News release (8 December) :
In a ceremony today,the Refugee Relief and Repatriation Commissioner (RRRC), Bangladesh Cox’s Bazar South Forest Department (BFD), the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) and the Energy and Environment Technical Working Group (EETWG) together with other EETWG lead agencies – FAO, IOM and UNHCR – and active plantation partners launchedthe Plantation Impact Assessment Reportfor 2019.

The Plantation Assessment Report takes a deep look at reforestation efforts in the 2019 season in Cox’s Bazar, home to the world’s largest refugee settlement. Its findings and recommendations will help humanitarian and development partners learn from past reforestation experience and continuously improve their programmatic approaches.

During the event, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) also presented complementary findings from the 2018–2020 Survival Rate Assessment which indicated the overall success of previous planting seasons and the EETWG presented the 2021 plantation season map.

During the 2021 season, 14 EETWG partners (ACTED, Action Aid, BATB, Care International, Christian Aid, CNRS, FAO, ICCO, IOM, IUCN, Nowzuwan, Shushilan, UNHCR and WFP) have reforested almost 150 hectares of land in Cox’s Bazar. , planting more than 900,000 individual seedlings. Using different techniques, reforestation efforts since 2018 have notably helped stabilize eroded slopes, protect water bodies and banks, and reduce airborne pollution.

“We are thankful to the Government for supporting this assessment, which generated evidence of high survival rates of tree seedlings between 83 and 90% and should serve as an important resource for all actors involved in the environment and biodiversity efforts in and around the camps,” said Kojiro. Nakai, WFP Deputy Emergency Coordinator in Cox’s Bazar.

“Designing effectiveplantation programmesis an important way we can protect our communities against natural hazards and climate change,” said Rezwan Hayat, RRRC. “We are grateful for the support of WFP, FAO, IOM, UNHCR and others, which made this large assessment possible,” Rezwanadded.

Bangladesh is no stranger to natural hazards: from Tropical Cyclone Bhola pre-independence to Tropical Cyclone Amphan in 2020 and the many floods and climate-related disastersin between, the people of Bangladesh have proven their resilience to shocks. Since 1970, systems and protocols have been developed to save lives and improve recovery time for communities. One of these developments is the implementation of plantation programs to restore the environment and biodiversity in and around the camps, both of which arevery vulnerable to climate change.
Increasing resilience and reducing the damage caused by climate-related disasters is a key priority for WFP and EETWG partners due to the profound impact such events can have on food-insecure and vulnerable populations in Bangladesh and around the world.

The United Nations World Food Program is the 2020 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate. We are the world’s largest humanitarian organization, saving lives in emergencies and using food assistance to build a pathway to peace, stability and prosperity for people recovering from conflict, disasters and the impact of climate change.

The EETWG is a multi-sectoral technical working group which aims to build synergies amongst stakeholder efforts and initiatives. The Group works on innovative environmental, energy, fuel efficiency programs to meet the needs of the people and the environment in and outside the camp.