In this paper we focus on the principle of community inclusion in water and ecological resource governance and document the negative impacts of its absence, in Chapra village, Bangladesh, on sustainable development and livelihood security. This community depends heavily on common property resources such as wild plant foods, fish and ‘natural’ crop fertilizers derived from river siltation and other sources. For the vast majority of people in Chapra, these common ecological resources create the ability to effectively match livelihood strategies to the conditions of both dry and rainy seasons. However, this socioecological livelihood pattern is increasingly undermined by the hydropolitics and top–down water management practices that prevail throughout the Ganges–Brahmaputra Basin in Bangladesh. These practices lead to ecosystem failures and ecological resource degradation which in turn cause survival challenges for the marginalized people who constitute the vast majority of the population. In this paper we explicitly seek to answer the question: how might community inclusion in governance processes help protect ecological integrity and common property resources and thereby support an alternative and more sustainable form of development for the region? In order to answer this question we first document the nature of livelihood practices in Chapra, based on 1 year of fieldwork, and then outline the mismatch that now occurs between livelihood practices, ecological characteristics and governance practices. We conclude with the argument that greater community inclusion in governance must be part of the solution to existing problems and we propose specific governance reform measures to facilitate community inclusion.
M. Anwar Hossen and John R. Wagner
A. K. M. Firoz Khan, M. G. Mustafa and M. Niamul Naser
Community-based approaches have gained significant attention in inland open water fisheries management in Bangladesh. This article focuses on the challenges and opportunities of the inland open water fishery resources under community-based management approaches. The present study employed management information of waterbodies between 1991 and 2014 across a range of geographical locations and habitats. The study reveals that coordinated management of water bodies is essential given common management issues of waterbodies. Present study also reveals that complexity of different property rights and the diversity of users within individual clusters have had cumulatively adverse effects on fisheries. The study shows that different fisheries management policies promoted by the government of Bangladesh over time to have varied in strength and appropriateness. This study concludes that open water fisheries management through fishers’ community involvement is promising approach in Bangladesh but a variety of socio-economic factors that affect the governance in its implementation.
Mohammad Abul Kawser and Md. Abdus Samad
Soon after the partition of the subcontinent in 1947, India took initiative to construct a barrage on its side of the Ganges and commissioned it in 1975. In the past few decades, many of the 54 Bangladeshi Rivers that originate in India have either been diverted or dammed upstream, inside India. All of these hydro-developmental initiatives have left a profound impact on Bangladesh as it is at the receiving end of the Himalayan fluvial regime. In particular, Bangladesh’s agriculture, fisheries, and human health and wellbeing are reported to have been significantly affected by the disruption of natural water flow in its rivers. The debate over the water sharing issues between India and Bangladesh dates back as early as their birth but the historical developments of the disputes have never been adequately addressed in settling the issues. This paper analyzes the political developments in Bangladesh and India over Farakka issue from historical perspectives. It also reveals the adverse effects of Farakka Barrage on environment in Bangladesh. The aim is to provide policy makers with the insights into historical developments of disputes centred on Farakka Barrage to contribute towards better water governance.