Shamsul Alam | March 31, 2019
Bangladesh Government has approved Bangladesh Delta Plan 2100 (BDP 2100) on September 04, 2018 with the aspiration of achieving ‘safe, climate resilient and prosperous Delta’ by 2100. In other words, ‘BDP 2100 is the plan for moving Bangladesh forward towards the end of 21st Century. Efforts have been made to formulate BDP 2100 exactly in the same way we want to build Bangladesh in coming years of this century.
BDP 2100 is indeed the combination of long-term strategies and subsequent interventions for ensuring long term water and food security, economic growth and environmental sustainability while effectively reducing vulnerability to natural disasters and building resilience to climate change and other delta challenges through robust, adaptive and integrated strategies, and equitable water governance.
In fact, the complexity and dynamics of the Bangladesh delta necessitates a long term plan to address challenges and realise the opportunities of Bangladesh Delta. From that necessity with the directives from the Hon’ble Prime Minister, General Economics Division (GED) of Bangladesh Planning Commission has formulated BDP 2100 which is a holistic and integrated plan considering many themes and sectors for the whole country. The needs of natural resource management have also been articulated in this mega plan. Side by side, it is also a techno-economic plan, which covers both technical and economic issues (GDP growth, poverty reduction, employment, food security, investment etc) for the whole country. BDP 2100 is also an implementable plan having an investment programme up to year 2030 linked with mobilisation of financial resources. Another important thing regarding this plan is that it has strongly focused on climate change issues such as temperature rise, erratic rainfall pattern, sea level rise etc., and for that it followed an Adaptive Delta Management (ADM) approach. For the first time in any development planning, BDP 2100 has taken the climate change issue as an exogenous variable in developing the macroeconomic framework of the plan.
In order to illustrate the role of BDP 2100 and its contribution to the long term development of Bangladesh, two policy options are considered. One is called the Business As Usual (BAU) Policy Option where it is illustrated that when the adverse impact of climate change and natural hazards increases, the GDP growth rate starts falling over time, efficiency of capital falls resulting in lower agricultural production, unemployment, migration and pressure on urbanisation. The other option, Delta Plan (DP) Policy Option incorporates the adoption of strong climate change related adaptation measures to achieve higher and sustainable growth trajectories in the face of the various weather-related natural hazards and risks. This DP policy option will allow us to achieve national level goals of eradicating extreme poverty and achieving the status of UMIC by 2030 and also secure being a prosperous country by 2041. Moreover, macro-economic analysis done for BDP 2100 reveals that in Business As Usual (BAU) policy option, the extreme poverty will be eradicated around 2041. But, if the country adopts Delta Plan policy option extreme poverty could be eradicated around 2027.
Side by side, yearly economic loss of about 1.7 per cent or more of GDP due to climate change impacts and natural hazards has been predicted in future for Bangladesh Delta without BDP 2100.
BDP 2100 is a long-term holistic and integrated plan where management of water resources following Adaptive Delta Management (ADM) is the cornerstone. Efforts have been made to link the integrated water resources management (IWRM) with economic growth and development considering the impact of climate change and natural disaster as the exogenous factor. In BDP 2100, water has been considered the most important factor for the sustainability of this delta, not only for the human beings but also for sustainable environment. Important components of the IWRM include different areas covering water security, CC impact and environmental sustainability, food security and livelihood, economic growth, social development, knowledge development, biodiversity conservation, forestry, crop production etc. Consistent with this, Delta specific goals are fixed. The goals are to: ensure safety from floods and climate change related disasters; ensure water security and efficiency of water usages; ensure sustainable and integrated river systems and estuaries management; conserve and preserve wetlands and ecosystems and promote their proper use; develop effective institutions and equitable governance for in-country and trans-boundary WR management; and achieve optimal use of land and water resources. All these goals are directly or indirectly related to the SDGs also. It must be mentioned that, all six BDP 2100 goals are fully linked with SDG Goal 2, 6, 13 and 14 and partially linked with Goal 1, 5, 8, 9, 11 and 15. This linkage supported by appropriate interventions and policy will be continued in the upcoming 8th Five Year Plan (FYP) as well as the 2nd Perspective Plan (2021-41) in achieving the Bangladesh’s Vision for 2041.
In BDP 2100 strategies as well as interventions are devised at three levels, viz. National level (Flood Risk Management and Fresh Water), Hotspot wise and Strategies for cross-cutting issues. Cross cutting issues considered in BDP are: sustainable land use and spatial planning; agriculture, food security and livelihood, trans-boundary water resources management; activating inland water transport system; blue economy; renewable energy; and preparedness for earthquakes.
