August 12, 2009 / 11:13 AM / 10 years ago

Bangladesh to get $19 million for reforestation project

DHAKA (Reuters) - The United States and Germany have agreed to donate $19 million for the reforestation of a Bangladesh wildlife sanctuary under a global climate change mitigation project, the U.S. embassy said on Wednesday.

Low-lying Bangladesh, a country of some 150 million people, is at risk from rising world sea levels caused by climate change, with experts warning of millions of people being forced out of from their homes and encroaching into forests.

The funds will be used for the reforestation of Chunati Wildlife Sanctuary, a major corridor for the movement of Asian elephants between Myanmar and Bangladesh and home to an important timber species under threat.

The sanctuary lies about 350 km (219 miles) southeast of Dhaka.

Under the project, to be implemented over the next four years, trees will be planted to help restore 2,000 hectares of forest land and to decrease carbon emissions in the region.

The project will help restore the severely degraded sanctuary, raise awareness through public education, and create alternative income opportunities for over 125,000 people who live in communities in and around Chunati, a U.S. embassy statement said.

Sea levels rose 17 cm (6 inches) in the 20th century and the U.N. Climate Panel estimated in 2007 they could rise by another 18-59 cm by 2100, and perhaps even more if a thaw of Greenland or Antarctica accelerates.

Bangladesh is considered among the most vulnerable countries to climate change with millions living less than a meter above sea level.

Reporting by Nizam Ahmed; Editing by Sugita Katyal

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