The University of Arizona

The Nishorgo Support Project, the Lawachara National Park, and the Chevron seismic survey: forest conservation or energy procurement in Bangladesh?

Mohammad Tanzimuddin Khan


The paper focuses on the operation of a forest conservation project, the USAID-funded Nishorgo Support Project, and its operations in the Lawachhara National Park, Srimangal, Moulvibazar District, Bangladesh. The project has instituted a collaborative management approach. The participants include both state and non-state actors including the Bangladesh Government, the USAID, IUCN, NGOs, and local communities. In 2008 Chevron conducted a seismic survey for natural gas in the National Park, which violated municipal law. This placed the Nishorgo Project in a dilemma over its declared goal of forest conservation versus the interest of the state and Chevron in harnessing gas. This article analyses the interplay of the actors surrounding this critical moment, and argues the officially declared values, norms, and ideational elements guiding the project should be questioned. In establishing this argument, this paper uses the concept of "accountability communities" coined by Kanishka Jayasurya.

Key words: Accountability communities, co-management approach, Nishorgo Project, Chevron, USAID, conservation, participation, governance. 

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