Article

An analytical framework for strategic delta planning: negotiating consent for long-term sustainable delta development

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  • IHE Delft Institute for Water Education / Delft University of Technology
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Abstract

Sectoral planning on water, agriculture and urban development has not been able to prevent increased flood risks and environmental degradation in many deltas. Governments conceive strategic delta planning as a promising planning approach and develop strategic delta plans. Such plans are linked to actions and means for implementation in the short-term, in line with long-term strategic choices. This paper introduces an analytical framework that focuses on the role of actors, innovative solutions and participatory planning tools in negotiating consent for the strategic choices in a delta plan and its implementation. Cases of Bangladesh, the Netherlands and Vietnam are discussed as a plausibility probe to explore the framework's potential. The probe reveals that the framework is promising to explain the process and outcomes of strategic delta planning in urbanizing deltas. The paper ends with an initial research agenda to stimulate research and discussion on this new delta planning approach.

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... Another 20 years later, the MDP 4 was composed within the context of a by now active bilateral cooperation between Vietnam and the Netherlands on water and delta management (Government of the Netherlands, 2009; Socialist Republic of Vietnam and the Kingdom of the Netherlands, 2013). The initiative to start formulating yet another delta plan has to a large extent been driven by the establishment of the Dutch Delta Committee in the Netherlands in 2008 (Seijger et al., 2016). This state advisory committee developed the latest interpretation of long-term delta planning, which also characterized the MDP process: it consisted of a scenario-based approach; foregrounded adaptive policy as a way to deal with uncertainties; used extended time horizons up to 2100 and specifically aimed to address climate change impacts. ...
... Some pilot projects using new agricultural farming systems based on seasonal flooding, for example floating rice, have been positively evaluated by farmers (Interview III 8 ). A stakeholder participation and feedback process has been undertaken (Seijger et al., 2016), but will need to be updated when concrete measures are proposed. While it has been noted that Vietnamese farmer households may adapt to changes in flood dynamics and farming systems, it will need a transformative process in order not to create social disparities among farmer communities (Tran & James, 2017). ...
... Three other development scenarios were developed as well. The agribusiness scenario surfaced as the preferred development scenario by most of the stakeholders (Seijger et al., 2016 13. The influence of Dutch water (and later, also other sectoral professional domains) experts in developing long-term delta plans for the Mekong stands out. ...
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Recently the Vietnamese government has endorsed a long-term policy plan in which it is proposed to restore controlled seasonal flooding in the upper regions of the Vietnamese part of the Mekong delta. Restoring controlled flooding would contrast a period of several decades characterized by a dominant flood prevention approach to enable intensive rice production in the delta. This article investigates a series of long-term policy plans, which have been developed for the Mekong delta since the 1960s, on their take on flood control sensu flood prevention, or the opposite, controlled seasonal flooding. By doing so it is demonstrated how perspectives on flood management have gradually evolved and, in the specific case of suggesting controlled flooding, have been framed in various ways by various actors. Contemporary proposals for controlled seasonal flooding are supported by actors ranging from governmental institutes to environmental NGOs, and connect to on-going debates about environmental challenges and sustainable development of the Mekong delta. We adopt a systems approach to analyze social, environmental and technological dynamics in the Mekong delta, and discuss whether the different interpretations of controlled flooding may contribute to the long-term sustainability of the delta.
... Strategic delta planning is a relatively new planning phenomenon (Seijger et al. 2017). It is undertaken to regain a more sustainable development of delta areas. ...
... This requires attention on strategic delta planning as a process that involves multiple stakeholders with different roles and interests. Hence, the aim of a strategic delta plan is to influence delta developments through political support and investment in a specific direction of strategic development choices, without controlling or predetermining the outcomes (Seijger et al. 2017). Outcomes cannot be controlled, as actor coalitions, new technologies, and knowledge may push developments in a different direction. ...
... The contributions are clustered into three interrelated topics of (1) innovative ideas, (2) actor coalitions, and (3) participatory planning tools. These topics are anchored in the framing and understanding of strategic delta planning outlined above and published previously (Seijger et al. 2017). Each cluster provides an alternative lens to explore the impact of a strategic delta plan on people's agendas and decisions, from national/ delta level to local level. ...
... Via international development cooperation relations the Dutch government assists the governments of Bangladesh and Vietnam in formulating long-term delta plans (Government of the Netherlands, 2009;Seijger et al., 2016;Zegwaard, 2016). Long-term delta planning evolved as a policy approach to dealing with complex delta challenges (see footnote 55 and Seijger et al. [2016] for motivations and methodology). ...
... Via international development cooperation relations the Dutch government assists the governments of Bangladesh and Vietnam in formulating long-term delta plans (Government of the Netherlands, 2009;Seijger et al., 2016;Zegwaard, 2016). Long-term delta planning evolved as a policy approach to dealing with complex delta challenges (see footnote 55 and Seijger et al. [2016] for motivations and methodology). Especially its most recent interpretation was developed into an "exportable" policy tool. ...
... In Table 2 (Biggs, 2010;Ghosh, 2004;Iqbal, 2010;Nienhuis, 2008) Solid historical background, focus on water and flood management, of the deltas where case studies were conducted International examples of controlled flooding projects (Bates & Lund, 2013;Becker et al., 2015;Cox et al., 2006;Eden & Tunstall, 2006;Hartmann, 2010;Maris et al., 2007;Nowreen et al., 2013;Suddeth, 2011;Warner, 2008a) Relevance of the topic, insights in different case findings, information to base delta case selection Case-based project documentation Noordwaard de-poldering project (Projectbureau Noordwaard, 2009), Tidal River Management studies (Nowreen et al., 2013;A. Rahman, 1995;Rashid & Detailed understanding of (past) water and flood management projects or initiatives Rahman, 2010), Mekong controlled floods (Benedikter, 2013;Huu, 2011;Miller, 2003) Long-term policy plans Dutch Delta Plans (Delta Committee, 2008;Van Veen, 1962), Bangladesh Delta Plan (Consultant Team BanDuDeltAS, 2014), Mekong delta plans (NEDECO, 1993;Netherlands Delta Development Team, 1974; Socialist Republic of Vietnam and the Kingdom of the Netherlands, 2013), see also (Miller, 2003;Seijger et al., 2016) Background of long-term policy plan formulation Policy studies (Benedikter, 2013;Dewan, 2012;Käkönen, 2008;Rashid & Rahman, 2010;Van der Brugge, 2007) Analysis of policy change in water and flood management in the respective deltas Systemstheoretical literature (Berkes et al., 2008(Berkes et al., , 2000Gerrits, 2008;Haasnoot, 2013;Molle, 2003;Molle & Wester, 2009;Norgaard et al., 2009;A. Smith & Stirling, 2010;Van der Vleuten, 2013) Background on systemic delta interaction After preliminary delta selection and case study identification (see 1.5.2), ...
... Solutions to improve our ability to protect ecosystem functions in SESs include knowledge co-creation and collaborative governance that facilitate the sharing and integration of diverse sources and types of knowledge [22]. The management-as-learning approaches include the dynamics in a transition due to both internal and contextual factors [23][24][25][26][27] while fit-for-purpose governance strategies focus on dynamic perspectives and strategies [28][29][30]). Stakeholders that operate at multiple spatial scales are able to link ecological and social conditions with the institutional framework. ...
