Bangladesh + 1 more

Rohingya Refugee Response in Bangladesh: Energy & Environment Factsheet - as of 31 March 2022



Access to Cleaner Cooking Energy - Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG)

Since September 2018, UNHCR and IOM have been distributing LPG as cooking fuel to all refugee households to meet their basic needs and mitigate climate change. LPG is a cleaner and more efficient alternative to firewood and has become the primary cooking fuel used by refugees to meet their daily cooking needs. The distribution of LPG has had a significant environmental benefit by reducing carbon emissions, deforestation and associated disaster risks, protection risks such as gender-based violence and negative health impacts due to smoke inhalation. It also promotes food security, nutrition, and peaceful coexistence in the camps by reducing competition for resources. To enhance fuel efficiency, UNHCR initiated pre-pilot testing of pressure cookers that will be further scaled up in 2022.

Access to Lighting, Electrical Energy and Lightning Protection

UNHCR has installed thousands of solar streetlights across all camps to improve access for refugees to water and sanitation facilities, and to mitigate gender-based violence risks and support a community-based maintenance strategy to promote continued operation and maintenance of these important assets. To protect refugees from ongoing risk exposure to lightning strikes, UNHCR has also installed lightning protection systems across the camps and in all newly constructed facilities where required. To reduce carbon dioxide emissions from diesel generators, and support lighting, UNHCR has also installed and maintains solar mini grids to power health facilities, camp offices, communal facilities, and lighting with renewable energy to mitigate climate change.

Environment and Ecosystem Rehabilitation

UNHCR and partners engage refugees and local Bangladeshis to rehabilitate the environment, clean up and prevent pollution of waterways, increase resilience to climate shocks by reducing disaster risks from landslides, floods, droughts, and fires with an emphasis on nature-based solutions such as plantation for slope stabilization and water quality management as well as establishment of water reservoirs for various uses. Climate Action through revegetation with mixed species is underway with quality planting materials grown in two nurseries including trees, bamboo, and grasses to enhance soil erosion control. Toddy palm seedlings are also being planted as a nature-based solution to provide additional protection of refugees against lightning strikes in line with the Government of Bangladesh’s strategy.

Environmental rehabilitation

provides cash for work opportunities for refugees and local Bangladeshis, further supporting resilience to climate shocks. To ensure the sustainability of interventions, rapid environmental impact assessments are undertaken, and communities, especially youth, are engaged with environmental education training and sensitization on the importance of environmental conservation.

Sustainable Land Management and Environmental Rehabilitation Project (SuLMER)

Recognizing that both refugee and host communities live in a shared environment and can be affected by upstream conditions, UNHCR and partners are working to holistically rehabilitate watersheds which are areas or basins of land where all the streams and rainfall drain to a common outlet. This multi-sectoral approach promotes climate resilience as well as peaceful coexistence and involves stream excavation, bank protection, slope stabilization, revegetation, plant-based wastewater treatment, drainage improvement and construction of silt traps, water reservoirs and firebreaks.

Wildlife Conservation and Human-Elephant Conflict Management

Since the establishment of the camps after the 2017 influx, the risk of human-elephant conflicts remains a protection concern for both the refugee and the host communities who live in the migration corridor of one of the last remaining herds of wild Asian elephants. To mitigate human-elephant conflicts in the camps and surrounding areas, elephant response team volunteers are trained and equipped with torches and loudspeakers to deter elephants to the nearby forests; they use 99 elephant watch towers to guard the camps. Thorny plants and beehives are being established along the camp boundaries to act as natural deterrents to elephants. Volunteers are also involved in wildlife rescue including snakes that are transported to the local wildlife centre operated by the Bangladesh Forest Department.

SAFE Plus 2: UN-Joint Programme

In close coordination with the Government, UNHCR leads the second phase of the Safe Access to Fuel and Energy Plus (SAFE+2) Joint Programme with FAO, WFP, and IOM. The programme seeks to enable safe access to sufficient and cleaner cooking energy for all refugee households; to rehabilitate and protect degraded environment and ecosystems in the camps and surrounding areas; and to increase resilience among refugee and host community households.