Conservation of mangroves in Odisha’s Bhitarkanika to generate employment for locals

Bhubaneswar: In the fight against climate change, German-based Government agency Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) has come forward to conserve the mangroves and biodiversity of Odisha’s Bhitarkanika National Park, the second-largest mangrove forest in the country.

The agency will also provide livelihood support to COVID-19 pandemic affected villagers around the national park under Indo-German Biodiversity Programme Green Recovery measures, said an official.

Ambassador to the German agency Walter J Lindner had visited the tourist site recently.

Worth mentioning, the country’s unemployment rate surged to 27 per cent during lockdown. Loss of job and income owing to the nation-wide lockdown forced several migrant workers to return to their villages around Bhitarkanika. With decline in job opportunities, a large number of people started depending on extraction of already stressed natural resources like forests, wetlands and rivers. This has made agriculture and other natural resources-based production systems more vulnerable to climate change.

Also Read: Mangrove withstood cyclone Amphan, saved Odisha’s Bhitarkanika National Park

The project, supported by International Climate Initiative (IKI) of German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU), aims at supporting implementation of livelihood-oriented conservation and restoration activities and imparting training to community members on alternative sustainable livelihoods.

Under the project, ecosystem-based sustainable livelihood measures like mangrove restoration, sustainable fisheries, handicraft-based activities and science-led horticulture, will be taken up at Bhitarkanika. Besides, skill and capacity development training on alternative and sustainable livelihoods like pond management, nursery raising, sustainable fisheries, horticulture-based livelihood will be held for local communities. Besides, training on skill upgradation for artisans and skill development for eco- tourism guides with help from local organisations, panchayat body members and SHGs will be held.

(Note: This story is a part of ‘Punascha Pruthibi – One Earth. Unite for It’, an awareness campaign by Sambad Digital.)

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