... As the dynamics of cross-scale and cross-level interactions are affected by the interplay between institutions at multiple levels and scales, we used a method that included knowledge co-production, collaboration, and negotiation across scale-related jurisdictions and institutions to facilitate the complex decision-making process in the management of the ecosystem. We adapted a framework created for strategic delta planning [30] that was applied for the implementation of adaptation pathways in the Netherlands and the United Kingdom [50]. The framework is characterised by a ...
... As the dynamics of cross-scale and cross-level interactions are affected by the interplay between institutions at multiple levels and scales, we used a method that included knowledge co-production, collaboration, and negotiation across scale-related jurisdictions and institutions to facilitate the complex decision-making process in the management of the ecosystem. We adapted a framework created for strategic delta planning [30] that was applied for the implementation of adaptation pathways in the Netherlands and the United Kingdom [50]. The framework is characterised by a funnel-shaped decision process in which stakeholders and the decision space is gradually reduced with a widening scope through three steps: agenda setting, plan formulation, and implementation ( Figure 2). ...
Article
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Environmental management strategies aim to protect or repair ecological assets (ecosystems, species) so that their ecological and social values can be preserved. However, creating an effective strategy is difficult because multiple government departments are involved and because water and land use legislation and policy instruments are often fragmented. A key obstacle that is often overlooked is the spatial mismatch between ecological processes and institutional organisation (i.e., legislative framework and government departments). Successful management depends on the ability to cultivate resilient ecosystems through institutional reforms that take into account the complexity of ecosystems while supporting cross-sectoral and scale-dependent decision-making within the science-policy interface. Here, we use a case study approach to illustrate howcollective strategic decisions can bemade tomanage a valued ecosystemsituatedwithin an urbanmatrix. We used a three-step framework to guide our approach and commenced by identifying a range of adaptation measures (i.e., management interventions) and the actors responsible. For each adaptation measure, we then investigated (i) mismatches among ecosystem and institution scales and levels; (ii) institutional barriers; and (iii) the role of actors in decision making. We use this information to identify 'decision pathways': i.e., a flexible decision-making platform that assists stakeholders tomake strategic short- and long-termdecisions. Key insights included the discussion of policy and practical experiences for ecosystem management at different levels and the necessary conditions to provide better alignment between jurisdictional an ecosystemscale to guide decisionmakers accordingly. We detail the institutional and jurisdictional changes that must be implemented across all levels of governance to protect and support the resilience of environmental assets. 'Short-term' decision pathways were preferred among actors and cross-level cooperation at jurisdictional level provided an adequate fitwith the ecosystemscale. 'Long-term' decisions require substantial change of the institutional framework to enable the implementation of adaptive management. Although challenges at institutional and jurisdictional scales remain, decision pathways promote adaptive ecosystem management through a better fit of jurisdictional and institutional roles/policy and ecosystem-scale processes.
... Scientists and practitioners around the world are searching for more sustainable development trajectories for delta regions (the relative flat, fertile plains located between rivers and the coast) as many urbanised deltas face development challenges that are driven by rapidly growing economies and populations, and by the prospects of a changing climate and rising sea levels (Nicholls et al., 1999;Syvitski et al., 2009;Renaud et al., 2013;Giosan et al., 2014;van Staveren et al., 2017a). Strategic delta planning has been introduced as a relatively novel approach to more sustainable development (Norgaard et al., 2009;Seijger et al., 2017;Zegwaard et al., under review). It represents a particular form of strategic planning (Albrechts, 2004) and is defined as a public-sector led process through which a long-term vision (the strategic delta plan) and actions and means for implementation are produced that shape and frame what a sustainable delta is and may become (Seijger et al., 2017). ...
... Strategic delta planning has been introduced as a relatively novel approach to more sustainable development (Norgaard et al., 2009;Seijger et al., 2017;Zegwaard et al., under review). It represents a particular form of strategic planning (Albrechts, 2004) and is defined as a public-sector led process through which a long-term vision (the strategic delta plan) and actions and means for implementation are produced that shape and frame what a sustainable delta is and may become (Seijger et al., 2017). A strategic delta plan sets strategic priorities for development and sketches alternative development options on how a delta could cope with growing economies, populations and the impacts of climate change. ...
... transport, water, food, agriculture) as they give shape to adaptations for a changing environment (Nicholls et al., 2016;Tran et al., 2018a) as opposed to retaining business as usual in a changing environment. Innovations in a delta planning perspective can cover technical and institutional changes, be diffused bottom-up or top-down and transferred from one region to another (Norgaard et al., 2009;Vinke-De Kruijf et al., 2012;Seijger et al., 2017). ...
Article
Many urbanised deltas face development challenges due to growing economies, populations and climate change. Changes in land–water strategies are often required, as ‘business-as-usual’ solutions are no longer sufficient. The aim of this paper was to study tidal river management (TRM) as a strategic innovation, and trace how it is appreciated by people and used in master plans to address congested rivers and waterlogging in Bangladesh. In this context, a strategic innovation can be categorised as having four features: (i) it is a fundamental reconceptualisation of business as usual strategies; (ii) it is rule breaking and reshapes markets; (iii) it offers value improvement for livelihoods; (iv) it is sustainable. The case study analysis was built from 17 interviews, a focus group discussion and numerous documents. The case analysis revealed that tidal river management is very different (local, natural, complex) from mainstream engineering strategies for tidal rivers and polder systems, and is strongly supported by local people for its potential livelihood improvement. The paper concludes that tidal river management has strategic potential, though is hardly recognised in master plans. To advance practice, reconceptualisations are needed that focus on the diverse benefits of TRM, such as restored tidal rivers, flora and fauna. Further research could elaborate livelihood models that thrive on these benefits, and evaluate their costs and benefits accordingly.
... and the 100 Resilient Cities platform). Various research projects have also commenced, to compare and select adaptation strategies (e.g., Bellinson and Chu 2018;Seijger et al. 2017;Suckall et al. 2018;Zevenbergen et al. 2018). Several countries have made expertise on adaptation and flood risk management available to developing countries. ...
... Several countries have made expertise on adaptation and flood risk management available to developing countries. An approach increasingly recognized as promising is the formulation of a long-term vision guiding developments toward a sustainable delta and covering multiple policy domains (Seijger et al. 2017). Such a long-term strategic delta plan offers a framework that accommodates and connects diverse policies, programs and projects, and offers space for innovative solutions and, perhaps, the introduction or reintroduction of historic methods (Seijger et al. 2017). ...
... An approach increasingly recognized as promising is the formulation of a long-term vision guiding developments toward a sustainable delta and covering multiple policy domains (Seijger et al. 2017). Such a long-term strategic delta plan offers a framework that accommodates and connects diverse policies, programs and projects, and offers space for innovative solutions and, perhaps, the introduction or reintroduction of historic methods (Seijger et al. 2017). ...
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This article describes and analyzes the reintroduction of the “wide green dike” in the Netherlands. It is a noteworthy example of implementation of an innovation in long-term strategic delta planning. The Dutch Delta Program was central herein. Pursuing its ambition to make the Netherlands climate-proof, the Delta Program invited a diverse set of actors to participate in developing a long-term adaptation plan, and also to propose innovative short-term measures to help realize that plan. The wide green dike was actively promoted by a local water board, with involvement of scientists and nature conservation organizations. A stepwise participatory process resulted in national-level recognition of the potential of the wide green dike, particularly due to its “green” and “adaptability” characteristics. Alignment of flood protection and climate adaptation goals with nature conservation objectives, as well as collaboration with new actors, were all crucial in the reintroduction of this innovation.
... contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users. through which a long-term vision (the strategic delta plan) and actions and means for implementation are produced that shape and frame what a sustainable delta is and may become (Seijger et al. 2017). Strategic delta plans can produce strategic priorities which go beyond mainstream planning processes. ...
... The first gap is theoretical, as few studies offer methodologies for investigating strategic delta plan implementation. Seijger et al. (2017) presented a strategic delta planning framework that includes implementation, but their account was highly conceptual due to the probing nature of the underlying case studies. Kwakkel et al. (2016) proposed methods for decision-making under conditions of deep uncertainty in deltas (i.e. ...
... This produces a creative and innovative process that can make the strategic delta plan an innovative force introducing new possibilities and potentials (Healey 2009). Strategic delta plans thus have the potential to open a range of new possibilities in delta management and livelihoods and to change the course of delta management (Seijger et al. 2017). 2. New mental models. ...
Article
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A strategic delta plan can alter the course of delta management. Implementation of such a plan essentially involves a change of minds about delta management priorities and strategies for sustainable livelihoods. Such a change of minds, or “soft implementation”, must come before material, or “hard”, implementation can take off. To explore the influence of strategic delta plans in bringing about a change of minds among the actors involved, we examined four features of soft implementation: prospects for change, new mental models, consent and decision-making. We then applied these features to analyse implementation of the Mekong Delta Plan (MDP). The MDP envisions agro-industrialisation in the Mekong Delta, with dynamic land use, high-value commodities and enhanced interprovincial collaboration. We found that 3 years after its completion, the MDP has indeed been influential in introducing new ways of thinking about both delta problems and transformative strategies for agribusiness development. Minds have changed at all levels of the planning system, though change at the local level remains most limited. Implementation is fragile, however, as a small though influential group actively promotes and subscribes to the MDP’s precepts. The plan has influenced national policies, provincial project proposals and donor loans. We found the four features to provide a valuable entry point for assessing the influence and effectiveness of the strategic delta plan. They might prove useful to planners, investors and researchers too in designing and evaluating strategic planning processes for more sustainable land and water resources management.
... Strategic delta planning is conceived as a new way to formulate a development agenda for the delta in order to address both socio-economic and physical-ecological aspects over a longer timeframe (Healey 2004). Previous delta planning research (Seijger et al. 2017a) examined the agenda-setting process that starts the formulation of a strategic delta plan. This entails bringing the topic of strategic planning to the fore in policy and academic circles and determining what are the key issues and problems to be covered by the strategic delta plan. ...
... Considering agendas analogously as inputs sheds light on how ideas are brought into the policymaking process. This view helps us to understand how political actors and institutions may perceive problems, construct their own agendas and view a strategic delta plan in relation to their traditional ideas or policies (Seijger et al. 2017a). ...
... Various international scholars have since adopted it for studies exploring a range of policy contexts, from the EU and Germany to China and Hongkong (Teodorovi c 2008;Baumgartner, Jones, and Mortensen 2014;B eland and Howlett 2016;Chow 2014;John 2003;Mu 2018;Jones et al. 2016;Zahariadis 1999Zahariadis , 2003Zahariadis , 2008Zahariadis and Herweg 2017;Zahariadis 2016;Zohlnh€ ofer, Herweg, and Huß 2016;Baumgartner and Jones 2010;Huitema et al. 2009;Cairney and Jones 2016;Rawat and Morris 2016). Recent work on spatial planning and delta development suggests that strategic planning is becoming the preferred means of setting policy agendas for long-term delta development (Seijger et al. 2017a;Healey 2004;Friedmann 2004;Olesen 2017). Our study was interested in the influence of strategic planning in delta development. ...
Article
Full-text available
This article uses the lens of the Multiple Streams Approach to explore whether the agendas set by political actors in Vietnam converged with the agenda set in the Mekong Delta Plan (MDP). The MDP presents policy choices for the development of the Vietnamese Mekong Delta. The plan offers economically attractive, climate adaptive and environmentally sustainable paths forward in the face of climate change and economic uncertainties. We collected our data using qualitative techniques, including a literature review and interviews. We found convergence between the MDP's agenda and political actors' agendas, though divergences were also detected. Between the delivery of the MDP in 2013 and formal endorsement of its ideas in 2017, the problem stream, policy stream and politics stream were brought together by the actions of "policy entrepreneurs" (scientists and experts). Our findings suggest that agenda-setting and convergence were a crucial step towards endorsement of the strategic delta planning process for the Mekong Delta. Further research could explore issues of power mobilization in enabling or constraining decision-making.
... Drying of the lake prior to 1995 is added as a reference, as the lake dried in the period, but, according to the policy definition, was not considered as drought. Figure 4-2 A stylised framework for strategic decision-making and ecosystem management across scales and levels (adapted from (Seijger et al. 2016)). ...
... Solutions to improve our ability to protect ecosystem functions in SES's include knowledge co-creation and collaborative governance that facilitate the sharing and integration of diverse sources and types of knowledge (Medema et al. 2017). The management-aslearning approaches include the dynamics in a transition due to both internal and contextual factors (Pahl-Wostl 2009, Huntjens et al. 2011, Ferguson et al. 2013, van Buuren et al. 2013) while fit-for-purpose governance strategies focus on dynamic perspectives and strategies (Rijke et al. 2012, Seijger et al. 2016). ...
... As the dynamics of cross-scale and cross-level interactions are affected by the interplay between institutions at multiple levels and scales, I used a method that included knowledge co-production, collaboration, and negotiation across scale-related jurisdictions and institutions to facilitate the complex decision-making process in the management of the ecosystem. I adapted a framework created for strategic delta planning (Seijger et al. 2016) that was applied for the implementation of adaptation pathways in the Netherlands and the United Kingdom (Bloemen et al. 2017). The framework is characterised by a funnel-shaped decision process in which stakeholders and the decision space is gradually reduced with a widening scope through three steps: agenda setting, plan formulation, and implementation ( Figure 4-2). ...
Thesis
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Wetlands are considered as important ecosystems and provide multiple benefits to humans, such as recreation and enjoyment of biodiversity. Wetlands are mainly threatened due to human caused effects, such as climate change. The drying climate in Perth has resulted in too low water levels to support the ecology of wetlands. Ideally, wetland management need to respond to this change and should aim to protect the ecological integrity. We present an approach that answers why, when, and how management could respond to protect these important ecosystems.
... At the start of our research project, 3 we developed an analytical framework "the Hourglass" (see Figure 1). This framework assigns a central role to negotiated consent among actors during agenda setting, plan formulation and implementation (Seijger et al. 2017b). Important elements for consent were innovations, actor coalitions, and planning tools. ...
... The dotted lines reflect the porous boundary between a strategic delta planning process and a wider context of politics, institutions and prevailing cultures. Source: originally published in Seijger et al. (2017b). (1) The "(-)" studies had either not-tailored tools, or tools that uncovered actor constraints to consent. ...
