|Description||The project will develop and implement a sustainable management and biodiversity conservation system for the Sundarbans region of Bangladesh on the basis of rational plans and the participation of all key stakeholders, including: (i) priority biodiversity conservation initiatives and improved forest management; (ii) increased institutional capacity to manage the Sundarbans Reserved Forest (SRF); (iii) measures to reduce poverty of the 2-3 million people living in the impact zone bordering the SRF through expanding economic opportunities, improved social infrastructure, improved organization for resource-users, and facilitating stakeholder participation in resource management; and (iv) adopting a supportive set of policies, especially related to the pricing for access to SRF resources.|
|Implementation Status||Explanation for canceling: (01.13.2005)
ADB Loan including GEF Grant for the Project was suspended since September 4, 2003 on account of serious implementation delays, making it improbable that the Project can be carried out in a manner consistent with its original objectives, and lack of proper financial management, breaching the ADB Financial Management Guidelines. Final ADB mission (October 5-10, 2004) reviewed the progress made by the Borrower on meeting the 3 conditions to lift the suspension of the Loan. ADB concluded that 1 condition was partly complied with, while 2 conditions were not complied with. Therefore, there was no basis for lifting the suspension, which has been ongoing for 14 months. ADB approved cancellation of the Loan and the associated GEF grant on the 10th of January 2005 and informed the Government of Bangladesh on the January 13, 2005.
EXPLANATION FOR CANCELING:
>>>>> In September 2003, ADB suspended the right of the Borrower's to make further withdrawals from the loan account. ADB management approved the following conditions to consider lifting the suspension: (i) Ministry of Environment and Forest (MOEF)/Forest Department (FD) shall have revised the Sundarbans Biodiversity Conservation Project design according to a revision plan acceptable to ADB, including the use of the participatory and consultative process as agreed in March 2003, (ii) MOEF/FD shall have reconciled the Project's accounts in compliance with ADB's Financial Management Guidelines, and (iii) MOEF shall have taken action to ensure compliance with the crucial loan covenants of the Project. In October 2004, the ADB review mission assessed the feasibility of lifting the suspension or cancelling the Project. On 10 January 2005, ADB approved cancellation of the Project on account of lack of progress to meet the 3 conditions to lift the suspension of the Loan. The suspension was approved in 2003 on the basis of (i) serious implementation delays, making it improbable that the Project can be carried out in a manner consistent with its original objectives; and (iii) lack of proper financial management of the Project, breaching the ADB Financial Management Guidelines.
Loan effectiveness was delayed as the Government failed to adequately meet two effectiveness conditions: (i) staffing of the Sundarbans Management Unit and creation of the Sundarbans Stewardship Commission. These conditions have now been met, and the loan agreement was declared effective on August 6, 1999. Project inception workshops conducted in July 2000. Implementation has commenced with establishment of Sunderbans Management Unit (SMU) and Sunderbans Stewardship Committee (SSC). A Project Director has been appointed and a Project Office established at Khulna, Main TA contracts have been signed.|