In 2009, Alterra Wageningen UR set up the Delta Alliance, an international knowledge-driven network for enhancing safety and sustainability in the delta regions of the world. Now that Kenya and Taiwan have joined the network, fourteen deltas over the whole world are members. Together they are acquiring the know-how needed to further develop their deltas and thus deal with the threats that are specific to delta regions. Egypt and the Netherlands formalised their collaboration with the Delta Alliance yesterday. Argentina and Bangladesh had already done that earlier.
The former Egyptian Minister for Water (Mohammed Abdel Motaleb), the Taiwanese ambassador to the Netherlands (James Lee), the four Dutch knowledge institutes (TU Delft, Deltares, Unesco-IHE and Alterra Wageningen UR) with involvement in deltas, and Ms Tineke Huizinga-Heringa (chairing the Delta Alliance board) all signed an agreement of membership during the conference 'Deltas in times of climate change II' being held in Rotterdam.
The aim of the Delta Alliance is to initiate and engage in dialogue on the development and future of deltas. The chairperson of the Alliance, Tineke Huizinga: “The Delta Alliance network aims at sharing experience, existing knowledge and deepening our understanding of worldwide deltas by new research”. The Delta Alliance is a network of knowledge institutes, non-profit organisations and governments that was set up in the Netherlands in 2010 and backed up by a research programme entitled 'Knowledge for Climate'. Since then, twelve more deltas have joined the Alliance, namely those in Argentina, Bangladesh, Brazil, China, Egypt, Indonesia, Mozambique, Myanmar, the Netherlands, USA (California, USA (Louisiana) and Vietnam.
Challenges for deltas
The Delta Alliance has compared the fourteen deltas in terms of their degree of resilience to major changes. The considerable pressure imposed by urbanisation, huge changes in agriculture, an increasing demand for good quality water and, on top of that, the effects of climate change: all these are big challenges. The Delta Alliance has developed a toolbox for Adaptive Delta Management (www.delta-alliance.org) to demonstrate examples of sustainable solutions.