... successful strategic planning, as they will bind large and strong actor-networks and, hence, with continued and mobilized support, will find the light of day in the implementation phase (Seijger et al. 2017b). As such, we placed them as continuums in the long-term strategy process that get shaped during agenda setting, structure the plan formulation and become projects for implementation. ...
Article
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In this review, we take stock of 10 research articles that cover strategic delta planning processes in Asia, Europe, and the US. We test working hypotheses about consent, innovations, actor coalitions, and planning tools in different phases. We posit that strategic delta planning is a deliberate effort to influence delta developments, wherein wishful thinking on how a delta could develop is repeatedly confronted with vested practices and interests. These confrontations produce expected (e.g., institutional embedment, changing people’s minds) and unexpected changes (e.g., actors suddenly consenting or stepping out). Strategic delta planning is therefore not only an ambitious planning process, it is also highly uncertain, as consent on strategic directions has to be renegotiated across phases and arenas. Recommendations for practice are therefore highlighted that cover vocabulary, persuasiveness and tools. Further research is proposed to study the vagaries of strategic delta plans in urbanising deltas.
... Strategic delta planning is conceived as a new way to formulate a development agenda for the delta in order to address both socio-economic and physical-ecological aspects over a longer timeframe (Healey 2004). Previous delta planning research (Seijger et al. 2017a) examined the agenda-setting process that starts the formulation of a strategic delta plan. This entails bringing the topic of strategic planning to the fore in policy and academic circles and determining what are the key issues and problems to be covered by the strategic delta plan. ...
... Considering agendas analogously as inputs sheds light on how ideas are brought into the policymaking process. This view helps us to understand how political actors and institutions may perceive problems, construct their own agendas and view a strategic delta plan in relation to their traditional ideas or policies (Seijger et al. 2017a). ...
... Various international scholars have since adopted it for studies exploring a range of policy contexts, from the EU and Germany to China and Hongkong (Teodorovi c 2008;Baumgartner, Jones, and Mortensen 2014;B eland and Howlett 2016;Chow 2014;John 2003;Mu 2018;Jones et al. 2016;Zahariadis 1999Zahariadis , 2003Zahariadis , 2008Zahariadis and Herweg 2017;Zahariadis 2016;Zohlnh€ ofer, Herweg, and Huß 2016;Baumgartner and Jones 2010;Huitema et al. 2009;Cairney and Jones 2016;Rawat and Morris 2016). Recent work on spatial planning and delta development suggests that strategic planning is becoming the preferred means of setting policy agendas for long-term delta development (Seijger et al. 2017a;Healey 2004;Friedmann 2004;Olesen 2017). Our study was interested in the influence of strategic planning in delta development. ...
Article
This article uses the lens of the Multiple Streams Approach to explore whether the agendas set by political actors in Vietnam converged with the agenda set in the Mekong Delta Plan (MDP). The MDP presents policy choices for the development of the Vietnamese Mekong Delta. The plan offers economically attractive, climate adaptive and environmentally sustainable paths forward in the face of climate change and economic uncertainties. We collected our data using qualitative techniques, including a literature review and interviews. We found convergence between the MDP’s agenda and political actors’ agendas, though divergences were also detected. Between the delivery of the MDP in 2013 and formal endorsement of its ideas in 2017, the problem stream, policy stream and politics stream were brought together by the actions of “policy entrepreneurs” (scientists and experts). Our findings suggest that agenda-setting and convergence were a crucial step towards endorsement of the strategic delta planning process for the Mekong Delta. Further research could explore issues of power mobilization in enabling or constraining decision-making. © 2019, © 2019 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.
... This paper aims to analyse the implications of these four development trajectories for coastal Bangladesh assuming they persist to 2100. Integrated assessment of the main system elements, characteristics and interaction provides a framework for such analysis (Anderies et al. 2007;Daw et al. 2016;Seijger et al. 2017). Here we improve and apply an integrated model of coastal Bangladesh Lazar et al. 2015;Payo et al. 2017) to achieve the aim. ...
... Delta management today is moving towards a more holistic, adaptive management approach (Seijger et al. 2017;Zevenbergen et al. 2018). Indeed, the Bangladesh Delta Plan 2100 (BDP 2018) designs long-term 'living plans' that will be regularly updated with new evidence. ...
Article
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Bangladesh is one of the most climate sensitive countries globally, creating significant challenges for future development. Here we apply an integrated assessment model -- Delta Dynamic Integrated Emulator Model (ΔDIEM) -- to the south-west coastal zone of Bangladesh to explore the outcomes of four contrasting and plausible development trajectories under different climate and socio-economic scenarios: (1) embankment rehabilitation; (2) build elevation via controlled sedimentation; (3) planned migration (managed retreat); and (4) ‘do nothing’ (unplanned migration and abandonment). Embankment rehabilitation reduces flood risk, but at a high economic cost and enhancing waterlogging. Planned and unplanned migration combined with limited infrastructure management and governance both result in significant abandonment. Building elevation through sedimentation has potential for increased environmental and economic sustainability, but raises equity issues. Poverty and inequality persist across all scenarios, and outmigration from the coastal zone continues, although the magnitude is sensitive to assumptions about sea-level rise, socio-economic development and development trajectory. Integrated assessment tools linking the environment, people and policy choices, such as ΔDIEM used here, highlight the complex interactions occurring in a dynamic delta environment. Such analysis supports informed management, development and adaptation.
... To address adaptation in delta areas, there is a need to integrate climate change adaptation and future planning (van der Voorn et al. 2017). Several approaches and methods have been proposed, such as adaptation pathways (Haasnoot et al. 2013), robust decision making (Lempert and Groves 2010), adaptive management (van der Voorn, Pahl-Wostl, and Quist 2012;van der Voorn et al. 2017) and strategic delta planning (Seijger et al. 2017). Strategic delta planning has emerged as an approach to support long-term (50-100 years) integrated planning in delta systems. ...
... Strategic delta planning has emerged as an approach to support long-term (50-100 years) integrated planning in delta systems. The plan itself contains a strategic vision of the future, and allows for an adaptive framework to guide future actions (Haasnoot et al. 2013;Seijger et al. 2017;Seijger, Hoang, and Van Halsema 2019;van der Voorn et al. 2017). Now that strategic delta plans are being developed in various deltas, such as Bangladesh, the Netherlands, Vietnam, England, the United States and Myanmar (Choudhury et al. 2012;Delta Stewardship Council 2013;Environment Agency 2009;Kabat et al. 2009Kabat et al. , 2005Louisiana 2012;Royal Haskoning, Deltares, and Rebel 2013;Schiermeier 2014;Seijger, Hoang, and Van Halsema 2019;van Staveren, van Tatenhove, and Warner 2017) questions regarding the implementation aspects of these plans emerge. ...
Article
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Strategic delta planning focuses on strategic, long-term choices to stimulate sustainable development in deltas. Strategic delta plans outline a long-term vision to be embedded into the plans and activities of government agencies and semi-public actors at multiple levels. This implies a form of coordinated, yet decentralized, implementation. Although, its importance is widely acknowledged, there are few analytical approaches to assess the feasibility and possible bottlenecks of such implementation processes. This article applies a motivation and ability (MOTA) framework to assess the implementation feasibility of the Mekong Delta Plan in Ben Tre province, Vietnam. The results reveal diverging motivations and a perceived lack of ability among government actors at local and regional level. When not well-managed, this could hamper the translation of the strategic goals and visions into local and regional actions. This suggests the usefulness of the MOTA framework as a tool to help manage implementation processes for strategic delta planning.
