Speakers in a discussion on Thursday said that active engagement of co-management committees was compulsory to ensure the sustainable use of forest resources.

Arannayk Foundation, a not-for-profit organisation, organised the discussion virtually from its head office in Dhaka and local office at Ukhiya in Cox’s Bazar to mark the Co-management Day 2023, said a press release.

On March 23, 2008, Rafiqul Islam, a member of the Teknaf Wildlife Sanctuary Community Patrolling Group, was stabbed to death by illegal timber loggers.

Commemorating his supreme sacrifice, Bangladesh Forest Department has been observing the day as Co-Management Day since 2009.

Bangladesh Forest Department’s conservator of forests (Wildlife and Nature Conservation Circle) Md Imran Ahmed, addressing the discussion as the chief guest, said that local communities, along with the government, must work for safeguarding the forest.

‘Biodiversity is often affected by the livelihood activities of forest-dependent people. Hence, the community Patrol Group is to act more actively to ensure the co-existence of the human and wildlife’, he added.

Divisional forest officer at Cox’s Bazar south division, Md Sarwar Alam, urged the regional network of co-management committees to organise a national-level conference.

Arannayk Foundation’s head of programs, Masud Alam Khan, who chaired the meeting, said that the co-management committees had to be more active.

Madinul Ahsan and Mazharul Islam from USAID Ecosystems/PROTIBESH Activity and Safiqur Rahman from Nature Conservation Management also spoke at the meeting. 

Currently, 28 co-management committees are active in 22 protected areas, the release said.

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