Strengthening strategic delta planning processes in Bangladesh, the Netherlands, Vietnam and beyond

This research aims to support long-term integrated and adaptive management of delta planning processes in Bangladesh, the Netherlands, and Vietnam.

Key audiences to be targeted in the research include:

  • Decision-makers and planners involved in ongoing and future delta planning processes at national and provincial levels
  • Other governmental and non-governmental stakeholders involved in and affected by delta planning
  • International donors and governments supporting and financing delta planning processes and investments
  • Regional and international policy, scientific and outreach networks of the project partners



Strategic delta planning is a relatively novel approach that is increasingly used to support long-term integrated and adaptive management of urbanizing deltas, for instance in the Netherlands, Vietnam and Bangladesh. Although strategic delta planning is generally initiated as a concerted effort during a limited period of years, it does not take place in a vacuum. Delta planning needs to fit within a longer history of past planning efforts, societal structures and existing policy environments if it wants to secure a successful implementation throughout its longer-term planning horizon.

Therefore, this project looks at the larger picture to ensure a better connection between strategic delta planning activities and their societal and technological environment. Through a combination of research, policy engagement and capacity building, it aims to support better connections between science, policy-makers and societal stakeholders, fostering a joint learning environment that supports adaptive implementation of strategic decisions on the future of urbanizing deltas.

A better understanding of the nature and specifics of strategic delta planning processes is built, studying three crucial elements that together heavily influence the fit of delta planning within society: the formation and change over time of various stakeholder coalitions; the role of technological advances and innovative solutions in longer-term delta management processes; and the availability of tools and approaches that support participatory processes to enable better connections between delta planners and their broader environment.

Strong links with practice are forged to ensure the empirical grounding of research, uptake of results and contributions to policy practice. The project therefore is linked to real-world strategic delta planning processes in the Netherlands, Bangladesh and Vietnam. These linkages are secured through the involvement in these processes of the various members of the project consortium. Furthermore, as delta planning requires the combination of delta-level coordination with national level planning and local level actions, the project looks also at specific locations within each of the countries. For this, work in the southwestern areas of Bangladesh and the Netherlands is foreseen, as well as in An Giang province in Vietnam. These areas are characterized by the prevalence of polders, sometimes introduced at one time as an innovative solution, which, with the ongoing pressures from urbanization, growth and climate change, demand new innovations in management and/or technology.

Capacity building is embedded in the involvement of various stakeholders throughout the project activities, as well as through the international networks and educational platforms offered by the project partners.


Scientific article

Publication meant for a broad audience

Publical information


Project number

W 07.69.106

Main applicant

Dr. W.J.A.M. Douven

Affiliated with

UNESCO-IHE Institute for Water Education

Team members

H. van den Berg MA MSc, J. Brunner, Dr. W.J.A.M. Douven, Dr. ir. J. Evers, Dr. T.P. Gia, Dr. ir. G.E. van Halsema, A.K.Md. Hasan BSc, S. Hasan, Prof. dr. ir. P.J.G.J. Hellegers, Dr. ir. L.M. Hermans, V. van Hoang, Prof. dr. S.M. Khan, Dr. M.F. Khan, S. Koole, Dr. ir. D. Korbee, Dr. ir. D. Korbee, Dr. W. Ligtvoet, Dr. M. Marchand, Prof. dr. U.K. Navera, D.T. Nguyen, B. Nishat MSc, Dr. H.L. Phi, L. Pols, C.J.L. Seijger, M.A.R. Shah, S. Slabbers MSc, Dr. I. Sobhan, Prof. dr. ir. W.A.H. Thissen, M. Vermoolen, M. Vermoolen, Prof. dr. P. van der Zaag


01/09/2014 to 31/08/2018