In the Netherlands, the central government, water authorities, provinces and municipalities are working together on a new Delta Program on Flood Risk Management and Fresh Water Supply (DP). Its primary goal is to protect the Netherlands against floods and ensure the availability of fresh water, now and for future generations. The DP has developed a new, adaptive management concept: the Adaptive Delta Management (ADM) approach. ADM is defined as ‘a smart and intelligent way of taking account of uncertainties and dependencies in decision-making on Delta Management with a view to reducing the risk of overspending or underinvestment’. Important features of DP are: (i) involving multiple stakeholders in a joint decision-making process to enhance ownership, legitimacy and feasibility; (ii) taking a risk-based perspective; (iii) adopting a flexible approach in possible strategies by valuing flexibility with regard to the timing of implementation and (iv) interlinking various investment agendas and looking for opportunities for mainstreaming with planned investments. Along similar lines, a Bangladesh Delta Plan 2100 (BDP 2100) is being devised to achieve long-term sustainable socio-economic development and provide safety in the face of disasters through adaptive water governance in Bangladesh. It embodies a holistic, integrated vision, adaptive strategies and a long-term investment agenda for the Bangladesh Delta. The Plan is scheduled to be finalized in 2017. ADM is not an approach that can be transferred easily from one country to another as it demands a fundamental change in institutional capacity at multiple levels including new knowledge and skills, relationships and policy frameworks, and, hence, depends on the local socio-economic characteristics, culture and governance. This paper explores the challenges and opportunities for successful formulation and implementation of BDP 2100.
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