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Consultation Meeting on Draft National Forestry Policy, 2015
Climate Resilient Participatory Afforestation and Reforestation Project (CRPARP) held a half-day consultation meeting on draft National Forestry Policy 2015 on March 25, 2015 at Karobi, Ban Bhaban, Agargoan, Dhaka. The consultation meeting was held to discuss and deliberate on the draft National Forestry Policy document prepared by the consultants of CRPARP. The meeting was chaired by the Chief Conservator of Forests (CCF). The consultation meeting was attended by senior Forest Department (FD) officials based at Dhaka. Mr. Shakil Ahmed Ferdausi, Task Team Leader of CRPARP and the Senior Environment Specialist of the World Bank attended the meeting as a special invitee.
In the inaugural speech, Project Director of CRPARP explained various steps taken for preparation of the draft paper. Earlier the draft document was presented to the Working Group formed by the CCF for Forestry Master Plan.
In the meeting, the background was mentioned that the existing Forestry Master Plan (FMP) was prepared in 1993 and approved by the Government of Bangladesh in 1995 for 20 years; the existing Forest Policy was approved in 1994 was mentioned. The meeting participants took active participation on the draft policy paper which was jointly presented by Dr. Ram Sharma and Shaikh Mizanur Rahman, Forest Management Policy/Institutions Specialists under CRPARP.
During the presentation, Dr. Sharma informed that the present draft policy document is comparable with Bangladesh’s recent policies in natural resources sector (Food Policy, Water Policy, Agriculture Policy, and Fisheries Policy). The updated Forest Policy document is comprehensive with detailed analyses of relevant forestry issues and challenges and will guide the updating of FMP and action palns. He mentioned that important issues of climate change, biodiversity conservation, wildlife trafficking, and forest ecosystem functions and services have emerged during the period and so need to be focused in an updated draft policy paper. Shaikh Mizanur Rahman made presentation on the policy preamble, context, purpose, challenges and objectives whereas the strategy section was presented by Dr. Sharma.
Lively discussion was followed after the presentation by the consultations. Participants appreciated the efforts of drafting a revised forest policy. Some suggested holding wide discussions on the policy paper including consultations with relevant ministries and agencies. Participants also commented that realistic targets should be fixed for forest and protected area (PA) coverage and that quality of forests should be accounted for.
The CCF mentioned that generally a forest policy implementation is supported by legislation amendments. For example, the Forest Act was amended in 2000 to include social forestry (Section 28 A).
CCF suggested to elaborate forestry education and training and to highlight timber trade including forest certification.
The CCF informed that the GOB has a number of policy documents (five year plan, PRSP) to advance the country’s development goals and a sectoral policy such as forest policy addresses national goals. He read out the statement of UN Secretary General issued on the International Day of Forests, specifically mentioning about building climate resilient future, investing in forests, innovative partnerships and developing smart policies. He focused on ensuring sustainable funding for forest policy implementation. He informed that VII Five Year Plan is under preparation. He suggested to address and policy and legislative gaps. CCF also intervened and focused on participatory monitoring, REDD strategy and safeguards, Bio-carbon fund, BCCRF & other financial mechanisms, hydrological role of forests, and data archiving and management.
Finally CCF informed that under REDD participatory monitoring is obligatory and Free Prior Informed Consent of local community is must as part of social safeguards. In addition to Green Climate Fund there may be other financing windows in near future. He asked to include REDD in draft policy paper. He opined that the country’s food security situation demands vertical expansion of forestry as against horizontal expansion. Mauza Reserves in CHT can be promoted. He suggested considering compensation to local people in CHT.
The meeting ended with a vote of thanks to the chair.