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Steps toward forest landscape restoration in the context of the Rohingya influx: creating opportunities to advance environmental, humanitarian, and development progress in Bangladesh

Steps toward forest landscape restoration in the context of the Rohingya influx: creating opportunities to advance environmental, humanitarian, and development progress in Bangladesh
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  CGD Policy Paper 148 July 2019 Steps Toward Forest Landscape Restoration in the Context of the Rohingya Influx: Creating Opportunities to Advance Environmental, Humanitarian, and Development Progress in Bangladesh Since August 2017, over 740,000 Rohingya refugees have ed atrocities and violence in Myanmar to Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh. There are now one million Rohingya refugees in Cox’s Bazar, comprising about 30 percent of the population. This increase, coupled with immediate needs for fuelwood and shelter, has diminished livelihoods due to deforestation and loss of access to land; soil and slope erosion; fuelwood scarcity and associated risks to safety of people collecting fuelwood; increased encroachment and forest degradation; declining water quality, groundwater reserve depletion, and air pollution; decreasing soil quality; and climate  vulnerability. To restore cleared forest areas, and improve human and environmental well-being, international actors must work with the Government of Bangladesh to implement a long-term forest landscape restoration (FLR) plan for Cox’s Bazar. This paper provides a number of recommendations which work towards this goal, focused on: improving efficiency and impact of reforestation investments; improving seedling survival and benefits inside and outside camps; improving disaster resilience and nutrition inside camps; and increasing ecological and social benefits out of camps. www.cgdev.org   Center for Global Development 2055 L Street NWFifth Floor Washington DC 20036 202-416-4000 www.cgdev.org  This work is made available under the terms of the Creative Commons  Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 license. Abstract Heather Tallis, Cindy Huang, John Herbohn, Karen Holl, Sharif A. Mukul, and KAM Morshed  Center for Global Development2055 L Street NW Washington, DC 20036 202.416.4000(f) 202.416.4050  www.cgdev.orgSteps Toward Forest Landscape Restoration in the Context of the Rohingya Infux: Creating Opportunities to Advance Environmental, Humanitarian, and Development Progress in Bangladesh Heather Tallis    The Nature Conservancy Cindy Huang    Center for Global Development and Refugees International  John Herbohn University of the Sunshine Coast Karen Holl   Environmental Studies Department, University of California, Santa CruzSharif A. Mukul   Department of Environmental Management, Independent University Bangladesh and Tropical Forests and People Research Centre, University of the Sunshine Coast KAM Morshed  BRAC  We wish to offer our deepest gratitude for the distinguished members of our advisory group who provided invaluable input and feedback: Dr  Junaid K. Choudhury (World Bank consultant, SUFAL Project), Dr Ainun Nishat (Professor Emeritus, BRAC University), Dr Mohammad Rezaur Rahman (Professor, Institute of Water and Flood Management, Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology), Dr Nayeem Wahra (Member Secretary, Foundation for Disaster Forum; Humanitarian and Climate Change Issues Advisor, Prothom Alo Newspaper; Adjunct Faculty, Institute of Disaster Management and Vulnerability Studies, University of Dhaka), Mr Farid Uddin Ahmed (Executive Director, Arannyak Foundation). We are grateful for support from Kate Gough (Center for Global Development),  Tariq Islam (BRAC), Dr Zulkarin Jahangir (BRAC), Azad Rahman (BRAC),  Abu Sadat Moniruzzaman Khan (BRAC) and Liesl Schnabel (Center for Global Development), as well as ideas and input from the stakeholders who attended our workshop in Cox’s Bazar in September 2018. We also grateful for feedback provided by Jonah Busch (Earth Innovation Institute), Scott Morris (Center for Global Development), William Savedoff (Center for Global Development), and Jake Zarins (Habitat for Humanity International).  All errors are our own.  