Bangladesh is one of the most climate-vulnerable countries, supposed to be hit hardest by climate change and rising sea levels. Therefore, Bangladesh has adopted the Delta Plan 2100. What exactly is the plan? Why is it important?
Former World Bank vice president Dr. Ismail Serageldin stated in 1995: “If the wars of this century were fought over oil, the wars of the next century will be fought over water – unless we change our approach to managing this precious and vital resource.” The United Nations estimates that by 2025 two-thirds of the world population will have to live in water scarce places. If water is meager, then people would either have to relocate somewhere else or fight against other nations to gain control of water resources, especially fresh water.
Bangladesh is one of the very few countries in the world which has an abundance of water resources due to its geographic location. The country is located in the biggest delta in the world – the Ganges-Brahmaputra Delta – which has a surface area of around 100,000 square kilometers. Thus, the country has huge water resources which are still untapped.
Additionally, the threat of climate change exacerbates the crisis even more. Climate change might cause more than 35 million people to be displaced from their homes in coastal regions and create an additional 14% of the country severely vulnerable to flooding by 2050. As Bangladesh is situated in the low-lying areas of the delta, the country is vulnerable to the adverse effects of climate change.
Hence, the country needs a strong measure to combat the climate changes and save up the coastal and urban-rural regions with special attention. To save the country from disasters, efficient water security, ecology and environmental resources a long term plan and strategies were needed, which we know as the Bangladesh Delta Plan 2100.
Bangladesh Delta Plan 2100
On September 4th, 2018, the National Economic Council (NEC), presided over by Bangladesh’s Honorable Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, adopted the Bangladesh Delta Plan (BDP) 2100. A visionary plan of 100 years, the only nation in the world to create such a thorough long-term strategy for its whole delta is Bangladesh. Through new investments and upkeep of existing completed infrastructure, the Bangladeshi government intends to allocate 2.5% of GDP on delta-related activities.
The Bangladeshi government created a comprehensive development strategy in Bangladesh Delta Plan 2100. The strategy emphasizes increased climate resilience, environmental preservation, and economic prosperity. The strategy aims to safeguard water supplies for the future and lessen the expected effects of climate change. The strategy outlines the comprehensive, cross-sectoral activity required to boost output and reduce disaster risks. The strategy also emphasizes economic growth, environmental preservation, and increased climate resilience. Additionally, it intends to create a resilient flood defense system, boost water management, and increase climate tolerance.
Goals to Achieve
Under BDP 2100 a long term multidimensional and holistic plan is taken on water resource management, climate changes with environmental hazards. Specific goals under BDP 2100 are taken in the country with a vision of “Achieving safe, climate resilient and prosperous delta” with a mission of integrated strategies regarding food security, economic growth and sustainability. The plan expects to reduce vulnerability within 2041. The plan has 6 overarching goals to realize the full potential of Bangladesh’s unique geographic location-
The Bangladesh Delta Plan 2100 guarantees environmental sustainability while achieving long-term food and water security, increasing productivity and economic prosperity, enhancing disaster risk reduction and climate resilience, obtaining the most effective use possible of land and water resources.
Around 60% reduction in urban migration, a 50% reduction in coastal migration, and a 50% reduction in river migration. The strategy outlines the comprehensive, cross-sectoral activity required to accomplish these goals. To implement the BDP 2100, effective coordination and collaboration between several stakeholders will be essential.
Long term Vision, Integration and Collaboration
The plan is a long-term, comprehensive, integrated vision of water and land management for all of Bangladesh, which will assure the sustainable development of the delta area. To implement the BDP 2100, effective coordination and collaboration across many stakeholders will be essential.
The BDP2100’s implementation has been difficult in terms of project discovery, funding allocation, and timely execution. Some proposals are intended to be incorporated into the Mujib Climate Prosperity Plan (MCPP), which is now being completed, to provide a comprehensive framework for climate resilience and switching to green energy. All climate measures must be incorporated into the government’s 8th Five-Year Plan as soon as possible. This should be followed by a large finance mobilization and budgetary allocations for key initiatives. Increased capabilities in public investment management, domestic income mobilization, and financial sector intermediation are necessary to put these massive investment initiatives into operation. The strategies outlined in the BDP are devised to implement at 3 levels. The plan aims to tackle flood risk and freshwater management at the national level, regional level, local level.
The Netherlands, Bangladesh, and the World Bank are collaborating to implement the Bangladesh Delta Plan 2100. The Netherlands and Bangladesh formalized their cooperation in 2012 by signing a document to work together on land reclamation and flood control. The goal of the Bangladesh Delta Plan 2100 is to advance cooperation and flood prevention.
