USAID intends to award one Cooperative Agreement for a period of five (5) years pursuant to this notice of funding opportunity.
Subject to funding availability and at the discretion of the Agency, USAID intends to provide not more than $20,500,000 in total USAID funding, out of which $1,000,000
is exclusively reserved for a Crisis and/or Emergency Response budget line item.
The USAID Ecosystems / Protibesh (ecosystems in Bengali) activity seeks to improve ecosystem conservation in Bangladesh by strengthening environmental governance and management, reducing key threats to biodiversity, and supporting market-based incentives in and around Key Biodiversity Areas (KBAs) of the country.
The initial targeted geographies include areas of significant biodiversity around 1) the Sundarbans Reserve Forest in Khulna Division and 2) the ecologically critical forest and wetland ecosystems in Sylhet Division.
Key focus areas include, but are not limited to, improving local environmental governance; strengthening the sustainability and capacity of co-management organizations; strengthening the capacity of local government units to integrate environmental management into local development planning efforts; engaging relevant Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) in environmental governance; mobilizing local communities, integrating women, minority populations and youth in conservation and protection efforts; and providing policy support to the Government of Bangladesh’s (GoB) Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC), Ministry of Land (MoL), and Ministry of Fisheries and Livestock (MoFL).
This Activity will contribute to USAID/Bangladesh’s Country Development Cooperation Strategy (CDCS) Development Objective 4, Strengthened Resilience to Natural Hazards, by improving ecosystem conservation (Intermediate Result (IR) 4. 1) in and around targeted KBAs and will align with and contribute to Mission Bangladesh’s Objective 3. 3 (Resilience to Natural Hazards Strengthened) of the Bangladesh Integrated Country Strategy (ICS).
As USAID/Bangladesh is in the process of developing a new CDCS, this activity will need to align with the forthcoming CDCS results framework, as well as other relevant USG policies, strategies, and initiatives.
The USAID Ecosystems / Protibesh activity will contribute to USAID’s Journey to Self-Reliance policy by strengthening local capacities, accelerating enterprise-driven development, mobilizing public and private revenues, and achieving locally-sustained results.
According to its Self-Reliance Roadmap, Bangladesh is relatively weak in areas such as biodiversity protection, government and civil society capacity, open and accountable governance, and inclusive development.
In the spirit of self-reliance, lessons learned from this activity will inform similar initiatives within Bangladesh to further build local capacity, ownership, and sustainability.
In addition, the USAID Ecosystems / Protibesh activity will contribute to regional knowledge and cooperation to advance the objectives of the USG’s Indo-Pacific Vision (IPV).
Strengthening natural resource management is a key component of the vision for a free and open Indo-Pacific region.
The ecosystems of the Sundarbans and Sylhet are part of broader transnational landscapes shared with India; lessons learned from this activity will inform conservation efforts in both countries.
This activity will advance the IPV by mitigating threats to biodiversity, combating illegal logging and wildlife poaching, promoting environmental safeguards, fostering private sector engagement, and conserving ecosystems.
The effective conservation and management of Bangladesh’s natural resources will be critical for its long-term growth and sustainable development.
The selection process for an award under this NOFO will proceed in multiple phases.
In Phase 1, applicants will submit a Technical Approach that demonstrates how the applicant intends to achieve the objectives and results of the Program Description in Section A.
Based on the results of the evaluation process in accordance with the merit review criteria outlined in Section E, The Agreement Officer will select up to three Technical Approaches that show the greatest promise of success.
These selected Technical Approaches will proceed to Phase 2. The Agreement Officer may select fewer than three or more than three Technical Approaches if the number of promising Technical Approaches warrant it.
In the event USAID determines none of the initial applications received are acceptable, USAID may issue an amendment to this NOFO to again seek interested applicants.
Following the selection of Technical Approaches in Phase 1, applicants will be notified if their Technical Approach will or will not proceed to Phase 2. Technical Approaches not selected in Phase 1 will no longer be considered for an award under this NOFO.
Only Technical Approaches selected in Phase 1 will proceed to Phase 2. In Phase 2, applicants will submit a full Technical Application consisting of 3 sections:
a revised Technical Approach that incorporates applicants’ answers to questions posed by the selection committee to the applicant, a management and staffing plan, and a statement of institutional capacity and past performance.
In Phase 2, applicants will also submit a Cost Application.
Applicants, if notified they will proceed to Phase 2, will be provided instructions for Phase 2 application requirements and merit review criteria (A sample of Phase 2 instructions and merit review criteria are attached to this NOFO).
Applicants will have approximately 15 days to submit their complete Phase 2 applications.
The Agreement Officer will determine this deadline and include this information with Phase 2 instructions.
The selection committee will evaluate all complete applications submitted during Phase 2 and the Agreement Officer will select an apparently successful applicant (ASA) with whom the Agreement Officer will conduct discussions.
In the event that discussions with the ASA are not successful, the Agreement Officer reserves the right to select a new ASA from Phase 2 applications with whom to have discussions or make no award.