... Flexibility of the governance system, as well as the perceptions of the stakeholders, and are important aspects for defining the adaptive management measures in the planning process [56][57]. There are no common frameworks to structure complexity of planning process and to evaluation criteria of the priorities of stakeholders considering the socio spatial and temporal dynamics of flood risk [58][59]. Research has been largely ignored define frameworks to operationalize FRM as part of the spatial planning and development [60]. ...
... There are no common frameworks to structure the complex planning process and to evaluation criteria of the diverged priorities of stakeholders considering the socio spatial and temporal dynamics of flood risk [58][59]. Research has been largely ignored define frameworks to operationalize FRM as part of the spatial planning and development [60]. ...
... With its international partners, it has developed the Mekong Delta Plan (MDP). The MDP is a strategic plan that intends to set strategic goals for the long-term future (Seijger et al. 2017;Minh Hoang, forthcoming). Central goals for the coastal region, as laid out in the MDP, include "adaptation to salinity" and "transformation to an agro-business model" (MDP 2013, 82;42). ...
... Our study aims to enrich the understanding of strategic delta planning processes where various factors in the planning process (e.g. agenda setting, decision-making and implementation) and central concepts (actors, tools and innovations) exist (Seijger et al. 2017;Minh Hoang et al. forthcoming). Furthermore, the MOTA framework can be used to assess possible coalitions of actors with (dis)similar abilities and motivations. ...
Article
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Sustainable livelihood development is an ongoing challenge worldwide, and has regained importance due to threats of water shortages and climate change. To cope with changing climatic, demographic and market conditions in Vietnam’s Mekong Delta (VMD) an agricultural transformation process has been suggested in the recent Mekong Delta Plan. This agricultural transformation process requires the implementation of alternative livelihood models. The majority of current agricultural livelihood models in the VMD have been introduced by the government in a top-down manner. In this study, we applied a bottom-up approach to understand the motivations and abilities of local farmers to adopt alternative livelihood models. It is based on the MOTA methodological framework, which is further tested with the use of multivariate analyses. The study was conducted in Ben Tre coastal province. Results showed that farmers’ motivations and abilities to apply alternative models vary substantially among different groups, driven by their perceptions on triggers and opportunities. Acknowledging this diversity is essential to the development of agricultural transformation plans. Furthermore, based on the analysis, a projection of the precise support that communities need to supplement their knowledge, skills and financial capacities, as well as interventions to reduce the risks of new livelihood models, is given.
... Growing awareness around the limits of technocratic planning of deltas has shifted attention towards the role of resilience and in particular how flooding can be seen as a more positive attribute by bringing into the delta fresh sediments and nutrients and supporting ecosystem (Van Staveren et al., 2017;Mao et al., 2017). As part of this new focus on resilience, cultural adaptation and social participation in delta planning has been emphasised alongside more traditional engineering concerns (Seijger et al., 2017). ...
... This work has not yet focused on deltaic regions undergoing change. Several deltaic countries are developing long-term comprehensive delta plans, which include infrastructural and institutional interventions to increase delta resilience (Liao et al., 2016;Seijger et al., 2017). But it remains uncertain how these plans will affect power relations between different societal groups living in the delta. ...
Article
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Historically, flood resilience in large river deltas has been strongly tied to institutional and infrastructural interventions to manage flood risk (such as building of embankments and drainage structures). However, the introduction of infrastructural works has inevitably brought unforeseen, major consequences, such as biodiversity and accelerated land subsidence, endangering the fertile characteristics that made them interesting places to live in in the first place. These ripple effects have sparked, a reconsideration of what deltas are, questioning the very separation and control between nature and culture, and how deltas are to be dealt with. These effects have further sparked changing modalities of power that tend to be overlooked by delta and resilience scholars alike. As a result, there is a real risk that future interventions to increase resilience, will in fact amplify unequal power relations in deltas as opposed to alleviating them. If the system as a whole has achieved some level of flood resilience (partly due to the flood defence mechanisms in place), does infrastructure have a differential effect on people's mobility under flood conditions? Are some groups experiencing less rather than more security, as water accumulates in some places but not others? This paper presents theoretical insights on the relationship between power and resilience in delta regions supported by two case studies, the Ganges-Brahmaputra-Meghna delta in Bangladesh and the Mekong delta in Vietnam.
... The most significant recent Dutch government's cooperation in Vietnam is strategic delta planning in Mekong. Strategic delta plan is the process to materialize long term (from 50 to 100 years) vision of delta, which aims to accommodate societal needs in accordance with the eco-system and changing climate of the area (Seijger et al., 2017). Also, the Dutch government initiated the delta alliance, the information sharing platform that aims to make deltas resilient, and is currently networking 15 countries worldwide (Delta Alliance, 2018). ...
... Tools in the framework signify the methodologies to convert (scientific) knowledge and findings into grounds of decisions. In local-community level, different types of participatory approaches and tools have been proposed for strategic delta planning(Seijger et al., 2017), and for urban adaptation workshops(McEvoy et al., 2018). However, in this research, development and application of the tool is out of scope, so this part is left without exploration.: ...
Thesis
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The water resource management in the Mekong delta in Vietnam has been congested with various interests of domestic and international actors. In the recent cooperation, Dutch provided long term multi-sectoral strategic development plan exclusively to the delta, while Japanese government offers combination of short-term single-sectoral projects with hard infrastructure based solutions. In this context, this study analyses the differently formulated international assistance between the Netherlands and Vietnam and Japan and Vietnam for better understanding of motivations and politics behind these cooperation. The results show that Dutch and Japanese form the outline of cooperation based on their own historical path that both countries followed differently, with interests, internal power balance, and available funds. Solutions offered to Vietnam were in accordance with their successful experiences in the past and present. Dutch solutions were greatly framed by Dutch expertise for living in a delta safely and sustainably, and be prepared to the uncertain future. These have been framed by Dutch politicians, experts, and technical and social researchers each one of them has own definition of success. The central driver for the government is to increase the chance for Dutch private actors to gain the business in the Mekong delta. Japanese cooperation started as war reparation after WWII, and evolved as it had experienced economic growth, oil crisis and natural disasters and so forth. Although individual motivation of different actors are not clear, the government pursues economic prosperity of Japan and perhaps of Vietnam using ODA investments. Japanese ODA has been offered with other direct investments from Japanese private parties, which is great interest for Vietnamese counterpart. Japan also offers technical cooperation that trace Japanese successful pathway to achieve high economic growth rates and enhancing national economy. In Vietnam, the central government, hydraulic engineers and construction companies have formed the network of intensive hydro infrastructure for their own profits, all of them based and educated in the North part of the country. Based on the theories and successful water management experience in the North, they introduced hydraulic infrastructures motored by large machineries. However, the entire system did not fit local water management practices in the Mekong delta, but only brought some profit for all of them. Overall, the motivation of central government for sustainable development of the Mekong delta is not as credible compared to its commitment to strengthen the country force and the economic growth. Even so, Vietnamese have shown the agency to divert interventions from international assistance to shape water flows to fulfil their political agenda. They observe, analyse and choose the solutions that seem to contribute their hydraulic missions. In conclusion, this study shows that the water governance in the Mekong delta has been shaped by Vietnamese government with utilizing interventions provided by international partners, while all of their actions are guided by own agendas. In parallel, actors in Mekong delta, such as farmers are also shaping the flow by diverting and controlling the water flows with utilising available means. The future flows will depend on how do those power balance shift and what would be the global economical and bio-physical environment.
