As the debate on the Sustainable Development Goals heats up with the G20 summit just around the corner, more than 200 researchers, extensionists, development practitioners, and policy makers convene in Dhaka on October 21-23, 2014 to share plans, progress and ideas for increasing resilience and unlocking the potential of the Ganges River basin’s coastal zone.
The objective of “Revitalizing the Ganges Coastal Zone: Turning Science into Policy and Practice” conference is to share CPWF research findings and create a space to hear from others who are working in the coastal zone. Focus will be placed on the policies and implementation strategies that could be adopted to harness the potential of the coastal zone to contribute to the food security aspirations of the Government of Bangladesh. The conference will feature scientific paper and poster presentations, policy dialogue including speech from Minister of Water Resources and Secretaries of Ministry of Fisheries and Livestock, Water Resources and Program Director of Water, Land and Ecosystems of CGIAR.
The key discussion points of this conference are building water smart communities, community based water management, improved drainage for higher agricultural productivity, governance by small water management units, and improved agriculture and aquaculture cropping systems.
The conference is organized by WorldFish along with International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) and International Water Management Institute (IWMI) and supported by CGIAR Research programs on Water Land and Ecosystems, Aquatic Agricultural Systems and Global Rice Science partnership.
Home to about 40 million people, the coastal polders (low-lying land enclosed by embankments) of Bangladesh are highly vulnerable to natural events such as cyclones, sea level rise, floods and drought, all of which will be exacerbated by climate change. Adding to the region’s vulnerability, 85% of rural households living in the polders are under the national poverty line. “Much of the poverty in the region has been attributed to soil and water salinity and flooding, which constrain agriculture and aquaculture productivity and cropping system intensification. But our research shows that this need not be the case. The water and land of the coastal zone are rich and valuable resources that can be used to support agricultural and aquacultural production and livelihood improvements”, says Dr. Craig Meisner, Director WorldFish Bangladesh and South Asia.
Research conducted by the CGIAR Challenge Program on Water and Food (CPWF)’s Ganges Basin Development Challenge shows that with existing advances in crop and aquaculture technologies and available water resources, there are tremendous opportunities to improve food security and livelihoods in the coastal zone. Furthermore, given the pressure to increase production in order to meet the needs of the growing population of Bangladesh and the already high cropping intensity and production in other parts of the country, the coastal zone may well be the only region where significant gains can still be made. CPWF’s research indicates that what is required is improved coordination across the many stakeholders working and living in the region; delineation of the polders into smaller water management governance units based on shared interests and hydrological features; and a renewed focus on the importance of drainage, as opposed to irrigation, for food production.
To find out more about the “Revitalizing the Ganges Coastal Zone: Turning Science into Policy and Practice” conference and access related materials, visit http://waterandfood.org/ganges-conference/.
The CGIAR Challenge Program on Water and Food (CPWF) was a comprehensive, global research program that ran from 2002 to 2013. CPWF’s goal was to increase the resilience of social and ecological systems through better water management for food production (crops, fisheries and livestock). In order to do so, the program carried out an innovative research and development approach that brought together a broad range of scientists, development specialists, policy makers and communities, in six river basins, to address the challenges of food security, poverty and water scarcity. CPWF was integrated into the CGIAR Research Program on Water, Land and Ecosystems in 2013 when the program was established.
The CGIAR Research Program on Water, Land and Ecosystems combines the resources of 11 CGIAR centers and numerous international, regional and national partners to provide an integrated approach to natural resource management research. This program is led by the International Water Management Institute (IWMI). wle.cgiar.org
CGIAR is a global research partnership for a food-secure future. CGIAR research is dedicated to reducing rural poverty, increasing food security, improving human health and nutrition, and ensuring sustainable management of natural resources. It is carried out by the 15 Centers that are members of the CGIAR Consortium in close collaboration with hundreds of partners, including national and regional research institutes, civil society organizations, academia, development organizations and the private sector. www.cgiar.org