Multi-stakeholder Consultation Meeting for AdaptHimal Initiative in Khagrachari, Bangladesh

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Joint Secretary (MoCHTA) sharing remarks with participants at the meeting
Photo credit: Sanjeev Bhuchar/ICIMOD

The International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) organised a multi-stakeholder consultation meeting in collaboration with the Khagrachari Hill Development Council (KHDC) in Chittagong Hill Tracts, Bangladesh on 26 October, 2015, under the AdaptHimal Initiative (Livelihoods and ecosystem services in the Himalayas: Enhancing adaptive capacity and resilience of the poor to climate and socioeconomic changes). ICIMOD is implementing AdaptHimal in Bangladesh, India, Nepal and Myanmar in collaboration with national partners, and is financially supported by the International Fund for Agriculture Development (IFAD). In Bangladesh, the project’s focus is on building capacity of institutions to support sustainable and inclusive transformations in shifting cultivation. 

The objective of the meeting was to conduct a rapid context and need assessment for planning interventions in Sindukchari union of Khagrachari district with the stakeholders. About 30 participants, including representatives from the Ministry of Chittagong Hill Tracts Affairs (MoCHTA), KHDC, line departments, Sindukchari Upazilla and Union Parishad, Sinduckchari villages, Bangladesh Agriculture Research Institute (BARI), Zabrang Kalyan Samity, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and ICIMOD attended the meeting organised at KHDC. 

In the inaugural session, Suman Bisht and Dhrupad Choudhury welcomed the participants and introduced ICIMOD and AdaptHimal initiative, followed by the joint secretary MoCHTA, and the acting chairperson of KHDC, who shared their views to set the context of the meeting. 

Md Abdur Rahman Tarafder, Executive Officer, KHDC, commenced the second session with a  comprehensive presentation on KHDC programmes in Khagrachari. Thereafter, the organisers carried out a rapid context and need assessments through group work and plenary discussions. Participants divided across three groups - Sindukchari local, Sindukchari Upazilla and Khagrachari district - reflected on three questions: 

  • What will help to improve the lives of people in Sindukchari, which has been selected as the pilot area? 
  • What are the challenges for transforming shifting cultivation in Sindukchari? 
  • What knowledge and capacities are required for addressing identified challenges? 

Participants suggested various interventions across agriculture, livestock and fisheries, inclusive of capacity building activities, assistance in developing market linkages and on-farm and off-farm opportunities, to help diversify income generation activities and increase income of the Sindukchari people. Other avenues suggested were Participatory Forest Management (PFM), development and operationalisation of farmer’s producer groups, and strengthening of local institutions, infrastructure and facilities towards 

With regard to improving food security in Jhum, participants suggested awareness raising and capacity building activities for the Jumma people — indigenous people of Chittagong Hill Tracts, who practice Jhum cultivation (slash and burn agriculture) — on improved cultivation practices on hill slopes, crop fertilisation techniques and increased opportunities for pisciculture. Participants also suggested organisation of exposure visits for farmers for experiential learning opportunities.

In conclusion, the participants suggested development of a thorough understanding of location specific requirements, prioritisation of activities to address local farmer’s needs and aspirations and development of a sustainable, long-term monitoring solution.