Towards the creation of enabling conditions to scale up sustainable land management in Bangladesh.

Sustainable land management (SLM), climate resilient livelihoods and adaptation are fundamental in Bangladesh for the sustainability of the national economy as well as benefiting from the many ecosystem services. Natural resources are impacted by several human activities and their vulnerability enhanced by environmental crises such as climate change and land degradation. In consequence, sustainable land management and the fight against climate change is part of national priorities. Field experiences in Bangladesh and from other countries is important to address these issues in formulation of national plans.

Department of Environment (DoE) under the Ministry of Environment Forest and Climate Change, in close collaboration with Department of Agriculture Extension (DAE), Soil Resource Development Institute (SRDI) and Barind Multipurpose Development Authority (BMDA) under Ministry of Agriculture with technical support from FAO and financial support from GEF, organized sub-national consultations and a national consultation on scaling-up sustainable land management during the period February � March 2019. In total, 102 field officers and 15 officers in Dhaka attended the sub-national consultations and workshop to identify SLM and promising ways to scale them up and reduce land degradation.

The objectives of the workshop were (1) to identify best SLM practices (2) to identify barriers of SLM implementation and proposed solutions (3) to formulate recommendations for up scaling of the best SLM practices at national and local levels. During the consultations and workshop, the participants had the opportunity to visit piloting activities related to reducing soil erosion, improving water management, enhancing vegetation and tree cover in four landscapes of Bangladesh (Chittagong Hill Tracts, High Barind tract, Saline-prone and Waterlogging areas). For example, multi-slot divisors for soil loss and runoff measurements was presented by SRDI. It is used to compare the impact of soil erosion under different cropping systems. In a different ecosystem, a mango orchard with hedge pineapple was visited. Pineapple hedge is planted between mango trees to reduce soil erosion and increase the economic benefit to the farmer. SLM is nationally very important to attain sustainable agricultural production for growing population by reducing land degradation said Dr. Sohrab Ali, Director, Dhaka Metropolitan, Department of Environment and the National Project Coordinator (NPC) of DS-SLM project. Mr. Md. Abdur Rashid, Executive Director, BMDA, emphasized the special land features in Barind Tract, the reasons of ground water level depletion, the proposed technologies to improve water management and how best practices could be scaled-up through the implementation of a national strategy. Ms. Soledad Bastidas, Consultant, FAO-Rome, presented an overview of mainstreaming and scaling up strategies which is being used to develop a national strategy.

The results from the workshop and consultations contribute towards sustainable land management and climate resilient livelihoods and the fight against climate change, land degradation and pollution. Identification of institutional barriers (technological, economic, socio-cultural) and key decision-making process are the major components to formulate a mainstreaming strategy. This process requires coordination among policy-makers, programmers, financing mechanisms, territorial planning and local decision-makers. Improving land management needs appropriate investment to make it environmentally and economically sustainable, and to be able to meet increasing food demands. This requires revision of certain existing policies and involvement of national entities both public and private to support SLM with tangible benefits to the individual household or community by emphasizing enhanced agricultural productivity, food security, and income. In this context, a policy framework which provides recommendations for market access and attractive producer prices is essential for SLM. Thus, initiatives must be taken to realistically assess the availability of resources, domestic and foreign, to develop a realistic phasing of investments, instruments for scaling up best SLM technologies taking into account the different sectors involved in sustainable land management. Dr. Matieu Henry highlighted the need to look at land degradation from a multi-sectoral point of view, involving the different ministries and actors including the private sector and NGOs, and to mainstream SLM best practices in national and sub-national agricultural & environmental plans and investment frameworks.

Source: Food and Agriculture Organization of United Nations