Center for Global Development2055 L Street NW Washington, DC 20036 202.416.4000(f) 202.416.4050  www.cgdev.org  The Center for Global Development works to reduce global poverty and improve lives through innovative economic research that drives better policy and practice by the world’s top decision makers. Use and dissemination of this Policy Paper is encouraged; however, reproduced copies may not be used for commercial purposes. Further usage is permitted under the terms of the Creative Commons License. The views expressed in CGD Policy Papers are those of the authors and should not be attributed to the board of directors, funders of the Center for Global Development, or the authors’ respective organizations. The Center for Global Development is grateful to the Bridge Collaborative for inspiring this work, and we thank the Margaret A. Cargill Philanthropies for support. Heather Tallis, Cindy Huang, John Herbohn, Karen Holl, Sharif A. Mukul, and KAM Morshed, 2019. “Steps Toward Forest Landscape Restoration in the Context of the Rohingya Inux: Creating Opportunities to Advance Environmental, Humanitarian, and Development Progress in Bangladesh” CGD Policy Paper 148. Washington, DC: Center for Global Development. https://www.cgdev.org/publication/steps-toward-forest-landscape-restoration  Contents Executive Summary ......................................................................................................................... 1   Introduction ...................................................................................................................................... 6   Recommendations .......................................................................................................................... 11    To Improve Efficiency and Scale Impact of Reforestation Investments ......................... 11    To Improve Seedling Survival and Benefits Inside and Outside Camps.......................... 16    To Improve Disaster Resilience and Nutrition Inside Camps ........................................... 23    To Increase Ecological and Social Benefits Outside of Camps ......................................... 26   Conclusion ....................................................................................................................................... 34    Appendix .......................................................................................................................................... 35   Consultations and Meetings ..................................................................................................... 35    1 Executive Summary Rohingya refugees began arriving in Bangladesh in August 2017, fleeing atrocities deemed serious crimes under international law by United Nations investigators. Over 740,000 new refugees have settled in two camps in Cox’s Bazar district of Chittagong: Kutupalong-Bulukhali and Naypara-Leda. The number of Rohingya in Cox’s Bazar now stands at around one million, comprising about 30 percent of the population. Kutupalong-Bulukhali is now the largest refugee camp in the world. The influx of Rohingya into Cox’s Bazar has exacerbated deforestation, underdevelopment, and climate vulnerability. Combined, these factors create an urgent need for new strategies and resources to address the increasing stress placed on the environment, and the consequences of this stress for refugee and host communities. Significant environmental and climate challenges in Cox’s Bazar associated with the influx of refugees include diminished livelihoods for local populations due to deforestation and loss of access to land; soil and slope erosion; fuelwood scarcity and associated safety risks for people collecting fuelwood; reduced foraging area and movement pathways for elephants, resulting in human-wildlife conflict; increased encroachment and forest degradation; declining water quality, groundwater reserve depletion and air pollution; decreasing soil quality; and climate vulnerability, including along the coastline. While these trends existed before the 2017 refugee influx, they have been greatly accelerated and exacerbated by it. UN agencies and the government of Bangladesh (GOB) are providing liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) for refugees and hosts, but harvest pressure will only be reduced if these efforts are further scaled-up and donors make strategic investments to identify sustainable solutions, preferably from non-fossil sources.  To contribute to a growing base of knowledge in Cox’s Bazar – the Bridge Collaborative brought together BRAC, the Center for Global Development and The Nature Conservancy to convene a workshop with global and national experts and stakeholders in September 2018 in Cox’s Bazar. The research also included field visits to Kutupalong-Bulukhali camp. Based on desk research, consultations, and these workshops, we developed recommendations to help drive progress for the Rohingya and host communities, and align environmental, humanitarian, and development objectives.  We present 10 core recommendations   for forest and landscape restoration (FLR)  in Cox’s Bazar to help restore cleared forest areas and improve human and environmental well-being:   To Improve Efficiency and Scale Impact of Reforestation Investments: 1.   Strengthen consultation and coordination among groups involved in FLR through the Energy and Environment Technical Working Group (EETWG) and consider creating a standing alliance for FLR as efforts scale.  All groups conducting, or planning to conduct, FLR and related activities should be engaged through existing coordination
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