Projects under the Delta Plan
80 projects are included in the Bangladesh Delta Plan 2100, 65 of which are physical projects and 15 of which are institutional and knowledge development projects. Infrastructure development initiatives, including river training, coastal afforestation, and disaster-resistant infrastructure, are included in the physical projects 1–5. The programs for institutional and knowledge development include finance, institutional strengthening, facilitation of execution, assistance for investment planning, and capacity building. The plan’s objectives are to increase climate resilience, promote optimal and integrated use of land and water resources, and ensure long-term food and water security. A $38 billion investment plan is now in place to support BDP implementation until the year 2030. To implement the BDP 2100, effective coordination and collaboration across diverse stakeholders will be essential.
Through new investments and upkeep of existing completed infrastructure, the Bangladeshi government intends to allocate 2.5% of GDP on delta-related activities. The current investment plan, which consists of 65 infrastructure projects and 15 institutional and knowledge development initiatives, is anticipated to cost $38 billion and will assist the execution of the BDP until 2030.
Zone Based Specific Strategies
The six hotspots that make up BDP 2100’s planning unit have each been given a strategy in the plan. Urban Areas, Chattogram Hill Tracts, River Systems and Estuaries, Barind and Drought Prone Areas, and Haor and Flash Flood Areas are the six hotspots.
The Bay of Bengal often experiences cyclones and storm surges which are harmful towards the Coastal Delta. With the economic development and socioeconomic changes the BDP suggests to combat storm surge and manage salinity intrusion. When the flood gets tough to handle, balancing water supply for sustainable growth is strategized. The drainage capacity has to be increased with reclaiming new lands in the coastal zone. The Sundarbans conservation is one of the major things to consider in the coastal zone.
The drought prone areas are selected as hotspots with freshwater availability to enhance ongoing development activities. Managing cross-border water issues, including river basin developments, minimizing losses from floods and drainage congestion, ensuring water supply and sanitation, and encouraging the construction of ponds and wells to collect rainwater are all important aspects of sustainable and inclusive growth.
Haor areas are prone to floods and food insecurity for a longer period of time, making a huge number of people vulnerable. Hence the annual flooding only causes a single crop in Haor. Sustainable management has to be ensured considering the Haor ecosystem and biodiversity. Especially protecting the vulnerable communities is a must.
Chattogram Hill Tracts have both hills and coastal plains. The area has coastal plain issues as well as recurrent dredging. In the eastern Hill area most of the catchments of the vital rivers are near to borders with integrated river basin opportunities. Hence the strategies include protecting economic zones, towns from floods and storm surges. Sustainable sanitation is one of the major strategies to take in the Chittagong Hill Tracts.
Due to Bangladesh being the biggest delta, improvement in conveyance capacity is a must to stabilize the rivers. Safe and reliable waterways as transport, strengthening the newly accredited lands is a must. Maintenance of important rivers like Padma, Meghna, Jamuna, Dharala etc should be the center of focus. The guidelines have to be set for “Balu Mohal” or dredged soils.
The urban population is increasing significantly by 2045 due to rural-urban migration which is creating stress in the urban regions with high population density. Hence waterlogging is one of the major problems in the urban areas with less drainage capacity which needs to be increased with water use efficiency. The water body pollution needs to be controlled to conserve the urban wetlands such as Hatirjheel. The disposal of medical, electronic waste has to be managed immediately. The industries who dump their industrious waste into the water have to be monitored.
The Delta Plan will also contribute to a 60% reduction in urban migration, a 50% reduction in coastal zone migration, and a 50% reduction in river area migration. Through new investments and upkeep of existing completed infrastructure. To implement the BDP 2100, effective coordination and collaboration between several stakeholders will be essential.
The plan is designed to increase productivity and reduce disaster risks, which will help to enhance economic growth and improve the livelihoods of people living in the delta region. It is also expected to require a combination of public and private funding from various sources in order to be implemented and aims to develop sustainable flood protection in Bangladesh, ensure a sufficient supply of clean drinking water, improve sanitation, and support land reclamation and port development.
The Bangladesh Delta Plan 2100 seeks to limit urban migration by around 60%, per the search results. In order to lessen the burden on urbanization, the strategy is intended to increase production and reduce catastrophic risks. In the absence of the plan’s execution, the agricultural sector would experience diminishing output, rising unemployment, and migration, which would reduce GDP growth to 6.8% by 2031 and 5.6% by 2041.
To increase job prospects, the government has started the job Injury Scheme (EIS) pilot project in the ready-made garment (RMG) industry. Policies that encourage households to stay are practical, and the strategy is anticipated to limit migration out of the hotspots around the coast and rivers. One of the main goals of the strategy is to reduce urban migration. Other important goals include establishing long-term food and water security, promoting economic development and productivity, enhancing climate resilience, and maximizing and integrating the use of land and water resources.
