Wageningen University, part of Wageningen UR, has been awarded a NWO WOTRO Integrated Programme Grant to conduct research on flood resilience and flood risk management in Bangladesh and the Netherlands
A research consortium led by Flip Wester of the Irrigation and Water Engineering group of Wageningen University and Shah Alam Khan of the Institute of Water and Flood Management of the Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology will receive €700,000 from WOTRO as funding for the five year research programme "Communities and institutions for flood resilience: enhancing knowledge and capacity to manage flood risk in the Bangladeshi and Dutch Deltas''. Consortium partners include the Chair Disaster Studies of Wageningen University, the Flood Resilience Group of UNESCO-IHE, PBL Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency, Dura Vermeer, the Energy and Resources Group, University of California, Berkeley and from Bangladesh the Water Resources Planning Organization (WARPO), the Institute of Water Modelling (IWM), the Center for Environmental and Geographic Information Services (CEGIS), ASA University Bangladesh (ASAUB) and Unnayan Shahojogy Team (UST).
The research will assess and compare the strategies and policies of governments, professionals and communities to reduce flood risk and vulnerability in the Bangladeshi and Dutch Deltas. It aims to contribute to poverty reduction through the strengthening of institutional and community capacities to manage moderate floods and increase resilience to extreme floods. Together with the Delta Alliance the programme will establish partnerships and enhance mutual learning between Bangladeshi and Dutch flood risk management researchers and organize an annual Delta Lessons Research Seminar and Stakeholder Forum. Underlying the research is a practical interest to explore a range of “no-regret” responses to managing flood risk in urban and rural contexts that increase flexibility, adaptability and sustainability and contribute to poverty reduction.
The programme will consist of 4 PhD projects that will analyze the strategies and policies of rural, urban, epistemic and policy communities to reduce flood risks and vulnerabilities. PhD1 will focus on delta knowledge agendas in the Netherlands and Bangladesh, PhD2 on urban flooding in Bangladesh with a focus on Dhaka, PhD3 on rural flooding in the Southwest Delta of Bangladesh and PhD4 on the integration of climate change adaptation strategies and disaster risk reduction initiatives with a focus on floods in the two deltas. A fifth research project carried out by the senior researchers will analyze the existing science-policy-stakeholder interfaces in flood risk management in the two deltas and through stakeholder workshops and networking will encourage the uptake of the research findings in practice.
The research programme will address the following scientific research questions:
- What are the existing and proposed strategies and policies of urban, rural, policy and epistemic communities in Bangladesh and the Netherlands to reduce deltaic flood risk and vulnerability, especially of the poor and marginalized?
- What can be learnt from the similarities and differences between the approaches of the two countries and what opportunities does this present for the strengthening of institutional and community capacities to manage moderate floods and increase resilience to extreme floods?
- Which (new) tools, methods and approaches will shed light on vulnerability, increase resilience to floods, improve the effectiveness of flood management and disaster preparedness and lead to a better embedding of new knowledge and action with local stakeholders?
From a developmental perspective, the research programme will contribute to:
- An improved uptake of research findings through the development of science-policy-stakeholder interfaces in relation to flood risk management in Bangladesh and the Netherlands at both the local and national level.
- Capacity building of rural and urban flood prone communities, with an emphasis on improving Tidal River Management in the Southwest Delta and contributing to the City of Dhaka urban flood management plan.