... The adaptive management cycle is fundamentally a process of 'learning by doing.' Under ideal circumstances, the process would begin with stakeholders negotiating consent (Seijger et al. 2017) around fundamental design questions, including project goals, planned activities, conceptual models, and thresholds or triggers for action. Once the project is underway, it enters an iterative phase which focuses on monitoring and assessment, the outcome of which determines whether management adjustments are warranted. ...
... 14 These needs have been identified by a broad suite of stakeholders and reflect shortcomings of existing planning processes. In its attempt to open up the planning conversation to a broad set of socio-political interests, this framework resonates with the strategic delta planning process, as described in (Seijger et al. 2017). The DCF has influenced amendments to both the Delta Plan and Delta Science Plan update by adding language related to human use, based in part on our initial research (DSC 2016a; Milligan and Kraus-Polk 2016). ...
Article
In this article, we describe ecological recovery efforts – restoration – as a crucial component of strategic delta planning. We present restoration as a design process at once biogeophysical and territorial that entails socioecological uncertainties. Adaptive management is an approach to dealing with uncertainties through active monitoring and recalibration of actions taken. We have developed a ‘socioecological monitoring’ program that uses existing biophysical monitoring protocols to collect data on human use. Beyond provisioning demographic and use data, this program also helps to change the relationship between the monitors and managers involved in adaptive management and diverse non-scientific publics, who have thus far been removed from the process. Our approach highlights the importance of user experiences and affective labor to bring people into the design of restoration areas, both as actors to be managed for, as well as agents whose values and desires can help guide landscape evolution.
... Drawing together a range of themes developed in this Editorial, Seijger et al. (2017Seijger et al. ( , 1486) provide a framework which sees "strategic delta planning as a public-sector led process through which a long term vision (the strategic delta plan), and actions and means for implementation are produced that shape and frame what a sustainable delta is and may become". This well-cited paper supported a special issue in 2019 that provides a range of practical examples of such sustainable delta planning (Korbee, van Halsema, and Seijger 2019). ...
... This well-cited paper supported a special issue in 2019 that provides a range of practical examples of such sustainable delta planning (Korbee, van Halsema, and Seijger 2019). Given that Seijger et al. (2017) suggest that in excess of 500 million people live within delta areas, this remains a crucial area for sustainability research. Drawing from a range of quality papers within this special issue, of particular note was the process of translation of policy from a Dutch to a Vietnamese context (Hasan et al. 2019;Minkman, Letitre, and van Buuren 2019). ...
... River deltas are a major and coveted asset for countries that have them within their borders, and their future is emerging more and more as an important societal concern. Deltas are home to hundreds of millions of people, and, commonly characterized by fertile wetlands, they form rich and bio-diversified ecosystems at the interface between land and water (Ericson et al., 2006;Overeem and Syvitski, 2009;Brondizio et al., 2016;Day et al., 2016;Seijger et al., 2016;Hagenlocher et al., 2018). Many deltas provide mineral and organic resources, and commonly host agricultural, tourist, transport networks, and port and shipping activities, while ensuring the provision of a variety of other ecosystem services such as recreation, ecological conservation, water supply, and protection, by their shorelines, against storms and marine submersion (Evans, 2012). ...
Preprint
The inception, growth, and decline of numerous large and small river deltas on Earth have been strongly influenced by human population dynamics and interventions on catchments, notably deforestation and reforestation. Over the last half century, the effects of catchment conditions in determining fluvial sediment supply have been exacerbated or moderated by dams and reservoirs. The sediment balance of river deltas, crucial in terms of delta shoreline stability, advance or retreat, and subsidence, has, in turn, been affected by variations in fluvial sediment supply. The shoreline mobility and resulting subaerial coastal area changes of a selection of 54 of the world’s deltas was quantified over 30 years based on data culled from the literature and from satellite images. These changes were analyzed alongside fluvial sediment loads. Delta shoreline mobility to changing fluvial loads has been variable, reflecting the miscellaneous factors that influence the supply of sediment to deltas. 29 deltas are in overall erosion, 18 show shoreline advance, whereas seven do not show any significant change. The sediment loads received by 42 deltas diminished relative to values prior to 1970, by more than 50% for 28 of them. Ten deltas showed advance, some significantly, notwithstanding fluvial sediment load decreases exceeding 25%. Overall, with the exception of the Colorado (Tx) and the Indus, losses in subaerial coastal area have been rather low. It would appear that diminishing fluvial sediment supply, the driving force in deltaic equilibrium at a multi-decadal timescale, has not, thus far, had a significant negative impact on multi-decadal delta shoreline mobility. This is important in terms of gauging currently perceived delta vulnerability. Notwithstanding, a clear link exists between the mobility of delta shorelines and the reduction in fluvial sediment loads. Eroding deltas have been affected by a reduction that is twice as important as that of stable or advancing deltas since 1970. Dams currently in place will reduce, in the future, the sediment load to their deltas of 25 of the 54 rivers by more than 50% and 100% for 15 of them. It is important to envisage the supply of sediment to deltas less in terms of its direct role in generating accretion, and eventual delta shoreline advance, and more in terms of an agent of resilience. The reduction of fluvial sediment supply to deltas will negatively impact their resilience to other drivers in the future: anthropogenic, climate change, and sea-level rise. The variability of delta shoreline behavior in the face of changing fluvial sediment loads also calls for more in-depth studies of individual deltas in order to build up future management plans addressing vulnerability and loss of resilience to marine forcing, subsidence, and sea-level rise.
... […] This includes mainly thinking toward the future, about how these might contain various sorts of futures; and talk to lots and lots of different stakeholders" (Interview G, 18 march 2015). By comparing what is done and understood as the delta approach in different places in the world, it becomes apparent that there are different manifestations or versions of it (see Table 2, see also Seijger et al., 2016). A. Zegwaard et al. ...
Article
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Triggered by an increased awareness of the possible effects of climate change, many deltaic regions around the world are undertaking planning initiatives to address the problems they expect to face in the future. Dutch delta planning knowledge and expertise figure prominently in some of these initiatives. We use this article to ask why this is so. What makes Dutch delta knowledge special, and how does it become generic enough to travel to other places? The perti-nence of these questions stems from the realization that deltas do not pre-exist human interventions, but are as much the effect of different planning cultures, trajectories and objectives, as they are their cause. Through a discussion of some telling anecdotes of delta planning, our analysis shows that while the Dutchness of delta planning expertise is a powerful branding, this expertise can only travel through a conscious and simultaneous process of un-Dutching: by packaging and scientizing Dutch Delta planning to turn it into a more generic Adaptive Delta Management approach.
... These problems occur despite the fact that research on stakeholder preferences shows successful government persuasion of regional delta-level stakeholders to accept the agrobusiness industrialization strategy [26]. It has been widely evidenced by the literature that a significant gap exists between policy making and policy implementation in Vietnam in a range of policy fields including environment, irrigation, and water management [27,28]. ...
