Green recovery measures in Bhitarkanika, Odisha

01 Jan, 2021

India has been severely affected by the COVID-19 crisis which led to the imposition of strict economic and social lockdown. India’s unemployment rate surged to over 27% during the lockdown months and the worst affected population is the over 40 million migrant workers from rural areas. Having lost their jobs and income, large number of them returned to rural areas, including areas around the project’s pilot Ramsar sites, creating a labour surplus in these areas. With little opportunities in the rural areas, a large number of people are likely to fall back on extraction of already stressed natural resources – forests, wetlands and rivers – exacerbating the future resilience of agriculture and other natural resources-based production systems to climate change. As a response to COVID-19 and the lockdown, green recovery measures offer employment opportunities for communities around the project sites in the short-term while building long-term resilience through healthy wetland ecosystems.

The primary objective of the project ‘Green recovery for Bhitarkanika Ramsar site, Odisha’ supported by IKI BMU is to support implementation of livelihood-oriented conservation and restoration activities, and training of community members in alternative sustainable livelihoods. Ecosystem-based sustainable livelihood measures such as mangrove restoration, sustainable fisheries, handicraft-based activities and science-led horticulture would be implemented at Bhitarkanika. The project will organise skill and capacity development training for local communities in alternative and sustainable livelihoods. This would include training on pond management, nursery raising, sustainable fisheries, horticulture-based livelihood, skill upgradation for artisans and skill development for eco-tourism guides.

The green recovery measures in Bhitarkanika are being implemented by Action for Protection of Wild Animals (APOWA), a leading not for profit organisation based in Odisha. APOWA works with a mission of partnering with the local communities and stakeholders focusing on environmental sustainability and self-reliant healthy society. Green recovery would create employment opportunities and at the same time increase fish production, freshwater supply and food security, in short-term. In long-term it would enhance storm protection, reduce soil erosion, improve biodiversity, and increase productivity, thereby, leading to improved food security and income.


About the project

The Wetlands Management for Biodiversity and Climate Protection project aims to strengthen the institutional framework and capacities for an ecosystem-based integrated management of wetlands of international importance (Ramsar sites) in India. Four Ramsar sites have been selected as pilot sites under the project: Pong Dam and Renuka Lake in Himachal Pradesh, Bhitarkanika Mangroves in Odisha, and the Point Calimere Wildlife and Bird Sanctuary in Tamil Nadu. The project is implemented by GIZ on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU) in cooperation with the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC). This project is part of the International Climate Initiative(IKI). BMU supports this initiative based on a decision adopted by the German Bundestag. Read More

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