Working with the Government of Bangladesh to tackle poverty and environmental challenges in the Delta

Oxford University was recently involved in a national-level stakeholder workshop in Dhaka, Bangladesh, aimed at engaging government and stakeholder groups in the development of tools, information and strategies for poverty alleviation and environmental management in coastal Bangladesh.

The workshop was attended by the Planning Minister Mr. AHM Mustafa Kamal, the State Minister for Planning Mr. MA Mannan, and the Secretary of Ministry of Planning Bhuiyan Shafiqul Islam. In addition, approximately 90 participants from different ministries, divisions, agencies, development partners, and consultants attended the inaugural session.

The workshop was held as part of ESPA Deltas, a multi-disciplinary project funded by NERC, DFID and ESRC, which aims to develop knowledge and tools for policy makers to evaluate the effects of policy decisions on people’s livelihoods.

The meeting was jointly organised by the Bangladesh General Economics Division of the Planning Commission, and project partner BUET (Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology). The primary objective of the workshop was to engage the Bangladesh government in the ESPA Deltas project, to ensure the outcomes of the project feed into future legislation, policy and management. A key component of this was to establish links with the Bangladesh Delta Plan 2100 being currently prepared by a Bangladeshi-Dutch consortium.

The workshop also included a technical session to involve stakeholders in scenario development, and to elicit information about future scenarios and issues of key concern; to identify possible policy and management interventions; as well as barriers to implementation. The technical session was organised by University of Dundee, University of Oxford and BUET.

Through the ESPA Deltas project, Professor Paul Whitehead and Dr Emily Barbour from Oxford University are examining the impact of future climatic and socio-economic changes on water availability and water quality within the Ganges-Brahmaputra-Meghna Basin. They are working with stakeholders and project partners to develop scenarios affecting a range of different ecosystem services and are investigating different management strategies to improve water security and reduce poverty.

Group discussions during the technical session of the workshop

Group discussions during the technical session of the workshop