Saving The Mangroves in Ayeyarwaddy Delta--
by Mangrove Service Network
During about six years (1995-2001) of project interventions under the UNDP/FAO food security projects, the grass-root communities of three townships in mangrove delta had received development assistance in local capacity building, enhancement of the environment and establishment of rural revolving fund for poverty alleviation. The villagers were given participatory training in leadership skill, organizational management, operating development activities and financial management of village revolving fund, etc., in the process of participatory development and empowering the grass-root communities. Professional project staff had been closely working and supporting them for required skill and knowledge throughout. The funds in the villages are under the direct control of the Community-Based Organizations (CBOs). The objectives of CBOs in comparison to rural micro-finance institution are far broader and more dynamic, aimed at systematic development of an accountable mechanism at rural level.
In spite of the project's effort for two to four years in developing mechanisms for channeling functional skill and credit to the communities, it is still crucial to provide further support to the CBOs well after the exit of the project. As the last project (MYA/99/008) was about to close in February 2002, formation of a service provider was seriously considered at the request of recipient communities to continue assisting and meeting in above requirements. After consequent meetings and discussions among community representatives, a service provider called Mangrove Service Network (MSN) was finally formed in December 2001 with the following objectives:
--To render services required for sustainability of existing CBOs formed under MYA/96/008 and MYA/99/008 projects.
To consolidate the existing CBOs and expand community welfare service in possible new areas with available fund.
--To organize funds and services from external sources and donors interested in people centered approach in poverty alleviation and grass-root community development.
--To promote environmental conservation through community participation.
MSN is essentially a service provider with members of former experienced project staff and other resource persons who have devoted themselves in this challenging development task. The following services are being and will be undertaken by MSN in achieving the above objectives.
--Socio-economic surveys and participatory monitoring and evaluation of community development activities;
--Providing services for formation of target groups, CBO committees and drafting rural regulations and village action plans;
--Providing systematic financial management services for CBOs;
--Providing poor families with income generation support, and giving appropriate technical training;
--Rendering consultancy services for joint ventures, various agencies and market exploration to facilitate and secure wider economic development in the region;
--Cooperating with external financial institutions, NGOs as well as private enterprises in order to promote development activities;
--Promoting environmental conservation through production and popularization of fuelwood efficient stoves, establishment of nurseries, plantations, sale of seedlings, soil conservation, river bank stabilization, etc.;
--Organizing technical training to promote local capacity for self-reliance in the fields of forestry, agriculture, livestock, fisheries and cottage industry;
--Organizing training, study tours, workshops, contests, distribution of extension materials, etc., to promote awareness, exchange of information and networking to build up the capacity of CBOs;
--Assisting CBOs in conflict resolution.
Effort of saving Mangroves in Ayeyarwaddy delta
The fate of the Ayeyarwaddy delta
There are 29 mangrove species, 65 fish species, 13 shrimp
species, 4 crab species and 9 other aquatic species found inside Ayeyarwaddy mangrove area. Therefore, Bogalay
The UNDP/FAO projects had approached and initiated a
sustainable management of increasingly degrading mangrove ecosystem in delta
through various means of community participation. It was also coincident with
recently regulated community forestry procedures by
Upon the closure of projects MSN has assumed the role to provide extension, education and social mobilization services in environment matters. MSN has made clear that most work be done through various means of community participation. It is increasingly aware even among local departments that the mangroves can not be saved without seeking will, participation and initiatives of the local community. In some cases the villagers know the benefit of mangroves by lifelong experience, both long-term and short-term benefits, and they have put much greater effort and time believing this work will certainly pay off. On the other hand, there are a number of cases with intention to exploit the forest land grant for other purposes such as agriculture and fishery activities that are found unfriendly and damaging to mangrove existence. Meanwhile there are supports receiving from two Japanese NGOs, ACTMANG and JICA for expansion of community forestry in the area to support more for delta community forestry establishments.
A greater transparent and clear-cut land-use policy would
also boost the expansion of community forestry in Ayeyarwaddy
delta. In reality, the paddy purchase policy inside Mangrove Reserves is
against the protection of mangroves. Though paddy cultivation inside Forest
Reserve is considered unlawful by Forestry standard, the understanding is that
paddy can be grown as long as the grower meets the sale quota for paddy. While
the paddy production is getting such high priority in delta, the community
forestry can be established only on low fertile soils with salinity problem.
From the view of a poor family it is much more suitable and reasonable to
reclaim such land than a fertile land. Nevertheless, there are some dedicated
communities who really want their mangroves back in delta and it is an
encouraging signal that promoting community forestry activities in Ayeyarwaddy delta would lead towards restoration of
mangrove ecosystem in
Forest Department of
Forest Department of
Forest Department of
Pushparajah, M. 2001. Conservation
of Mangroves, a paper presented to the
From: "Htain Lin"
Source, “The Late Friday News”, 98th Edition, June 2002
Mangrove Action Project: http://www.earthisland.org/map/map.html