Since 1975 the Netherlands and Bangladesh have an intensive
bilateral co-operation program in the Integrated Water Resources
Management (IWRM) sector. Since 1997 the IWRM sector is one of the
three sectors of the bilateral development co-operation program. The
Embassy is actively working with Governmental and non-governmental
organisations towards the objectives of sound water management, as
formulated most recently in the
Water Management Plan of 2004.
The following is made up of two sections:
The Netherlands contribution to implementation of the National Water
The bilateral co-operation program in the water sector consists of
sectoral and sub-sectoral activities.
Sectoral activities, that aim at the sector as a whole, focus on
institutional reform and capacity building.
In addition to a number of concrete projects (listed below), the
Netherlands Embassy chairs the
group on water management of the Local Consultative Group (LCG),
which seeks to coordinate the activities of all development
Another activity that is relevant to the entire sector is the
regional dialogue. In view of the fact that water management in
Bangladesh is highly dependent on co-riparian states, a sound
dialogue and cooperation is essential. The Embassy seeks to promote
the dialogue between Bangladesh and its neighbors. Civil society
leaders can play an important role in this dialogue.
At sub-sectoral level the Embassy supports two groups of activities,
in the respective areas of Integrated Coastal Zone Management, and
Water Supply and Sanitation.
Partnerships exist with the key institutions in this sector, in
order to further strengthen their capacity in terms of policy
development, institutional set-up, planning of activities and
budgetary planning. The activities under the current sub-sectoral
programmes will gradually be embedded in the partnerships with the
institutions concerned. Proposed new activities will be selected,
among other things, on the basis of their potential to enhance the
capacity of the institution concerned or for their specific added
value for strengthening the partnership relation.
Selected institutions could ultimately become eligible for
organisational budget support, as an interim phase between project
support and sector support. Towards that end, approved long-term
strategic plans and annual plans need to be developed, reflecting
the Government of Bangladesh' development priorities and budgets. In
recent years the key institutions in the sector supported by the
the Bangladesh Water Development Board (BWDB),
Resources Planning Organisation (WARPO), and the
Local Government Engineering Department (LGED).
Sector Level Programs
Integrated Planning for Sustainable Water
This project is implemented by the BWDB and runs from 2003 to 2008.
It aims to strengthen planning capacity both of local water
management organizations and local government bodies as well as
national bodies, notably the BWDB. The program is encouraging a
decentralized approach that is fully integrated in the BWDB, making
full use of zonal offices for multi-disciplinary, participatory
planning for sustainable operation and maintenance of water
Small Scale Water Resources Development Sector
Small-scale water resources development is about transferring flood
control, drainage and irrigation schemes of less than 1000 ha to
local water management organisations and local government bodies.
The project is implemented by LGED and funded by ADB and the
Netherlands. As from 2002 this program is nationwide (with the
exception of the Chittagong Hill tracts), and will continue till
Since 2001, the Ministry of Water Resources and its Netherlands
counterpart, the Ministry of Transport and Water Management, have
been cooperating in the area of institutional strengthening.
Professionals from both countries are looking at ways and means to
rationalise the water management institutions, notably WARPO and
BWDB. The arrangement has been extended upto 2007.
Integrated Coastal Zone Management (ICZM)
Since Independence the Netherlands Bangladesh development
cooperation program in the water sector has concentrated on the
coastal areas and in particular the Meghna delta. The Netherlands
contribution to Integrated Coastal Zone Management (ICZM) focuses on
integrated water management and environmental aspects.
From 2002-2005, the Embassy funded a Program Development Office (PDO)
at the Water Resources Planning Organisation, an agency of the
Minister of Water Resources, which co-ordinated policy development
on ICZM. As a result, the Cabinet adopted the Coastal Zone Policy
and the Coastal Development Strategy. A huge body of knowledge on
problems and opportunities in the coastal zone was produced under
this project (www.iczmpbangladesh.org). A new phase of ICZM is in
preparation, the objective of which is to team up donor and GoB
agencies in a subsectorwide approach, that would transcend and
replace (current) project modalities.
In the meantime, a number of currently ongoing Dutch funded projects
in the coastal zone contribute to integrated coastal zone
The Char Development and
Settlement Project III (2005-09), which combines efforts at
institutionalising the integrated approach with direct poverty
reduction in coastal chars. As in the previous phases, the
project brings together a number of line departments, headed by
the Bangladesh Water Development Board, as well as the NGO BRAC,
in a joint effort aiming at the poorest sections of society.
The Estuary Development Project
(2006-10) is implemented by the Banladesh Water Development
Board. It will carry out an extensive marine survey in the
entire coastal zone and a number of pilot engineering
interventions (anti-erosion works, cross dams).
The Market Infrastructure
Development Project in Charland Regions (2006-13), with the
Local Government Engineering Department as implementing agency,
is funded by a loan from
(the UNs agricultural bank) and a grant from the Netherlands.
It aims to improve market access of poor farmers in the coastal
chars, not only by improving the physical infrastructure (roads
and markets) but also by providing business development
services. This programme ties in with the conviction, shared by
the Netherlands and Bangladesh, that the private sector has an
important role to play in the development process. This project
was designed to complement CDSP, mentioned above.
BRAC/Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) programme
While most Netherlands funded activities in the water sector are in
water management, the single largest contribution is to a project in
water supply and sanitation. BRAC has developed, in partnership with
the Netherlands, a nationwide programme in which the MDGs related to
water, sanitation, and hygiene for all are addressed. The programme,
which runs from 2006 to 2011, will greatly improve the health
situation of the poor.
will provide 17.6 million people in 150 upazillas all over the
country with access to sanitation services. Also, more than 8.5
million people will be provided with safe drinking water. The
program seeks to work together with the private sector, for instance
through village sanitation centres. Awareness raising plays an
important role in this program.
South-west Area Integrated Water Resources
Management Project (SW-project)
This project, co-funded with the Asian Development Bank, aims to
improve the productivity and sustainability of the existing flood
control and drainage and irrigation (FCD/I) schemes while
strengthening the institutions that are responsible for service
delivery. It runs from 2006-20013 and involves the Ministry of Water
Resources, the Ministry of Land, Finance Division, Planning
Commission, Bangladesh Water Development Board, Water Resources
Planning Organization, Local Government Engineering Department,
Department of Public Health Engineering, and departments concerned
with agricultural extension, cooperatives, and fishery,
representatives of local government institutions. The South-West
region has the most acute water management problems in Bangladesh.
Of particular concern is the water shortage and the associated
social and environmental hardships, including salinity intrusion,
livelihood loss, and environmental degradation. Also the flood
inflow from the Ganges in the monsoon, deterioration of existing FCD/I
systems, the drainage congestion and sedimentation of tidal
channels, arsenic contamination and vulnerability to cyclones and
tidal surges are huge challenges, that this project seeks to