Manta Community

Manta Community at Char Mantaj of Rangabali Upazila, Patuakhali, Bangladesh

I travelled Char Mantaj, the last southern island of Rangabali Upazila of Patuakhali district on 27 September 2022 to conduct climate and disaster vulnerability and readiness assessment with CPE team. The story has been developed from the observation of the study sideline.

I see that women with their children are living in boats, somebody cooks food on there at Char Mantaj, the last southern island of Bangladesh.  They are `Manta’ folks who spent their whole lives in boats. I knew little about them. I read some articles about them. After returning to Dhaka from Char Montaj, I searched for the articles on the `Manta’ community. Approximately 500 plus families are in `Manta’ community in Patuakhali district, these articles say. `Manta families’ float around the rivers of Char Mantaj. They are also found in the southern rivers, char and statuaries, particularly in Panpotty, Golachipa, Kalaiya, Boga, Bodnatali, Ulania, Patuakhali Sadar region. We also found such a family near the Goinkhali Launch Ghat of Rangabali during our journey from Char Momodarbunia Sluice Gate to Char Mantaj by launch. 

Manta Community near Goinghat Launch Jetty
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Statement of UN Envoy and Mis-, Dis-, Mal- Information

In a statement on 15 September 2022, at the end of a 10-day visit to Bangladesh, Mr. Ian Fry, UN Special Repporteur on the protection and promotion of human rights in the context of human rights said, “I visited some of the most adversely affected regions of Bangladesh and it is clear to me that the burden of climate change should not be carried by Bangladesh alone. For too long, major emitting countries have denied their responsibility for the suffering they are causing. This must end. The major greenhouse emitting countries have a clear obligation under the international law to provide funding to help highly vulnerable countries like Bangladesh to recover from the impact of climate change.” 

In the same statement he said, “I received a statement of claims from the environment and climate change human rights defenders that they have been subject to harassment and imprisonment due to speaking out against climate change issues. It was claimed that there was `shrinking local space’ for public comment. A number of incidents were reported to me where environmental and climate change human rights defenders have been arrested or harassed by authorities for protesting against the development of new coal-fired power stations and other climate-change unfriendly developments. I have also heard of incidents of death threats made against environmental human rights defenders by ‘unknown’ people. This intimidation by persons possibly linked to the Government does not auger well for a nation striving to position itself positively in the international arena on climate change.”

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The disappointing news of G20 climate talks

G20 climate talks in Bali, Indonesia have been unable to agree a joint communique, amid objections over language used on climate targets and the war in Ukraine, the media report said. Although Indonesia’s Environment Minister Siti Nurbaya Bakar had started the meeting by urging countries to cut emissions and prevent the planet from being pushed to a point “where no future will be sustainable”, but some countries, including China, had objected to previously agreed language in the Glasgow climate pact and past G20 agreements on efforts to limit global average temperature rises to 1.5 degrees Celsius, said an official with knowledge of the meeting, declining to be identified because they were not authorized to speak to the media, reports Reuters.

FEBRUARY 19, 1988 | DHAKA ——– ——– MARCH 20, 2022 | DHAKA
The growth of the city is evident in the Landsat images above. The Thematic Mapper on Landsat 5 captured the first image on February 19, 1988; the Operational Land Imager (OLI) on Landsat 8 captured the second on March 20, 2022. Source:

The report of NASA on Bangladesh, which is one of the most vulnerable country to climate change, came into view while reading the disappointing news of G20 talks. It seems, we are running towards a mirage. The world is demanding solution, but the leaders are busy in debate and commitment, then everything goes in about empty. Although the G20 emits 75 percent of the world’s greenhouse gases, they are not participating in the reduction process properly. Financing discussions are not getting much importance, and finance is not being given as per their commitment. The whole discussion is turning into a stalemate.

