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The Indian Sundarbans is a highly biodiverse and fragile mangrove ecosystem, at the conflu

Development of a Proposal for the Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development (Germany) to Deploy Nature-based Solutions (NbS) to Strengthen Resilience to Climate Change, in the Indian Sundarbans 

CLIENT: terre de hommes (tdh)

DURATION: August - December 2020

LOCATION: India (West Bengal)



The Sundarbans is an extensive and dynamic ecosystem complex, spread across India and Bangladesh and the largest continuous extent of mangroves in the world. On the Indian side, of a total of 102 islands, 48 fall within the Sundarbans Reserve Forest (SRF); the remaining 54 islands are inhabited by over 4.5 million people. The SRF and the settlements are on two mutually exclusive sets of islands. A large area outside of the SRF was declared the Sundarbans Biosphere Reserve in 1989, and covers a considerable area outside the deltaic islands. The SRF lies in the eastern corner of India bordering Bangladesh while many of the populated islands are located along the western periphery of the delta.

The low-lying Indian Sundarbans delta is extremely vulnerable to disasters including storms and flooding events. Lives and land are threatened by erosion, sea-level rise and deforestation. Warmer sea-surface temperatures are making rainfall patterns more complex and erratic, causing problems for agriculture, the dominant source of livelihoods. Crop yields have been declining because of rising soil salinity, over the decades. Coupled with this is dramatically declining fish catch - thought to be exacerbated by climate change. As the surface water temperatures change, some species, like the Indian mackerel, are moving to deeper waters, making them harder to catch. All of this is prompting a change in human migration patterns, as people are forced to look elsewhere for work.


  • Conducted discussions with 5 local child’s-rights NGOs in West Bengal and designed needs-based assessment surveys for them to conduct within their partner communities on the islands in the Indian Sundarbans.


  • Developed and conducted a rapid resilience assessment report, based on data and information from literature reviews, field surveys and stakeholder discussions, to determine the vulnerability, exposure and adaptive capacity of the mangrove ecosystem and communities to climate shocks and stressors, in the Indian Sundarbans.


  • Conceptualized strategies to address the decreasing socio-ecological resilience in the Indian Sundarbans, to climate-induced disasters.  


  • Developed funding proposal including log frame; activity-based timelines and budgets; impact monitoring, evaluation, and reporting plans; and mapping of sustainability strategies beyond the project scope.


This multi-country, multi-year proposal was submitted to BMU (Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development, Germany) and tdh was awarded the project in 2021.

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