Article
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The development of a coherent and coordinated policy for the management of large socio-agricultural systems, such as the Mekong delta in southern Vietnam, is reliant on aligning the development, delivery, and implementation of policy on national to local scales. Effective decision making is linked to a coherent, broadly-shared vision of the strategic management of socio-agricultural systems. However, when policies are ambiguous, and at worst contradictory, long-term management and planning can consequently suffer. These potential adverse impacts may be compounded if stakeholders have divergent visions of the current and future states of socio-agricultural systems. Herein we used a transferable, scenario-based methodology which uses a standard quadrant matrix in order to explore both anticipated and idealized future states. Our case study was the Mekong delta. The scenario matrix was based upon two key strategic choices (axis) for the delta, derived from analysis of policy documents, literature, stakeholder engagement, and land use models. These are: (i) who will run agriculture in the future, agri-business or the established commune system; and (ii) to what degree sustainability will be incorporated into production. During a workshop meeting, stakeholders identified that agri-business will dominate future agricultural production in the delta but showed a clear concern that sustainability might consequently be undermined despite policy claims of the contrary. As such, our study highlights an important gap between national expectations and regional perspectives. Our results suggest that the new development plans for the Mekong delta (which comprise a new Master Plan and a new 5-year socio-economic development plan), which emphasize agro-business development, should adopt approaches that address concerns of sustainability as well as a more streamlined policy formulation and implementation that accounts for stakeholder concerns at both provincial and national levels.
... People and most wildlife species have extensive learning abilities, complex social life histories, and their own agendas and strategies on how to access and use resources. Instruments for spatial planning and development at multiple scales are needed to manage human-wildlife interactions sustainably to avoid or reduce conflicts (Seijger et al. 2017) and to ensure a sustainable coexistence (Woodroffe et al. 2005). ...
Article
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Human-wildlife conflict (HWC) is a key topic in conservation and agricultural research. Decision makers need evidence-based information to design sustainable management plans and policy instruments. However, providing objective decision support can be challenging because realities and perceptions of human-wildlife interactions vary widely between and within rural, urban, and peri-urban areas. Land users who incur costs through wildlife argue that wildlife-related losses should be compensated and that prevention should be subsidized. Supporters of human-wildlife coexistence policies, such as urban-dwelling people, may not face threats to their livelihoods from wildlife. Such spatial heterogeneity in the cost and benefits of living with wildlife is germane in most contemporary societies. This Special Section features contributions on wildlife-induced damages that range from human perspectives (land use, psychology, governance, local attitudes and perceptions, costs and benefits, and HWC and coexistence theory) to ecological perspectives (animal behavior). Building on current literature and articles in this section, we developed a conceptual model to help frame HWC and coexistence dimensions. The framework can be used to determine damage prevention implementation levels and approaches to HWC resolution. Our synthesis revealed that inter- and transdisciplinary approaches and multilevel governance approaches can help stakeholders and institutions implement sustainable management strategies that promote human-wildlife coexistence. © 2020 The Authors. Conservation Biology published by Wiley Periodicals, Inc. on behalf of Society for Conservation Biology.
... Countries in the lower Guest editorial Mekong region also seek adaption measures to cope with upstream development and climate change issues. For example, in 2013, the Vietnamese government (with support from the Netherlands) developed the Mekong Delta Plan to set strategic goals for the long term (Seijger et al., 2017;Nguyen et al., 2019), followed by Resolution 120/NP-CP on Sustainable and Climate-Resilient Development of the Mekong Delta in Vietnam (GoV, 2017) in 2017. ...
Article
Purpose – This special issue aims to provide economic insights for enhancing livelihood resilience to climate change in the Mekong River basin. Design/methodology/approach – Four original studies use farm-level economic analysis to approach climate change adaptation and livelihood resilience in the Vietnamese Mekong Delta. Along with recent literature dealing with issues beyond the farm level, those studies provide the basis for discussion about the implications of the transformations taking place in the Mekong River basin. Findings – The studies identify livelihood adaptation strategies to climate change, their determinants for adoption and efficiency measures. Modifications in agricultural production systems comprised the most frequent adaptation strategy to climate change in the Vietnamese Mekong Delta. To disseminate the adaptation strategies, local governments should support communication campaigns, training courses and credit programs. Research limitations/implications – Additional research at farm level and beyond is suggested, covering risk management solutions, supply and value chain restructuring, and collaboration among countries of the Mekong River basin. Originality/value – Integrated economic perspectives could provide helpful insights for enhancing livelihood resilience to climate change in the Mekong River basin.
... It is important to note a widespread move to much larger scale delta management such as in the Netherlands, Mekong and GBM deltas [74] and the Mississippi delta [54]. This goes hand-inhand with increasing recognition of the multiple drivers that are impacting deltas today [75] and the need for science to provide policy relevant information at the delta scale. ...
Article
Full-text available
The world's deltas are at risk of being drowned due to rising relative sea levels as a result of climate change, decreasing supplies of fluvial sediment, and human responses to these changes. This paper analyses how delta morphology evolves over multi-decadal timescales under environmental change using a process-based model. Model simulations over 10^2 years are used to explore the influence of three key classes of environmental change, both individually and in combination: (i) varying combinations of fluvial water and sediment discharges; (ii) varying rates of relative sea-level rise; and (iii) selected human interventions within the delta, comprising polder-dykes and cross-dams. The results indicate that tidal asymmetry and rate of sediment supply together affect residual flows and delta morphodynamics (indicated by sub-aerial delta area, rates of progradation and aggradation). When individual drivers of change act in combination, delta building processes such as the distribution of sediment flux, aggradation, and progradation are disrupted by the presence of isolated polder-dykes or cross-dams. This suggests that such interventions, unless undertaken at a very large scale, can lead to unsustainable delta building processes. Our findings can inform management choices in real-world tidally-influenced deltas, while the methodology can provide insights into other dynamic morphological systems.
... The Vietnamese Mekong delta and the Dutch subsiding city of Gouda were selected because of their rich content regarding the dual lock-in. We knew that the cases were informative because of previous and ongoing research projects that provided us with in-depth knowledge on institutional and technological developments in both contexts (Minderhoud et al., 2017;Seijger et al., 2017). Narratives were thus created for the Mekong delta and Gouda on the basis of the different lock-in factors and their interplay. ...
Article
In delta areas, flood protection structures and large-scale land reclamation are preferential water management strategies to cultivate soft delta soils. Over the past decades, river embankments, upstream dams, land reclamation, and groundwater use have intensified, and increasingly contribute to subsidence. In addition, the influence of institutions implementing these strategies has strengthened as they have acquired technical skills, knowledge, and vast financial resources. Sinking deltas are therefore trapped in a dual lock-in as dominating technology and institutions act as constraints to moving into a more long-term sustainable direction. Nine factors for the lock-in are introduced and illustrated for delta regions in Asia, Europe, and the US. To gain a better understanding of what researchers and practitioners can do to address the dual lock-in, a practical case is presented of Gouda, a Dutch subsiding city in search of more sustainable strategies and institutions. The paper ends with three steps to change the configuration of a dual lock-in: (1) getting to know the lock-in; (2) temporarily bypassing it; and (3) constituting a new, more sustainable lock-in. These steps should be further investigated in action-oriented research programmes with local experts, and targeted to policy processes and human behaviour in the sinking deltas.