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A female student of a private university along with her two friends who were waiting at Norshingdi Railway Station for a Dhaka-bound train on May 18, was subjected to physically assault and abusive words for wearing a sleeveless T-shirt. The attackers termed the dress code “vulgar / obscene clothing”. A middle-aged woman, later law enforcers arrested her and her name was known – Shila Akhter alias Marzia Akhter Shila alias Saima first started hurling abusive words at the victim and then some male joined her and started assaulting the girl. The terrified women ran and took shelter in the station master’s room to save herself from the angry mob. Receiving the call at 999 from the victim, the law enforcers rescued them and helped them board a Dhaka-bound train. From the following day, a video of the incident went viral on social media where netizens expressed anger and women’s rights organizations protested over the harassment and demanded the attackers be arrested. Finally, law enforcers arrested Shila Akhter at the end of the month of May. 

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Ashar and Srabon – these two months are the rainy season in the Bangla calendar. During this time, there will be rains, people will suffer, and water will overflow in canal-beel-pond-rivers. Farmers will have a busy time planting seeds in mud covered crop fields. And nature will be fresher. This is the character of monsoon. But for the last few years that character is no longer seen. Now heat wave has taken place during the monsoon. Sometimes it rains a little, but the nature burns with the intensity of summer. Even during full monsoons, the temperature rises to 35 degrees Celsius. And it is predicted to increase further by the Meteorological Department.

The amount of rainfall is less in the entire monsoon season. According to the sources of the Meteorological Department, in the month of July, Dhaka Division received 116 mm of rain, Chittogram Division 232 mm, Mymensingh 204 mm, Rajshahi 138 mm, Rangpur 299 mm, Khulna 120 mm, Barisal 220 mm and Sylhet maximum 531 mm. Meteorologists say that global warming is affecting the climate. So we see negative behavior in nature.

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Today I read news on research on commitment to national development: education, decent employment, gender equality, conducted by the renowned think tank `Centre for Policy Dialogue – CPD’, published in the renowned and popular Bangla newspaper `the daily Prothom Alo’. The news, facts and awareness of people are totally frustrating. Thousands of NGOs have been working to create awareness of the people for claiming their rights for 50 years after the independence of the country, but the news put eyes on fruitless results, indicating that most of the citizens weren’t able to inform their demands or needs to the election candidates, but some able to speak with the local policy makers on the local problems directly.

Maybe there was something more in the research, but the news missed the major findings or grabbed only the minor news items, or provocative items for increasing popularity. The next parliamentary election will be held at the end of the following year and, obviously, we should talk about a free, fair and participatory election to strengthen democracy as well as establish the principles of our independence in 1971. But if we try to put all our focus only on the next election, it will be horrible and, unfortunately, the newspapers are showing more interest in the horrible approaches that should also be reviewed.

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Bangladesh formulated its vision 2021 to build `Digital Bangladesh’. At the end of vision 2021, Bangladesh is going to enter in new era with a new vision to build `Smart Bangladesh’. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina at the third meeting of task force of `Digital Bangladesh’ held on 4th April 2022 spoke about `Smart Bangladesh Vision 2041’ to build `Smart Bangladesh’ by 2041. In order to build a knowledge based economy and innovative nation as well as `Smart Bangladesh, she asked to renamed the `Tasks Force of Digital Bangladesh’ to `Tasks Force of Smart Bangladesh’ at that meeting.

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Training on Social Action Plan of Volunteers

A 3 days long training session conducted among youth volunteers of Youth Conservations Crops (YCC) of US Forest Service, Bangladesh at Cox’ bazar during 19-21 July 2022. Total 40 participants from different segment of the society with different mindsets participated in the training session.

Participants Identity and Mindset

Assessing the identity, culture and mindsets of the participants, the training courses are re-set targeting to increase awareness, collaboration, accountability, innovation and engagement of the participants. The sessions are presented in such way that they can connected the course contents with their own social lives and experiences. Most of the session are conducted through game, story telling, groupwork and discussion on slide presentation.

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In the climate finance universe, programs and policies should align

Eight hundreds family of Mollar Char union and four hundreds families from Kamarjani Union, surrounded by river of Sadar Upazila of Gaibandha has migrated elsewhere losing their homestead, assets, lives and means of livelihoods due to river erosion of mighty Bramhaputra. People of coastal region including Padmapukur and Gabura union of Shymanagar of Satkhira and Dakhin Bedkashi, Uttar Bedkashi, Koyra Sadar union of Koyra Upazila of Khulna has also been suffering from coastal river erosion since year after year and force to migrate other regions only for survival.

