With a series of ateliers held in the past week, the Bangladesh Delta Plan team has been very busy recently! A number of ateliers (workshops) were organized recently:
15 March 2015: Workshop 1 – Thematic baseline issues per hotspot
16, 18 and 22 March 2015: Workshop 2 – Exercises in integral thinking
Thematic baseline issues per hotspot
In the first workshop, the focus was on the six hotspot areas in Bangladesh. Namely, they are the Coastal Zone, Barind Region, Haor Region, Chittagong Hill Tracts, River and Estuary and Urban Areas. Together with experts and stakeholders, the workshops aimed to develop a thorough understanding of the main challenges and opportunities for six thematic clusters at the hotspot level. This highly valuable output will be used as the starting point of the hotspots’ integral analyses.
After an introductory session, the participants were split into three main breakout groups, configured along thematic clusters. Each cluster held several closely related themes. You might recognise that these are the same themes as used for the various BDP baseline studies. However, the configuration of the groups varies slightly, as you can see below:
1. Water resources, River system management, Disaster management, public health, water supply and sanitation, ecological settings, Forest and biodiversity, Environmental pollution
2. Land resource management, Agriculture and food security, Climate change, Fisheries and Live stock
3. Urbanization and settlement, Growth of population and management, sustainable transportation and infrastructure, socio-economic and demographic condition, Regional cooperation, Institutional framework (governance)
Participants jointly discussed and identified the main the main challenges and opportunities for each hotspot within each theme(s). The group facilitator worked with the participants to point these out on maps. Three touchtables were also available, one for each group. The participants greatly benefited from the use of touchtables since they could look at relevant data real-time as each issue were being discussed. This allowed the discussion from going into different directions based on personal biases, since the data easily visualized through the touchtables kept the discussions and interactions grounded. As a result, each group produced multiple visual representation of the issues on maps that are thematic and localized. Hotspot selection itself was discussed, as was potential issues relevant for each thematic cluster that is not well represented by the current proposed hotspot selection.
Exercises in Integral Thinking
Three hotspots were further investigated on integral challenges and opportunities as part of ‘Exercises in Integral Thinking’. These were River and Estuary, Coastal Zone and Barind Region. All BDP Thematic Baseline “leaders” or their representatives were invited to participate. Representatives from thematic groups from the previous Delta Atelier recapitulated the main issues for the hotspot concerned for a quick insight into the challenges and opportunities for the hotspot at hand, and all the main points were reiterated.
As an exercise in developing integral problem statements, strategy making and designing at the hotspot level, the participants were invited to balance and negotiate their problems and solutions for the hotspot discussed with one another in an interactive design session. The participants were spilt up in two (or three) smaller groups, and each group was given a clear development direction to pursue in their hypothetical design and strategy making. It was made sure that all smaller groups had a good mix of consultants from various fields of expertise to maintain balance.
One of the objectives of the workshop was to find ways to balance the development directions. In the last phase of the session, participants were challenged to balance their design to serve multiple development interests. The groups presented their work and were then invited to adjust their designs and strategies by adopting elements of the strategies suggested by the other groups pursuing different goals for the same hotspot.
Officials, practitioners and researchers were present from the Department of Disaster Management, Department of Livestock, Department of Fisheries, SRDI, BWDB, IWM, BARC, IUCN, LGED, Bangladesh Agricultural University, Dhaka University – BUET, Dhaka WASA, Witteveen+Bos, WARPO, CEGIS, Mott MacDonald, General Economics Division of the Planning Commission and the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. The workshops were facilitated by the BanDuDeltas consulting team, with Anne Loes Nillesen, Robert de Kort and Hasse Goosen coordinating group discussions.
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