A project of the General Economics Division of the Bangladesh Planning Commission funded by the Government of the Netherlands

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Bangladesh Delta Plan 2100: a holistic, long-term, vision-based plan for the Bangladesh Delta

The government of Bangladesh, in cooperation with the government of the Netherlands, aims to create the Bangladesh Delta Plan 2100. The Delta Plan will integrate planning from delta-related sectors and from all across the country to come to a long-term, holistic and integrated plan for the Bangladesh Delta. The Delta Plan will be grounded in a long-term vision of the Delta’s future. This long-term vision, combined with the use of scenarios, allows planning to be adaptive and dynamic by constantly taking into account uncertainties in future developments in climate change, socio-economic development, population growth and regional cooperation. The Delta Plan aims to provide the foundation for permanent delta governance in Bangladesh through the outlining of a Delta Framework.

Bangladesh is the largest delta of the world. Its rivers and floodplains make up 80% of the country and support life, livelihoods and the economy. Bangladesh is a rapidly developing country, envisaging to become a middle-income country in 2021. The country faces major inter-related delta challenges in water safety, food security and socio-economic development and is prone to natural calamities such as floods, cyclones, and droughts. There is already high pressure on the available land and water resources in the delta.

The Bangladesh Delta Plan 2100 is formulated through a process that takes inspiration from the delta planning process as used in the Netherlands, while being firmly rooted in the particular circumstances of Bangladesh. The Netherlands and Bangladesh are faced with highly similar challenges in terms of water safety. Key elements of the delta planning process include the conduct of baseline studies (now completed – can be found here), the outlining of a delta vision and scenarios (now completed, they can be found here), the creation of a delta framework for delta governance, the iterative selection of delta strategies, the formulation of an investment plan and a program for capacity building. The plan will find immediate applicability through a set of short-term no-regrets measures that has been worked out as input to the Bangladesh government’s 7th Five-Year Plan for 2016-2020 (find them here).

The formulation of the plan is led by the General Economics Division of the Ministry of Planning, and is supported by the Government of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. Technical assistance is provided through the Dutch-Bangladeshi BanDuDeltAS consortium and by Bangladeshi research organization Policy Research Institute, bringing together cross-sectoral expertise from the Netherlands and Bangladesh. Having started in 2014, the formulation of the Bangladesh Delta Plan 2100 is expected to be completed in 2016.

Key Points of the Bangladesh Delta Plan

-           The Bangladesh Delta Plan integrates all delta-related sector plans and policies, enveloping a Delta Vision and strategies that make it possible to integrate sector plans and policies for the long term and to present actionable interventions with a roadmap for realization. It will change the individual sector approach of project planning and implementation into a multi-lateral coordinated approach and related program management.

-           It enables the government to integrate climate change adaptation in a more strategic, knowledge-based and consistent way, making efficient use of limited natural and economic resources in Bangladesh. Lessons learnt in other countries like the Netherlands will be explored and reflected upon.

-           The Delta Plan enhances good governance through its focus on institutional strengthening, policy or institutional reform, coordination and cooperation, on capacity building and transparency and integrity.

-           The Delta Plan enables coordination of the funding process among the different government bodies and private stakeholders, thus using limited funds and investments more effectively.

-           The Delta Plan creates an opportunity to harmonize regional and local development plans for agriculture, water management, environmental affairs, ecosystem management, urbanization, tourism, etc. with the national plans.

-           The Delta Plan provides a means for strengthening international cooperation, both with development partners and neighbouring countries e.g. on trans-boundary river issues.

-           The Delta Plan creates an opportunity to harmonize regional and local development plans for agriculture, water management, environmental affairs, ecosystem management, urbanization, tourism, etc. with the national plans.

Benefits of the Bangladesh Delta Plan

•           Enabling the Bangladesh government to integrate climate change adaptation, in order to optimize the efficient use of limited resources.

•           A plan for a future delta that ensures water safety, food security and economic growth.

•           Making Bangladesh’s short-, medium- and long-term planning robust for a future uncertain with climate change and rapid up-river and socio-economic developments.