Bangladesh Delta Plan 2100 seeks to cut back on migration from coastal areas by 50%. The idea is made to increase production and lessen catastrophe risks, which would ease the demand on coastal areas’ migration.
In order to lessen the susceptibility of coastal regions to climate change and natural catastrophes, the plan calls for infrastructure projects such coastal embankments, coastal afforestation, and saline-tolerant agricultural production. The strategy also intends to facilitate implementation, promote investment planning, capacity training, institutional strengthening, and finance. One of the main goals of the plan is to stop coastal zone migration. Other important goals include establishing long-term food and water security, promoting economic development and productivity, enhancing climate resilience, and maximizing and integrating the use of land and water resources. To implement the BDP 2100, effective coordination and collaboration across diverse stakeholders will be essential.
The Bangladesh Delta Plan 2100 is intended to increase production and reduce catastrophe risks, which will contribute to greater economic growth and better living conditions for those who reside in the delta region. To increase agricultural output and lessen farmers’ susceptibility to climate change and natural catastrophes, the plan includes programs including climate-smart agriculture, water management, and river training. Through numerous efforts including the development of fisheries and aquaculture, tourism, and small and medium-sized businesses, the plan also intends to provide job possibilities in the riverine areas. The plan outlines steps to lower the risk of catastrophes in riverine areas, including early warning systems, evacuation schedules, and infrastructure built to withstand natural disasters. To implement the BDP 2100, effective coordination and collaboration across diverse stakeholders will be essential.
Bangladesh has pledged to take steps to reduce growing GHG emissions and has undertaken mitigation pledges under the Paris Agreement. Actions were stated in Bangladesh’s 2021 Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC) update to manage growing GHG emissions and maintain per capita emissions below the average for developing nations. The electricity, industrial, and transportation sectors were all included in the first NDC.
Cut Emissions by 2030
To reduce CO2 emissions (MTCO2e)
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In accordance with recommendations from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the 2021 update increased coverage to include energy, industrial processes and product consumption, agriculture, forestry and other land use, and waste. In comparison to business as usual, the amended NDC pledges to cut emissions in these sectors by 89.5 MtCO2e, or 21.9 percent, by 2030 (27.6 MTCO2e unconditionally and 61.9 MTCO2e conditionally). 96.1 percent of the decreases are accounted for by the energy sector, 2.7 percent by the water sector, and 1.2 percent by the agricultural, forestry, and other land use sectors. The sudden rise in gas and fuel costs has caused a short-term power crisis in Bangladesh, which emphasises the need to diversify energy sources, including renewable energy, and to take advantage of regional energy commerce. Energy efficiency initiatives and better pricing mechanisms are necessary for these improvements. It will be necessary to incorporate renewable energy sources, upgrade distribution and transmission networks, and boost regional transmission capacity in order to decarbonize the energy industry over the long term.
Private Sector Finance
The plan intends to increase private sector financing, which will assist in attracting more funding for the plan’s execution. According to BDP 2100 forecasts, Bangladesh should be able to raise at least 0.5% of GDP annually from the private sector to fund plan projects on average. The administration has also declared the creation of a “Directorate of Investment” to encourage greater foreign investment in the nation.
The government intends to raise an extra US$8 billion through private green finance under the program and public green bonds issued under BDP2100. The Multi-Phase Jamuna Integrated River Basin Management (a component of the BDP 2100) has been the subject of a feasibility assessment by the World Bank, which has indicated interest in funding the BDP 2100 IP.
Impact on Climate Climate
Climate risk reduction is one of the significant factors of BDP 2100. The strategy intends to lower Bangladesh’s exposure to climate hazards by constructing a long-term flood defense system, improved water management, and boosting climate resilience.In addition to providing plans for a total of nine theme areas, the BDP has given national strategies for managing flood risk and freshwater resources. The BDP 2100 is basically an adaptive techno-economic strategy that considers how climate change, ecosystem health, water consumption, and land use affect development results. The BDP 2100 is intended to be a long-term integrated and comprehensive plan that takes a long-term perspective on water resource management, climate change, and environmental concerns in order to promote Bangladesh’s long-term development.
The strategy intends to promote sustained economic growth and productivity, which would aid in reducing poverty and enhancing the standard of living for those residing in the delta region. The BDP 2100 aims to combine the longer-term problem of sustainable management of water resources with Bangladesh’s short- to medium-term objectives to reach upper-middle income status and eradicate severe poverty by FY2031 and developed nation status by 2041.
Cover Photo taken from European Space Agency.
About the Author
A R Tahseen Jahan is a Research Associate at The Confluence and a student of Development Studies at the University of Dhaka. She is also serving as an Editor at Dhaka University Law and Politics Review.