How to embed scenarios in institutions in Bangladesh?

Published on
March 29, 2017

Currently Bangladesh experiences with scenarios in the Bangladesh Delta Plan, the National Water Management Plan, and the five year plans. Also it has been investigated how the involved institutions can implement their experiences with scenarios in their future delta planning work.

Scenarios have an important role in delta planning as they offer a way to deal with uncertainty. In scenario development, narratives about possible futures how a delta develops are formulated. These narratives can be used in planning to inform strategies and policies on the short term. Scenarios thus offer an approach to prepare for an unknown future. Bangladesh is gathering experience on the use of scenarios through the Bangladesh Delta Plan, the National Water Management Plan, and the five Year Plans. 

To create continuity in the use of scenarios and to avoid that valuable scenario knowledge for future practice is lost, a study was undertaken to explore how scenario delta planning could be embedded in the institutions of Bangladesh. To explore different perspectives, 28 experts were interviewed who are involved in scenario development and application.

The study reviews the use of scenarios in Bangladesh delta planning and concludes that various notions on scenario delta planning exist. In addition the study clarifies what precisely should be institutionally embedded by discussing 15 tasks of scenario delta planning. The tasks relate to uptake in planning system, develop and revise scenarios, link scenarios to strategies, and research and capacity building. Recommendations are provided on giving scenarios an explicit position in the Bangladesh Planning System (five Year Plans, other sectoral plans, Delta Commission). 

As the use of scenarios in planning is relatively new, institutional aspects  have only been discussed in a limited manner. The study offered an opportunity to discuss these aspects with nearly 30 experts. The value of the study is informative for those discussing the institutional anchoring of scenarios in Bangladesh.

As a follow-up on the report, on 1 March 2017 representatives of the General Economics Division (GED), and the Water Resources Planning Organization (WARPO), discussed the outcomes of the study and implications for follow-up. Prof. Shamsul Alam, Senior Secretary to the Government of Bangladesh and Member commented on increasing collaboration between GED and WARPO “Through formulation of Bangladesh Delta Plan, scenarios are introduced in a structured way, and we’ll like to continue it. WARPO is the best place to house it. GED will work together with WARPO for this purpose.”

The report was prepared by researchers from Wageningen Environmental Research, Deltares, WARPO (Water Resources Planning Organization) and BUET (Bangladesh University of Engineering Technology), under Nuffic-NICHE BGD 155 project ‘Scenario development in Integrated Water Resources Management: Coping with the Future Challenges in Bangladesh’.