The article published in climate tribune on 26 december 2020

The intensity and frequency of cyclones, floods and climatic hazards are increasing due to climate change, the experts say. Recognising the facts of climate change, the government has adopted different policy measures like BCCSAP, NAPA, Climate fiscal framework, Country climate investment plan etc and programmes like BCCTF, allocation of fiscal budget in climate change adaptation. But are these policies and programme protecting the people of Kamarjani, Mollar Char, Padmapukur, Gabura, Bedkashi and Koyra Sadar Union?

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Webinar: Global Climate Action Day

The coming months and years will be crucial in ensuring a safe pathway below 1.5°C increase in global mean temperature, a target stated in the Paris Agreement. If we are to minimise the risks of triggering irreversible chain reactions beyond human control, we need to act now. It is therefore vital that the climate crisis doesn’t get forgotten in the shadow of the coronavirus but is regarded as the utmost priority. Fridays For Future will keep protesting as long as exploitation of nature is allowed to continue. The form of protest will be adjusted according to local Covid-19 conditions and in places where physical action will be taking place, participants will be asked to take precautions to prevent the spread of the virus. In cases where physical protest is inappropriate, we will instead turn to digital action.

Greta Thunberg is a Swedish environmental activist who has gained international recognition for promoting the view that humanity is facing an existential crisis arising from climate change and her organization `Fridays for Future’ asked to observe the school children and youths to observe “Global Climate Action Day” on 25 September 2020 to act on the climate crisis.

As part of the call and connecting the youth volunteers to the global activism, Campaign for Sustainable Rural Livelihoods – CSRL and Jalbayu Parishad (Climate Council) convened a online discussion with youth volunteers, working at Koyra, Shyamnagar and Gaibanhda today. Shoeb Chowdhury from CSRL moderated the discussion.

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Youth Action in Climate Adaptation

Most of the disastrous impacts of climate change are expected to be felt within the near future. Young people are particularly vulnerable to the impacts, as they are often on the margins of decision-making and will face the climate change impacts for many more years to come. So it would be unethical to take steps (or not) to mitigate climate change or adapt to the problems without their contributions.

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COVID-19 Awareness: Challenges and How to address it

jalbayu Parishad

75 members of Jalbayu Parishad at Koyra, Shyamnagar and Gaibandha are mobilizing GO-NGOs and Private Sector to create mass awareness on COVID-19

climate volunteer

60 Youth Volunteers of Jalbayu Parishad are conducting community Monitoring at their own community to mitigate challenges and create mass awareness on COVID-19


Role of CSOs in Policy Decision

Have any impacts?

Campaign for Sustainable Rural Livelihooods – CSRL conducted a climate hearing on 2nd February 2018 focusing `embankment management involving LGIs’ in the context of climate change. CSRL has been organizing the event since 2009 in Bangladesh. The hearing took place for the first time on December 4, 2009 and then again on November 8, 2010. On 2018, the hearing was the third edition of the National Climate Hearing where three plaintiffs fro Gaibandha, Khulna and Satkhira district raised petitions on their suffering caused by global warming. They Jury panel included lawmaker Saber Hossain Chowdhury, formar Banker Khondkar Imbrahi Khaled, academicians Dr. Jahangir Alam and Dr. Mahbuba Nasrin, panel of experts included Dr. Ainun Nishad, Dr. Tofayel Ahmed, Dr. Ahsan Uddin Ahmed. Dr. Qazi Khiliquzzaman Ahmad, Chair of CSRL declared the verdict to include local government institutions in embankment management to reduce vulnerability of people due to climate change.

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Bangladesh now has to face two emergencies together – health emergencies and disaster emergencies. People who are facing disaster emergencies, they are focusing more on disaster than health. But considering the health emergency, it is even more important to prevent the spread of the corona virus. There is no way to exclude any. The both emergencies have to be tackled together.

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Gender-based violence in health emergencies: Challenges and How to address it

“The COVID-19 pandemic is a public health emergency — but it is far more. It is an economic crisis.  A social crisis.  And a human crisis that is fast becoming a human rights crisis.”UN Secretary General, Antonio Gunterres. “ The coronavirus is not going to go away so we must learn to live with it.” – Special envoy of WHO David Nabrro.

