Delta knowledge aimed at implementation in Bangladesh

Energetic annual meeting on Urbanising Deltas of the World

10 February 2018

On 21 January 2018, over 50 researchers and government representatives from Bangladesh and the Netherlands attended the annual meeting of the Urbanising Deltas of the World research and innovation programme in Dhaka, Bangladesh. The aim of the meeting was to enhance exchange and to strengthen community building, as well as to reflect on the Pathways to Impact of the projects in order stimulate the relevance and potential use of UDW research in Delta planning in Bangladesh. The meeting was excellently hosted by prof. Isa Baud, chair of the UDW steering committee.

Tthe morning programme consisted of parallel sessions on pathways to impact. Several project leaders prepared workshops in line with their Impact Pathway challenges. In the afternoon, project representatives pitched their research results.

Pathways to impact

Six projects focusing (among others) on Bangladesh presented the ways in which they analysed and implemented change processes in their projects in view of the pathways to impact. Another project focused specifically on the status of Adaptive Delta Management in Bangladesh, including challenges and differences compared to the Netherlands. Some of the insights concerned:

  • Policy changes at the national level are not necessarily linked to the changes at the local level, which can be both enabling or disabling.
  • Indigenous people need to have ownership of the process, which requires needs assessment by eliciting local demand.
  • A culture of monitoring and evaluation and learning is essential in the adaptive delta management cycle
  • The role and interests of the private sector parties are not always the same. The private sector can have a defensive, proactive or reactive attitude towards sustainability.
  • The concepts that are utilised in the planning processes need to be well understood and this takes a lot of time in the beginning of the process.
  • Policy is generally not based on raw knowledge, brokers are needed to mediate between research, research output and policy, to translate innovations.
  • Researchers can improve the knowledge capacity of government institutions and communities by direct sharing of research results through workshops or community meetings.

Please read the full report for all insights and reflections on the Pathways to Impact.

Research results pitched

Strategic delta planning - Nguyen Hong Quan

The afternoon programme consisted of the presentation of a number of pitches of several scientific article that could contribute to implementing the Bangladesh Deltaplan. Having articles as a starting point was to aim at research results.

In short, the results that the projects focused on concerned:

  • Shifting Grounds: Discovering the informal rules within formal rules, in a participatory way.
  • Strategic Delta Planning: The MOTA model of perceptions and actions of local communities in dealing with delta change in Mekong delta links the local and delta level well.
  • Adaptive delta management: A theory motivated metamodel can provide quick insights of different policy actions or measures and their implications on the overall system.
  • Freshwater supply: The mass flow analysis tool visualises the water, nutrients and energy flows, and can determine what interventions are appropriate to improve the water system.
  • Hydro-Social Deltas: People’s perceptions of flood damage differ; variety needs to be understood. This requires a trans-disciplinary approach.
  • DELTAP: Arsenic presence in ground wateris  dangerous and expensive to identify on a repetitive basis; project identified alternative iron analysis also indicative of arsenic and developed citizen science methods.
  • CCMCC–project on community based adaptive learning: Negotiations occurred where incentives were identified that would benefit both parties. Such processes had to be led from beyond local communities, through catalysts to support negotiation processes.

The pitches received questions and suggestions from a small jury of researchers and policymakers: Jos van Alphen, Isa Baud, Jaap de Heer, Robert Hofstede and Taibur Rahman. Three pitches were selected for presentation in the policy-research meeting on 22 January, namely the ‘Shifting Grounds’ pitch by Leon Hermans,the ‘Strengthening Strategic Delta Planning processes’ pitch by Nguyen Hong Quan, and the ‘DELTAP’ pitch by Doris van Halem.

Please read the full report for the contributions and possible implications for the Bangladesh deltaplan.


Source: NWO