh and India, in its entirety is the largest mangrove delta in the world. It is the only mangrove tiger habitat in the world spread over 10,260 sq km (~60% in Bangladesh rest in state of West Bengal in India). Sundarban is also a World Heritage Site and Biosphere Reserve. Apart from Royal Bengal Tiger, Sundarban has unparallel biodiversity and a tourist paradise.
But there has been a flip side as well. Sundarban,which has been historically plagued by acute socio economic backwardness and traditional developmental deficit , has become further vulnerable in recent times due to sudden and long term impacts of climate change. According to various studies , apart from the wild biodiversity of Sundarban, around 13 million people are under high threat due to changing climate in both countries. While 4.5 million people live within Indian Sundarban; about 7.5 million live within the Sundarban Influence Zone (SIZ) in Bangladesh.Sundarban has now turned into a climate impact hotbed.

With this background, various organisations have started working since 2010, often in adjunct with the stakeholder national and sub national governments, with the objective to facilitate proper conservation of Sundarban’s biodiversity and the population dependent over it for survival. Another important objective of the discourse was to highlight the vulnerability of Sundarban, particularly its climate related vulnerability, at the global platforms. After a while, the paths met; and finally Bangladesh India Sundarban Region Cooperation Initiative (BISRCI), a trans-boundary platform, was born in 2015 after a series of meetings within the organisations of both India and Bangladesh at the behest of World Bank.

The organisations constituting BISRCI are as follows:

• International Water Association (IWA); Dhaka, Bangladesh.
• Observer Research Foundation (ORF); Delhi, India.
• Institute of Defense Studies and Analyses (IDSA); Delhi, India.
• Policy Research Institute (PRI); Dhaka, Bangladesh.
• Environment Governed Integrated Organisation (EnGIO); Kolkata, India.
• Worldwide Fund for Nature (WWF); India.

With support of
• World Bank

In continuation with the initiative, World Bank assigned ORF, EnGIO and The Third Pole to develop a media strategy for further driving home the stated objectives ; and preparation of a Sundarban centric portal is an important component of the plan. A brief description about three organisations is provided below :

Observer Research Foundation (ORF), Delhi, India
Setup in 1990, ORF seeks to lead and aid policy thinking towards building a strong and prosperous India in a fair and equitable world. It helps discover and inform India’s choices, and carries Indian voices and ideas to forums shaping global debates. ORF provides non-partisan, independent analyses and inputs on matters of security, strategy, economy, development, energy, resources and global governance to diverse decision-makers (governments, business communities, academis, civil society). ORF’s mandate is to conduct in-depth research, provide inclusive platforms and invest in tomorrow’s thought leaders today.

Environment Governed Integrated Organisation (EnGIO), Kolkata, India
Environment Governed Integrated Organisation, in short EnGIO, is a non-profit organisation working in various social sectors over a decade. Though its official journey was initiated in 1999 – the organisation is registered under West Bengal Society Registration Act, 1961 since 1999 – but it actually had worked on ground since mid-1990s. Its office may be in Kolkata but it has worked / works extensively in the urban / peri urban areas of West Bengal particularly Kolkata Metropolitan Area.The focal areas of EnGIO include environment, climate change, public health among others; and media communication & documentation are major strength areas for the organisation.

The Third Pole, Delhi, India
The Third Pole is a multilingual platform dedicated to promoting information and discussion about the Himalayan watershed and the rivers that originate there. The project was launched as an initiative of chinadialogue, in partnership with the Earth Journalism Network. It is a registered non-profit organisation based in New Delhi and London, with editors also based in Kathmandu, Beijing, Dhaka and Karachi.
We work with an international network of experts, scientists, media professionals and policy makers to share knowledge and perspectives across the region.
We aim to reflect the impacts at every level, from the poorest communities to the highest reaches of government, and to promote knowledge sharing and cooperation within the region and internationally. We welcome your comments and contributions.