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Published: 06.17.2015

UNB Bangladesh: MoU signed for Dutch help in delta management; IFC too involved.

News Source: United News of Bangladesh

Dhaka, June 16 (UNB) – The government signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on Tuesday with the Netherlands and the World Bank Group, specifically its private sector arm, the International Finance Corporation (IFC) that partners the 2030 Water Resources Group, to strengthen management of the Bangladesh Delta, Asia’s largest and the world’s most populated delta.

The MoU titled ‘Towards Resilient and Sustainable Delta Management for a prosperous Bangladesh’ was signed by Finance Minister AMA Muhith, Netherlands Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Lilianne Ploumen, World Bank Program Leader Lia Carol Sieghart, and Executive Director of IFC/2030 Water Resources Group Dr Anders Berntell, on behalf of their respective sides at the NEC conference room in the city’s Sher-e-Banglanagar area.

The partnership will help to develop and implement the Bangladesh Delta Plan 2100, a long term and holistic vision for the Bangladesh Delta, and help to realize Bangladesh’s goal of becoming a middle-income country by 2021 while maintaining the unique biodiversity and physical characteristics of the delta.

Lauding the success of the Netherlands in reclaiming land from the sea, the Finance Minister said that Bangladesh has not really acquired land from the sea the way the Netherlands did because Bangladesh has relied on natural forces to get these land. Muhith also noted that every year Bangladesh gets around 1000 square miles of land automatically as it comes from the sediments that it gets from the Himalayas through various river systems as they make their way to the sea. He also welcomed such initiative and partnership with the Netherlands for formulating the Delta Plan 2100.

Two-thirds of Bangladesh lies in the Ganges-Brahmaputra-Meghna Delta and calls for special focus on sustainable delta management. Beset by an already high and growing population along with growing urbanization, only proper planning and management of the delta will secure Bangladesh’s future development over the next decades through improving water safety, food security, and disaster resilience. Speaking on the occasion, Lilianne Ploumen, Netherlands Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation, said, “We believe that the Bangladesh Delta Plan can only be a success if it benefits all people in Bangladeshi society”.

The Delta Plan aims to create a long-term vision for delta management, prepare for different scenarios and responses, identify and organize government institutions to address challenges and create and facilitate a long-term investment program bolstered by private sector participation and development partners.

The agreement signed on Tuesday builds upon another agreement signed between Bangladesh and the Netherlands in 2012, in the field of sustainable delta management, integrated water resources management, disaster management and adaptation to climate change, with special reference to the development and implementation of the Bangladesh Delta Plan 2100.

The two countries share similarities in their low-lying coastal landscape (the Netherlands’ name literally means “low country”), that is naturally prone to flooding. As such, they enjoy a history of cooperation in tackling the vagaries of nature.