Centre for Coastal Environmental Conservation (CCEC) is a nonprofit grass roots environmental organization in Bangladesh for the protection and sustainable development of coastal ecosystem through local initiatives and participation. The CCEC was originated by following various initiatives such as; growing awareness regarding the conservation of environmental quality in the coastal zone of Bangladesh through sustainable resource management approach; recently held seminar, symposium, government document such as Environmental Policy; National Conservation Strategy (NCS); National Environmental Management Action Plan (NEMAP) have raised the issue of the degradation of fragile coastal ecosystems and have recommended for the formulation of strategies for integrated environmental approach in Coastal Zone Management thus local academics, Environmental conservationist, layers and professionals met in several meetings to discuss ways and means to undertake local initiatives to conserve the coastal ecosystems with grassroots participation and socio-economic development of Sundarbans communities. CCEC was formed on 5 May 1993 and became a member of IUCN Bangladesh (NG24659) in 2003 with a view to conserve nature and natural resources.
Vision: Community based sustainable environment development of Bangladesh Sundarbans coastal ecosystems.
Mission: Environmental sustainability, rights & dignity and poverty reduction of the climate vulnerable Sundarbans coastal communities through grassroots participation.
Values: Inclusive Sundarbans resource dependent stakeholders, disaster prone coastal communities, women and children, disable person, community empowerment for access rights and justice, humanitarian development, improvement and learning.
Since 1993 the CCEC is raising environmental awareness among the coastal communities through environmental education, environmental law, eco-schools Bangladesh, biodiversity conservation, sustainable harvesting training and capacity building of the Sundarbans stakeholders, mangrove regeneration & plantation, disaster risk reduction & recovery, climate change adaptation, research, human rights, good governance, cultural activities and poverty reduction strategies.
Community based co-management approaches includes the following activities;
Environmental Awareness: a) Environmental Education and Training is the main thrust of the organization. Over 1200 Primary School Teachers are trained in Sundarbans region by developing Environmental Education (EE) package consists of teachers manual, students booklet, poster and a colorful Flip chart in cooperation with Directorate of Primary Education, Primary Training Institute and Khulna University. Recently 300 teachers have been trained on Tiger-Human conflict minimization with the development of tiger conservation booklets and a documentary film / DVD. b) Cultural pot song: As part of mass conservation awareness on Sundarbans conservation, Tiger in Education & Awareness, Sundarbans Jagoroni pot song, Biodiversity conservation of Sundarbans cultural pot songs have been developed in cooperation with Sudipti cultural team and performed in the local community locations.
Sundarbans Resource Dependent Community Cooperatives: Sundarbans stakeholder cooperative society and Small & Medium Enterprise (SME) is formed in Dacope, Mongla and Shyamnagar Upazilla (sub district) involving members from bawali (wood and thatch cutter), mawali (honey extractor), jellay (fish & crab harvesters) with their unity and ownership with own bank account following the principles of Directorate of Cooperatives, Government of Bangladesh. Six hundred (600) Nypa collectors have been trained on Sustainable harvesting in cooperation with Forest Department.
Mangrove Regeneration and Plantation: Signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Bangladesh Water Development Board (BWDB), the organization has leased out 57 acres of land for seven years (2010-2016) and planted more than 30000 mangrove saplings outside embankment stretches about 10 km along the Malancha River coast in polder 5 Shyamnagar, Satkhira by forming a Mangrove Protection Society (MPS) consists of 162 members living in and around the polder embankment.
Tiger Conservation Activities: a) Tiger-Human conflict mitigation: Formation of 18 Tiger Conservation Group consists of 21 members each group thus 378 members are engaged in Tiger-human conflict mitigation in Shyamnagar. Establishment of four Tiger Conservation Club based on the four Forest Range offices of Sundarbans Forest Division. b) Tiger-widow: Reduce illegal fuel wood collection from Sundarbans and energy efficiency by tiger-widow and other women, a number of Improved Cooking Stove (ICS) have distributed among tiger-widow in order to reduce Sundarbans deforestation.
Sundarbans Handicraft Development: The organization has created sewing opportunity for women for income generation and constructed a shed in Gopalpur village of Shyamnagar and initiated souvenirs (such as wall mat, hand fan) production for Sundarbans tourists with wildlife ( tiger, deer) logo by involving rishi (minority low caste Hindu community), tiger widow and indigenous munda communities exploring the image of the Sundarbans, UNESCO World Heritage site among the global communities.
Climate Vulnerable Sundarbans Stakeholder Forum: 51 member forums as pressure groups are formed in Shyamnagar, Dacope and Mongla Upazilla in order to reduce impacts of climate change and raising voices for reducing carbon emission by the developed countries and demanding compensation for climate change.
Author: Mowdudur Rahman, Director, Centre for Coastal Environmental Conservation