Regions and network

UNEPGEFUniversity of Kalmar
Subregion 53: Bay of Bengal

  • Major intergovernmental agreements and actors
  • Action programmes, strategies, and research
  • State of the regional environment
  • GEF Projects in the region
  • Other actors and initiatives

    Major intergovernmental agreements and actors

    Agreement for the Establishment of the Indian Ocean Tuna Commission
    See also the Agreement (adopted in 1993, in force in 1996) as a pdf file. The objective of the Commission (IOTC) is to promote cooperation among its Members with a view to ensuring, through appropriate management, the conservation and optimum utilisation of stocks covered by this Agreement and encouraging sustainable development of fisheries based on such stocks.

    UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific, ESCAP
    Within the Water Resources Programme under its Environment and Natural Resources Development Division, the UN ESCAP organizes seminars and workshops on various issues relating to water resources, including: Water resources assessment; Integrated water resources development and management; Protection of water resources, water quality and aquatic ecosystems; River basin development and management; Promotion of infrastructure development and investment for drinking water supply and sanitation; Water pricing and promotion of private investment in the water sector; Water demand management, water saving and economic use of water; and Mitigation of water-related natural disasters, particularly flood loss reduction.

    UNEP Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific, ROAP
    Working closely with the Division of Regional Co-operation and Representation in UNEP's Nairobi-based headquarters, the Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific (ROAP) looks to adopt global environmental policy to regional priorities and needs. It acts as a catalyst, co-ordinator, facilitater and mobilizer of resources. It puts particular emphasis on building partnerships with regional and sub-regional intergovernmental fora, other UN agencies, national governments, NGOs, the private sector, academic and research institutions, and civil society, and the media. See also here.

    Financial institutions

    Asian Development Bank, ADB
    The Asian Development Bank, a multilateral development finance institution, was founded in 1966 by 31 member governments to promote the social and economic progress of the Asia-Pacific region. It now has 58 member countries - 42 from within the region and 16 non-regional. ADB gives special attention to the needs of the smaller or less-developed countries, and to regional, subregional, and national projects and programs. Promoting sustainable development and environmental protection is a key strategic development objective of the Bank. (See also about environment.) To fulfill this objective, the Bank (i) reviews the environmental impacts of its projects, programs, and policies; (ii) encourages DMC governments and executing agencies to incorporate environmental protection measures in their project design and implementation procedures, and provides technical assistance for this purpose; (iii) promotes projects and programs that will protect, rehabilitate, and enhance the environment and the quality of life; and (iv) trains Bank and DMC staff in, and provides documentation on, environmental aspects of economic development. The Asian Development Fund (ADF) is the concessional lending window of the Bank.


    Action programmes, strategies and research

    South Asian Co-operative Environment Programme (SACEP)
    The South Asia Cooperative Environment Programme Strategy and Programme (1992–96) comprises 15 priority areas, including capacity building and awareness raising; systematic information exchange and intraregional technology transfer; training on environmental management and institutional development; management of mountain ecosystems, watersheds, and coastal resources; and wildlife and wildlife habitat conservation.

    Bay of Bengal Programme
    The Bay of Bengal region has some seven million small-scale fisher-folk. The Bay of Bengal Programme (BOBP) is a regional UN multi-agency programme that tries to improve the conditions of these communities through sound and systematic fisheries management practices.

    UNEP Regional Seas Programme
    The Regional Seas Programme was initiated in 1974 as a global programme implemented through regional components. The Regional Seas Programme is UNEP's main framework in the field of the coastal and marine environment. It includes 14 regions and three partner seas, involves more than 140 coastal states, and focuses on sustainable development of coastal and marine areas. Each regional action plan is formulated according to the needs and priorities of the region as perceived by the Governments concerned. Regional conventions are in place for several areas. See a map of all regional seas, and go to more information on the Black Sea, Wider Caribbean, Mediterranean, East Asian Seas, South Asian Seas, Eastern Africa, Kuwait Region, North West Pacific, Red Sea And Gulf of Aden, South East Pacific, North East Pacific, South Pacific, Upper South West Atlantic, and West and Central Africa. The UNEP Regional Seas web site also contains information on What's at stake, Major threats, and Actions.


    State of the regional environment

    GEO 2000 State of the Environment: Asia and the Pacific

    Global Enviroment Outlook 2000. GEO is:

    • a global environmental assessment process, the GEO Process, that is cross-sectoral and participatory. It incorporates regional views and perceptions, and builds consensus on priority issues and actions through dialogue among policy-makers and scientists at regional and global levels.
    • GEO outputs, in printed and electronic formats, including the GEO Report series. This series makes periodic reviews of the state of the world's environment, and provides guidance for decision-making processes such as the formulation of environmental policies, action planning and resource allocation. Other outputs include technical reports, a web site and a publication for young people.

