Category E-Environment

Cell phone based Early Warning Dissemination

One key cause for the huge loss of lives and assets in the frequent environmental calamities suffered by Bangladesh is the lack of an appropriate and timely early warning system. However, now the people of District Sirajganj have started receiving flood warning through their cell phones, thanks to a recent initiative by the government and two cell phone operators- Grameenphone and TeleTalk. Disaster Management Bureau (DMB) has taken the initiative to use Cell Broadcast System (CBS) to disseminate early warning among people and communities at risk from flood and cyclone.

This pilot project covers two districts – one for cyclone, Cox’s Bazar and Sirajganj for flood warning. Warning messages are collected from two concerned government organizations. One is Flood Forecasting and Warning Centre (FFWC) for flood warning and another is Bangladesh Meteorological Department (BMD) for cyclone warning. From these bulletins, warning messages are coded and published through cell broadcasting.

Bangladesh– owing to the factors like geographical positioning, deltaic formation history and low-lying coastal morphology– is perhaps the most disaster prone region on earth. The country is exposed to natural hazards of all possible sorts including floods, river bank erosion, cyclones, droughts, water logging, tornadoes, heat waves, earthquakes etc. The co-occurrence of these events coupled with high vulnerabilities of communities result in disasters that further drive the country towards greater hunger, poverty and social deprivation.

Disaster Management Bureau (DMB) is a technical arm of the Ministry of Food and Disaster Management (MoFDM), Banladesh which coordinates all activities related to disaster management. The DMB is coordinating the initiative with technical assistance from Comprehensive Disaster Management Programme (CDMP). A nation-wide coverage for flood warning message dissemination through cell broadcasts will be put into place following lessons learnt from this pilot initiative.







Ship-breaking in Bangladesh


Developed as an e-advocacy tool by Young Power in Social Action (YPSA), the website,  www.shipbreakingbd. info was begun in the year of 2006 with a mission of influencing public policy to ensure human rights and protecting the environment from the pollution caused by the ship-breaking industry in Bangladesh.

The ship-breaking industry started its operations in Bangladesh in the 1960s and these have expanded ever since to a point that today ship-breaking is the mainstay occupation for thousands. The heart of the country’s ship-breaking industry, is Sitakunda, near the port city of Chittagong, and employs more than 20,000 people each day. But indiscriminate and haphazard ship-breaking activities in once pristine, biodiverse Sitakunda has turned it into a barren wasteland. To cut costs, many of the international guidelines to dispose of hazardous waste are not followed by the ship-breakers. Through shipbreakingbd. info, YPSA campaigns for these guidelines to be implemented more effectively and organizes citizens to influence policymakers. It targets government officials, common people, businessmen, researchers, journalists, environmentalists, human rights workers.

Some 700 commercial ships are decommissioned each year worldwide and need to be dismantled and recycled. Lower labour costs and lax environmental regulations in South Asia make it a primary destination for old ships. Bangladesh has long been a final destination for decommissioned ships from around the world. Here, little effort is made to dispose of hazardous waste, such as lead paint, arsenic and asbestos-packed sealants, posing severe health risks for thousands working in the multimillion-dollar industry.

YPSA is working to improve public policies to directly influence the dangerous working-conditions of shipbreaking workers which include a lack of safety, hygiene, and protective gear. It uses the Information, Education and Motivation (IEM) approach to make stakeholders more responsible towards worker’s rights as well as the environment.







Digital Green Project

The Digital Green project was developed as a solution to the challenge of improving the speed and effectiveness of agriculture extension at a reasonable cost. The initiative aims to enrich and upgrade the quality of extension so that small-scale farmers across the developing world can better their livelihoods in a manner that is socially, economically, and environmentally sustainable.

Digital Green is a technology-supported means of agriculture extension which is cost-effective, scalable, and uses grassroots-level partners to share and disseminate relevant information. It is a combined system of technology and social organization in which village-level mediators use locally produced videos to motivate and train small-scale farmers, increasing the adoption of sustainable  gricultural practices and technologies, ultimately raising incomes and mitigating the effects of climate change. Digital Green is currently working in 4 states of India i.e. Jharkhand, Orissa, Madhya Pradesh and Karnataka, in more than 100 villages. The aim is to spread their work to 1200 villages in India over the next three years.
Extension refers to the task of bringing scientific knowledge to farmer communities which can develop and induce innovations and improve the efficiency of agriculture. Digital Green addresses two key areas where agricultural extension has historically faced major shortcomings: production of relevant content and distribution to small-scale farmers. In contrast to traditional extension ystems, it follows two important principles: cost realism, essential if the system has to be scaled up to a significant number of villages and farmers; and building systems that solve end-to-end agricultural issues with interactivity that develops relationships between people and content.

Digital Green integrates the use of locally recorded video, “mediated instruction,” and existing extension systems to increase adoption rates among farmers of new practices and technologies, and to sustainably raise farmer incomes for the long-term. Because audio-visual formats are likely preferred to mostly illiterate, visually-oriented groups, the idea is to encourage the use of video to reach out to farmers.








Disaster Management Information Network Portal

The main objective of the DMIN web portal is to share, coordinate and disseminate disaster management information, programs and guidelines from source down to the last mile. The portal enables Disaster Management Information Centre (DMIC) to collect, analyze and broadcast information for risk reduction and emergency response. This web portal has established data communication network to link the DMIC with government agencies, NGOs and other organizations concerned with disaster management at the regional, national and local levels. It is mainly through the portal that DMIN, which implements the specified functions of disaster management, will offer its resources to users. These include disaster alert, situation report, online forum, mapping services, disaster management and climate change related information sharing. The web portal will be an organized common platform to capture, organize and share the knowledge of disaster management and to create a versatile interface among policy-makers in the Government and disaster managers at all administrative levels.

In low-lying Bangladesh, floods, earthquakes and other disasters disrupt food supply, cause severe environmental damage and decimate the livelihoods of the many Bangladeshis working in agriculture. Poor town planning, overcrowding and weak infrastructure aggravate the threats to urban communities. Besides the cost to life and the economy, largescale disasters can reverse poverty-reduction efforts and divert resources from more productive uses. In 2003, the Government of Bangladesh launched the Comprehensive Disaster Management Programme (CDMP) together with the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development and the United Nations Development Programme. The European Commission became the third major partner in September 2006. The DMIN portal was launched under the CDPM initiative as the disaster management community had expressed a need for more effective and better coordinated information management system. A responsibility of the Emergency Operations Center (EOC) of the ministry of Food and Disaster Management (MoFDM), it has succeeded in improving coordination among agencies at all levels.

Original Title : Durjug Bebosthapona Tatthyo Kendra Portal

Producer : Comprehensive Disaster Management Programme (CDMP), UNDP

Location : Dhaka, BANGLADESH

Media Format : Web/Internet

Languages : English

www :

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