Bay of Bangal Large Marine Ecosystem Bangladesh

Support to Boblim Project

The Bay of Bengal is one of the world's 64 Large Marine Ecosystems (LMEs). Located in the monsoon belt, the Bay is bounded by eight countries (Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Maldives, Myanmar, Sri Lanka and Thailand). About one-quarter of the world's population resides in the littoral countries of the Bay of Bengal (BoB), with approximately 400 million living in the Bay's catchment area, many subsisting at or below the poverty level.

In view of the importance of the BOBMLE to the health, well being and livelihoods of the millions of people living in the BOBLME region, the Advisory Committee of the BOBP requested the FAO to assist in the development of a project proposal that could be submitted to the Global Environment Facility (GEF) and other donors for funding. The Global Environmental Facility is in a unique position to build on and strengthen existing programmes and partnerships in the region through promoting the development of a transboundary perspective and approach to address the critical issues characteristic of the BOBLME. The project preparation resources (PDF B) were approved by the GEF Secretariat to prepare the project "Sustainable Management of the Bay of Bengal Large Marine Ecosystem (BOBLME)".

In view of the above, FAO implemented one year preparatory phase of BOBLME project with the BoB countries during 2003-2004. With project preparation resources, the national and regional coordination mechanisms were also put in place to ensure broad based stakeholder participation in preparing baseline national reports and regional thematic papers, developing a framework Transboundary Diagnostic Analysis (TDA), and formulating a full scale project document for GEF and other donor financing. A Regional Project Steering Committee (PSC) was established with participation of relevant ministries of member countries. From Bangladesh Ministry of Fisheries & Livestock (MoFL) nominated the Joint Secretary (Fish) as the member of the PSC. During the preparatory phase relevant ministries from each of the member countries under the guidelines of FAO constituted a "National Task Force" (NTF) involving all stakeholders from GO and NGOs, and nominated a National Coordinator (NC). Director General, Bangladesh Fisheries Research Institute (BFRI) has been nominated by MoFL as the NC. Also under close cooperation with NTF and NC, a National Consultant was appointed by FAO in each country who prepared a country document on key issues of BoB which was finalized and adopted through national workshop.

GEF strategic funding policy requirement is 1:1 matching fund. The total budget for regional BOBLME mother project is US$ 30,993,500 with the GEF allocation of US$ 12,082,100 and the rest by other country/agencies i.e. Norway, SIDA, NOAA, FAO and 8 participating countries. Each member country's contribution stands equivalent amount of US$ 712,500 (in kind US$ 437,500 + in cash US$ 275,000), which mean 498.80 lakh taka (in cash 192.50 + in kind 306.30) in Bangladeshi currency. For this purpose the TPP has been prepared to support the country contribution of Bangladesh. FAO will operate the GEF fund as the implementer. The member countries reaffirmed the high priority of the BOBLME programme at the Project Appraisal Meeting held in Bangkok in 18-19 June 2007. The BOBLME project was finally endorsed by GEF on 30 June 2008. The present TPP "Support to Sustainable Management of BOBLME" was approved on 4 November 2008. Bangladesh Govt. signed the Aide Memo and BOBLME project document on 3 March 2009.

The overall objective of support to BOBLME project is to support BOBLME mother project for the development of a Strategic Action Programme (SAP), whose implementation will lead to enhanced food security and reduced poverty for coastal communities in the BoB region including Bangladesh.

Support to BOBLME Project convened first National Inception Workshop, Bangladesh on 06-07 January 2010 at Dhaka, Bangladesh among the 8 member countries, where Dr. Chris O'Brien, Regional Coordinator, and Dr. Rudolf Hermes, Chief Technical Adviser, BOBLME Project participated. Also BOBLME 1st Project Steering Committee's (PSC) Meeting was held on 03-04 March, 2010 at Dhaka.

Ministry of Fisheries & Livestock reconstituted a 21 member National Task Force (NTF) representing 18 stakeholders on 15 February 2010. National Technical Advisor (NTA) was appointed under Support to BOBLME project on May 2010 following the regional Project Steering Committee and national Project Steering Committee meetings.