As such, some salient features of this mega plan are that it followed the principle of “Living with Nature” which has been complimented by following “no regret” measures. All the strategies and associated interventions are considered through the lens of “economic growth” and “environmental sustainability”. Formulation and implementation of BDP 2100 is inclusive of all the stakeholders. During the preparation of the plan, lessons have been drawn from all other relevant plans and policies. Most importantly, the plan itself is both ‘horizontally’ and ‘vertically’ integrated. Another very important task conducted before the formulation of the plan is conducting baseline studies in 26 major areas relevant to the. The studies conducted were related to climate change, natural resources, environment and ecology, reviewing past experiences and considered investment and finance, governance, knowledge and data management etc. All of these baseline studies were reviewed and finally approved by the Technical Advisory Committee comprising renowned researchers, academia, subject specialist and professionals.
Formulation and approval of BDP 2100 is only the first step towards achieving safe, climate resilient and prosperous delta. Challenges mainly lie with its successful implementation. There are few challenges which should be addressed in a systematic and articulated manner. The challenges are namely, financing of its investment plan; capacity building of the implementers who will take the plan in the field; coordination among/between/within agencies and ministry/divisions; aligning planning, implementation and financing activities of Delta ministries/divisions with BDP 2100; aligning delta implementation works with Annual Development Programme (ADP); designing the appropriate mode of financing for PPP related projects under investment plan; climate financing under BDP 2100; practising appropriate feasibility studies before taking up delta investment works (e.g. dredging, TRM, etc.); rationalization and effective functioning of water management infrastructures keeping climate change and ADM principle in view; funding and effective O&M suggested under BDP 2100; and designing new projects taking climate change impacts into consideration.
To address the above mentioned challenges apart from cooperation and coordination of all the stakeholders, we should take up some activities immediately. These are: establishment of ‘Delta Wing’ in GED for overall support, guidance and coordination for the implementation of the BDP 2100; establishment of ‘Delta Fund’ and relevant essential institutional arrangements; establishment of ‘Delta Knowledge Hub’ for hosting, updating and sharing of data/information collected for and relevant to BDP 2100; presenting BDP 2100 to the development partners and also negotiating with them in order to secure investments for the projects enlisted in the IP of BDP 2100; reviewing the concepts for the Water User Association (WUA) and its Terms of Reference (ToR); developing new pricing policies for Water and Sewerage services.
Coordination and cooperation among implementing agencies as well as cooperation with upper riparian countries are considered crucial for the successful implementation of BDP 2100. The cooperation is vital in the following areas namely– strong regional cooperation for Trans-boundary water management issues; basin wide water management and sharing approach for the Ganges, Brahmaputra and the Meghna basin; continuing efforts for signing treaty for sharing water of the Teesta and all other trans-boundary rivers; pursuing construction of the Padma Barrage in suitable location following basin wide Approach through mutual cooperation for retention of water in the dry season; international cooperation on water uses and development in the next 12 years; realising the potentials of blue economy; supporting the Delta Coalition formed by 13 countries for mutual benefits and exchanging/accessing water technologies for improved production and consumption for both home and industrial use; sensitising development partners for mobilising support to the implementation of BDP 2100 Investment Plan; capacity building of the relevant government organisations, acquiring knowledge of international best practices and technology transfer; and realisation of the yearly 100 billion US$ fund to the LDCs and developing countries for achieving SDGs, particularly for climate mitigation and adaptation actions.
Successful implementation of BDP 2100 is earmarked as the major concern in the coming days. Successful implementation mainly lies with the appropriate skills and technical capacity of the relevant organisations. To address this challenge, GED is currently working on a project to support the implementation of BDP 2100. The project aims to support capacity building, institutional strengthening, facilitating implementation, supporting investment planning and financing, validating investment plan, reviewing and updating of BDP 2100, if deem necessary with continuously evolving new knowledge and tools.
The plan took four years to formulate with the help of local, national and international experts and involved a huge number of stakeholders from all walks of life. In each and every stage of its formulation till its final approval, it went through the scrutiny of technical experts and also the policy makers in the government. We are looking forward to the active participation, contribution and support from the government, private and civil society, and media equally in this respect.
Dr. Shamsul Alam is Member (Senior Secretary), General Economics Division, Bangladesh Planning Commission and
coordinating lead Author of Bangladesh Delta Plan 2100
The article appeared in the Financial Express on 24 March 2019