    GEF Projects in the region

    Projects under implementation

    UNDP - GEF - Biodiversity:
    Coastal and Wetland Biodiversity Management at Cox's Bazar and Hakakuki Haor
    In recent years, Bangladesh has demonstrated increased determination and commitment to address the challenges of ensuring sustainable use and conservation of its natural resources, including its biodiversity. A number of specific policies, laws, action plans and strategies have been developed in this regard. A major current challenge is to ensure the effective implementation of the 1995 Environmental Conservation Act, which includes a key provision providing the Department of Environment (DoE) with broad powers for conservation of sites that it determines to be Ecologically Critical Areas (ECAs). In the context of implementing the PRIF for this project, DoE has taken the crucial step of nominating the first six ECAs, all within the country's highly significant coastal, marine and freshwater wetland ecosystems. The overall objective of the present project is to establish and demonstrate an innovative system for management of ECAs in Bangladesh that will have a significant and positive impact on the long-term viability of the country’s important biodiversity resources. The project will support DoE efforts to operationalize the ECA concept at two main sites: one site (which includes three ECAs) within the country's long and biodiversity-rich coastal zone and the second at one of the largest and most im-portant of the country's many inland freshwater wetlands. Through a combination of GEF incremental cost financing and baseline and co-financing, conservation and sustainable use of these sites will be demonstrated. This demonstration should create important opportunities for replication in coastal, freshwater wetland and other ecosystems throughout the country, including sites recently nominated as ECAs.

    World Bank - GEF - Biodiversity:
    Aquatic Biodiversity Conservation, Bangladesh
    In this project, the GEF aims at financing the incremental costs of promoting wetlands and aquatic biodiversity conservation and sustainable use in Bangladesh. It will do so by complementing the IV IDA's Fisheries Project. The GEF approach relies on removing barriers for successful mainstreaming of aquatic biodiversity and wetlands conservation within the fisheries sector through demonstration, capacity building, enhancement of the information base for sound decision-making, incentive development, and policy development. The GEF components will contribute to support the piloting of community-based aquatic sanctuaries; enhance local capacity for addressing aquatic ecosystem management issues; enhance the knowledge base for sound ecosystem management and decision-making, including monitoring and evaluation for sustainable long-term aquatic ecosystem management; and develop policy and action plans for aquatic biodiversity conservation, mainly by mainstreaming it within the fisheries sector. It is expected that these activities will have substantial multiplicative effects both in Bangladesh and in other Asian countries.

    World Bank/Asian Development Bank (ADB) - GEF - Biodiversity:
    Biodiversity Conservation in the Sundarbans Reserved Forest, Bangladesh
    The project will develop and implement a sustainable management and biodiversity conservation system for the Sundarbans region of Bangladesh on the basis of rational plans and the participation of all key stakeholders, including: (i) priority biodiversity conservation initiatives and improved forest management; (ii) increased institutional capacity to manage the Sundarbans Reserved Forest (SRF); (iii) measures to reduce poverty of the 2-3 million people living in the impact zone bordering the SRF through expanding economic opportunities, improved social infrastructure, improved organization for resource-users, and facilitating stakeholder participation in resource management; and (iv) adopting a supportive set of policies, especially related to the pricing for access to SRF resources.

    UNDP - GEF - Biodiversity:
    Conservation and Sustainable Use of the Gulf of Mannar Biosphere Reserve's Coastal Biodiversity, India
    The overall objective of this project is to conserve the Gulf of Mannar's globally significant assemblage of coastal biodiversity and to demonstrate, in a large biosphere reserve with various multiple uses, how to integrate biodiversity conservation into coastal zone management plans. To this end, the Government of Tamil Nadu will establish the Gulf of Mannar Biosphere Reserve Trust (a Foundation) to ensure effective inter-sectoral coordination and facilitate mainstreaming of biodiversity conservation issues into the productive sector and policy development. An adaptive management approach will employ the results of targeted studies and monitoring to ensure appropriate adaptation of local level resource use. The end result will be adaptive, iterative and participatory management of the Reserve. The statutory Trust/Foundation is seen as an innovative mechanism that will allow for project methodologies and results to be replicated for the rest of the coastal area of Tamil Nadu and demonstrate an institutional model for India as a whole.

    World Bank - GEF - Biodiversity:
    Maluku Conservation and Natural Resources Management, Indonesia
    The project is located on and around four biologically-rich islands in the province of Maluku in eastern Indonesia. Home to a rich mixture of flora, fauna and marine species, Maluku has just one terrestrial and one marine protected area, which are poorly managed and under threat. The project will address the threats by: (a) strengthening management of the existing terrestrial protected area (Manusela National Park) and establishing a second area (Lolabata-Akitajawe National Park); (b) expanding and managing a system of marine protected areas around the Aru and Banda islands; (c) encouraging local communities to support conservation and adopt more sustainable use practices by (i) providing development grants in return for pro-environmental actions, and (ii) reviving traditional natural resource management systems; and (d) promoting community, NGO and private sector involvement in ecotourism development and protected area planning and management. It also includes biodiversity monitoring and environmental awareness components.