CSRL and Jalbayu Parishad started a three-day long training / workshop on ‘COVID-19 Awareness, Gender-Based Violence and Community Monitoring’ from yesterday. The first session was on ‘COVID-19 awareness’. After concluding the session, participants were asked to come up with action ideas on ‘COVID-19 Awareness’ in the following day.

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Youth Engagement for Global Action

International Youth Day is going to be celebrated as usual on August 12 with the slogan ‘Youth Engagement for Global Action’ to face the crisis of COVID-19 and climate change. The anticipation of this year of Youth Day is that the youth will be effectively involved in policy-making programs at the local, national and international levels in tackling the crisis of COVID-19 and climate change, and the youth’s expectations will be reflected in the policy-making.

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Developing Team for New Normal World

Like others, we have been also running ‘Office from Home‘ since March 25 of this year to adapt with the situation arises due to coronavirus and search a way to continue the programme of climate finance which we have been implementing since 2017. Despite the difficulties of conducting activities with the community from home, it is ongoing but slowly. To adapt with the situation, weekly meetings with team members have been organized by the Secretariat at Facebook Messenger to maintain contact with local office colleagues, develop work plans and monitor progress in order to implement the programme of climate finance. But the extra noise created in Facebook Messenger, we made a decision to buy the zoom software. Today, the weekly meeting was held in Zoom which we purchased recently. Although we have participated at the meeting held in Zoom organized by others, but we never create a zoom meeting. That is why; there were some technical problems in today’s meeting. Now we have to solve those technical problems.

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Social Safety Governance

2 months ago, during the last Eid-ul-Fitr, the government gave Tk.2, 500 to the poor families all over the country. That assistance was received by 5 million poor families across the country. This time 10 kg of rice will be given to a family by the government in occasion of Eid-ul-Azha to be held on 1st August 2020. A total of 1 crore 8 lakh families will get this assistance. The rice has already been released. The government has also started distributing this rice as humanitarian assistance, according to the Ministry of Disaster Management and Relief.

  • The World Bank has prepared a report titled `Estimates of the Impact of COVID 19 on Global Probability’ published in 2020 based on three categories of income, the first category has a daily income of USD 1.90 (BDT 171), the second daily income USD 3.20 (BDT 262) and the last daily income USD 5 (BDT 476). Reference: The daily Jugantar, 26 April 2020. According to the report:

    • In Bangladesh, the population earning less than USD 2 a day is 2 crore 37 lakhs or 14.8 percent. They are identified as extremely poor. If Corona hits a maximum of 20 percent of a person’s income and purchasing power, their total income below USD 2 a day will increase by 6 percent, in other words, 98 lakh more people will be added to the list of the extreme poor. and their total income below USD 3.2 will increase by 7 percent.
    • The number of people earning a daily income above USD 1.90 or below USD 3.6 is 68 million (55 percent). If the corona hits 20 percent of income would increase the rate from 55 to 62 percent. That means it will increase by 7 percent. As a result, 1 crore 12 lakh more people will become poor. As a result, 27 million people will be included in the list of poor and extremely poor in the new cove in the Corona retaliation.
    • If it hits 5 percent instead of 20 percent, the poorest (USD 1.90) will increase by 1 percent and the poor (USD 3.20) by 1.52 percent. As such, the number of extremely poor and needy people in Bangladesh will be 4 million anew; Of these, 18 lakh will be extremely poor and 24 lakh people will become poor.
    • If the corona hits 20 percent of the income or purchasing power of the people of Bangladesh, 20 million people will fall below the extreme poverty and poverty again. And if the hit rate is even 5 percent, then 4 million people will fall from their previous position.
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Gender based violence: women and children are innocent victims

Gender based violence has increased while people are about under house arrest during lockdown situation due to outbreak of coronavirus in the country. Experts say, both men and women are victims of domestic violence. Women and children have been the victim of slander, false accusations and even physical abuses.  But none of them want to reveal their names or take any action in this regard.

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