Communities and institutions for flood resilience: enhancing knowledge and capacity to manage flood risk in the Bangladeshi and Dutch Deltas.
As full flood protection is neither sustainable nor possible it is crucial to reduce the impact of floods on people and economies in both poor and rich countries through the development of appropriate strategies to reduce flood exposure and vulnerability. This WOTRO IP funded (http://www.nwo.nl/nwohome.nsf/pages/NWOP_8HZCBV_Eng) research programme 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, to contribute to poverty reduction through the strengthening of institutional and community capacities to manage moderate floods and increase resilience to extreme floods. The research will examine how different communities develop, adopt, implement and modify flood risk management policies in the two deltas, and will enhance mutual learning between Bangladesh and the Netherlands. This will yield new frameworks and tools that will give insights into levels of vulnerability and resilience to flooding and how to reduce flood risk-exposure.
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 research will focus on different types of floods, namely river floods, rainfall floods, floods caused by cyclonic storm surges and flooding of agricultural land due to drainage congestion (slow flooding). In Bangladesh two areas have been chosen for research after stakeholder consultations: Dhaka City for research on urban flooding resilience and the Southwest Delta for research on rural flooding resilience.
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. Arjen Zegwaard will focus on delta knowledge agendas in the Netherlands and Bangladesh, Farhana Ahmed on urban flooding in Bangladesh, Mahmuda Mutahara on rural flooding in Bangladesh and Martijn van Staveren 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, thus contributing to achieving the developmental goals of the programme.