    UNDP - GEF - Biodiversity:
    Conservation and Sustainable Use of Tropical Peat Swamp Forests and Associated Wetland Ecosystems, Malaysia
    The project's goal is to ensure the conservation and sustainable use of globally significant biodiversity within Malaysia's PSF areas through the pursuit of three objectives, namely demonstration of inter-sectoral planning, application of these plans, and institutional strengthening. The global biodiversity values found in Malaysia's tropical PSF ecosystems are exemplified by the three sites selected for the present project, each of which represents a distinct PSF ecosystem complex in Malaysia. The three project sites collectively support at least 60 globally significant species of plants and animals. At each project site, a strategy will be adopted to sustainably remove threats on the basis of a two-tiered approach involving activities in the core "focal areas", supplemented by activities in the surrounding "buffer areas". This will contribute to implementation of both the Biodiversity Action Plan and the National Wetlands Plan by providing demonstrations of conservation and sustainable management of peat swamp forests.

    Project concepts in the pipeline

    World Bank - GEF - International Waters:
    Preparation of a Transboundary Diagnostic Analysis and Preliminary Framework Strategic Action Programme for the Bay of Bengal Large Marine Ecosystem
    The project will develop an agreed strategic action programme for the sustainable management of the Bay of Bengal Large Marine Ecosystem.

    UNDP - GEF - Biodiversity:
    Management of Coral Reef Ecosystem of Andaman and Nicobar Islands, India
    This project will develop a full proposal for coastal conservation, management and sustainable use of coral resources and sustainable economic activities of the coastal communities in the region.


    Other actors and initiatives

    South Asian Forum on Environmental Cooperation between the Government and the Private Sector

    The Forum is designed to promote the following objectives:

    • At National level: Increased dialogue between Government and Private sector on environment and development;
    • At Regional level: Increased cooperation between Governments and private sectors of South Asian Countries to exchange information; Promotion of South-South exchange of environmental technology and management; Strengthening programme synergy and coordination among UN and other organizations in the field of environment in South Asia;
    • At Global level: To strengthen networking with private sector institutions outside the region Formulating South Asian inputs to 2000 Ministerial Conference on Environment and Development in Asia and the Pacific, to be held in Japan in September, 2000.

    International Centre for Living Aquatic Resources Management, ICLARM
    An international research organization "devoted to improving the productivity, management and conservation of aquatic resources for the benefit of users and consumers in developing countries". ICLARM is one of the research centres of CGIAR, Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research.
    See, for example, Caribbean Marine Protected Areas Project: The Role of Marine Protected Areas in Fisheries Management and Biodiversity Conservation in Coral Reef Ecosystems. ICLARM, in collaboration with the the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and other partners, and with support from the European Commission, has also developed FishBase, a global information system on fishes for research scientists, fisheries managers, zoologists and many more. FishBase contains full information on 23,500 species. Furthermore, ICLARM has developed similar systems on coral reefs and their resources (ReefBase) and management of fish stocks in Asia (TrawlBase).

    International Coral Reef Initiative, ICRI
    An environmental partnership that brings stakeholders together with the objective of sustainable use and conservation of coral reefs for future generations. ICRI is an informal mechanism that allows representatives of over 80 developing countries with coral reefs to sit in equal partnership with major donor countries and development banks, international environmental and development agencies, scientific associations, the private sector and NGOs to decide on the best strategies to conserve the world's coral reef resources.

    Coral Health and Monitoring Programme, NOOA
    The mission of the NOOA Coral Health and Monitoring Program is to provide services to help improve and sustain coral reef health throughout the world. Long term goals:Establish an international network of coral reef researchers for the purpose of sharing knowledge and information on coral health and monitoring.Provide near real-time data products derived from satellite images and monitoring stations at coral reef areas. Provide a data repository for historical data collected from coral reef areas. Add to the general fund of coral reef knowledge.See also Global Coral Reef Monitoring Network, GCRMN.

    The Bay of Bengal - a Large Marine Ecosystem (LME)
    A Large Marine Ecosystem, LME, is a "region of ocean space encompassing coastal areas from river basins and estuaries to the seaward boundary of continental shelves and the seaward margins of coastal current systems. It is a relatively large region characterized by distinct bathymetry, hydrography, productivity, and trophically dependent populations." See also Rhode Island University map of LMEs.


  • Global International Waters Assessment, GIWA
    SE- 391 82 Kalmar, Sweden
    Phone: +46- 480 44 60 00. Fax: +46- 480 44 73 55.

    page last modified on 22 August 2006