... Large uncertainties about the future arising from rapid socioeconomic developments and climate change have triggered planners in deltas to use an integrative and adaptive planning approach to prepare and adapt depending on how the future unfolds. In the Netherlands this approach is referred as Adaptive Delta Management (ADM) (Seijger et al., 2016;Zevenbergen et al., 2018) and has since then being exported to other deltas. Scientifically, the ADM approach is built upon both adaptive planning approaches including adaptive policy making (Walker et al., 2001), robust decision making (Lempert, 2003), and adaptation pathways (Haasnoot et al., 2012), as well as integrated water resources planning management (GWP, 2000;Loucks and van Beek, 2017). ...
Article
Full-text available
To deal with large uncertainties about future climate and socio-economic developments, planners in deltas are adopting an integrative and adaptive planning approach referred to as Adaptive Delta Management (ADM). Bangladesh has used the ADM approach for the development of its adaptive plan; Bangladesh Delta Plan 2100 (BDP 2100). The success of policy strategies in an adaptive delta plan critically depends on a specific adaptation of livelihoods of local communities (Community Livelihood Adaptation; CLA), especially in an agriculture-oriented society like Bangladesh. For example, while triple rice cropping might be evaluated as a robust strategy in all futures considered, its success eventually depends on whether farmers’ will actually make that choice, which is deeply uncertain. In this paper, we use literature review, insights from interviews and field observations to examine how the uncertainty in CLA impacts (adaptive) delta management. We study two historical cases of livelihood adaptation of farmer communities confronted with salinization and waterlogging in the polders of southwest Bangladesh since the 1960s. We conclude that historically the uncertainty about CLA in polders has been ignored in the development of policy plans, leading to the failure of anticipated policy outcomes. We recommend planners in Bangladesh and other deltas worldwide to take account of CLA as uncertainty when developing long-term adaptive plans.
... Together with the failures of traditional governance approaches and current development challenges facing deltas, conventional delta planning fails to completely resolve emerging socio-environmental situations such as floods and agricultural intensification (Pahl-Wostl, 2007;Seijger et al., 2017). These drivers allow the adoption of new paradigms for water development based on an integrated, adaptive management approach (Schoeman, Allan, & Finlayson, 2014). ...
Article
The rural landscapes of the Vietnamese Mekong Delta have undergone a dramatic change, where flood management and adaptation are at the forefront. This article investigates how these synergies facilitate policy change. Drawing on qualitative information from the literature, focus group discussions, and interviews, the article argues that there are confrontational but complementary effects between them, which evolve towards adaptive co-management. Collaborative learning between local governments and farmers enables shared understanding of water management drawbacks, leading to policy change. The article recommends that more attention be given to this approach to guide strategic water policy development in the region.
... The variability of delta shoreline behavior in the face of changing fluvial sediment loads also calls for more in-depth studies of individual deltas in order to build up future management plans addressing vulnerability and loss of resilience to marine forcing, subsidence, and sea-level rise. Day et al., 2016;Seijger et al., 2016;Hagenlocher et al., 2018). Many deltas provide mineral and organic resources, and commonly host agricultural, tourist, transport networks, and port and shipping activities, while ensuring the provision of a variety of other ecosystem services such as recreation, ecological conservation, water supply, and protection, by their shorelines, against storms and marine submersion (Evans, 2012). ...
Article
The inception, growth, and decline of numerous large and small river deltas on Earth have been strongly influenced by human population dynamics and interventions on catchments, notably deforestation and reforestation. Over the last half century, the effects of catchment conditions in determining fluvial sediment supply have been exacerbated or moderated by dams and reservoirs. The sediment balance of river deltas, crucial in terms of delta shoreline stability, advance or retreat, and subsidence, has, in turn, been affected by variations in fluvial sediment supply. The shoreline mobility and resulting subaerial coastal area changes of a selection of 54 of the world’s deltas was quantified over 30 years based on data culled from the literature and from satellite images. These changes were analyzed alongside fluvial sediment loads. Delta shoreline mobility to changing fluvial loads has been variable, reflecting the miscellaneous factors that influence the supply of sediment to deltas. 29 deltas are in overall erosion, 18 show shoreline advance, whereas seven do not show any significant change. The sediment loads received by 42 deltas diminished relative to values prior to 1970, by more than 50% for 28 of them. Ten deltas showed advance, some significantly, notwithstanding fluvial sediment load decreases exceeding 25%. Overall, with the exception of the Colorado (Tx) and the Indus, losses in subaerial coastal area have been rather low. It would appear that diminishing fluvial sediment supply, the driving force in deltaic equilibrium at a multi-decadal timescale, has not, thus far, had a significant negative impact on multi-decadal delta shoreline mobility. This is important in terms of gauging currently perceived delta vulnerability. Notwithstanding, a clear link exists between the mobility of delta shorelines and the reduction in fluvial sediment loads. Eroding deltas have been affected by a reduction that is twice as important as that of stable or advancing deltas since 1970. Dams currently in place will reduce, in the future, the sediment load to their deltas of 25 of the 54 rivers by more than 50% and 100% for 15 of them. It is important to envisage the supply of sediment to deltas less in terms of its direct role in generating accretion, and eventual delta shoreline advance, and more in terms of an agent of resilience. The reduction of fluvial sediment supply to deltas will negatively impact their resilience to other drivers in the future: anthropogenic, climate change, and sea-level rise. The variability of delta shoreline behavior in the face of changing fluvial sediment loads also calls for more in-depth studies of individual deltas in order to build up future management plans addressing vulnerability and loss of resilience to marine forcing, subsidence, and sea-level rise.
... The conflicts arising from different potential uses, conservation, and legislative issues call for new solutions and views in the governance of deltaic areas. Strategic delta planning has been proposed as a promising planning approach based on a public sector-led process with a sustainable longterm vision to be implemented through actions and means that cover multiple domains (Seijger et al. 2017). However, its translation from theory to practice requires innovative solutions compelling public sector and stakeholders to a change of paradigm, from a sectoral to a coordinated long-term vision. ...
Article
Human impacts on deltas often involve reclamation of coastal wetlands, causing a dramatic loss of ecological functions. We propose an Ecosystem Services (ES) approach to promote coordinated governance of aquaculture and environmental conservation in a brackish lagoon of the Po River delta (Italy). Spatiotemporal changes of aquatic vegetated habitats and clam production were evaluated, and experimentally related to ESs: climate regulation, habitat provision for birdlife, and potential for birdwatching. Almost all emergent vegetation was lost during past decades, while aquaculture production increased rapidly. Vegetated habitats sequestered significant amounts of carbon and supported more diverse bird communities than non-vegetated wetlands, including protected species of interest for birdwatching. We demonstrated that sectoral management was ineffective in maintaining ESs, promoting the exploitation of few provisioning services while decreasing many others. We propose an innovative, integrated management that focuses on restoring aquatic vegetation to offset anthropic impacts for the future sustainable governance of deltas.
... Knowledge and use of advanced information technologies like Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and Remote Sensing can also help in understanding the processes taking place in particular deltas. Seijger et al (2016) outline an approach for involving stakeholders in strategic delta planning including water management, agriculture and urban development, and environmental protection of delta planning along with a research agenda designed to encourage the use of this participatory approach. ...
Article
Full-text available
Background . Coastal river deltas provide multiple ecosystem services. Many deltas serve as major centers of agriculture, industry and commerce. The annual economic benefits derived from major deltas are often a substantial fraction of a country’s GDP. Yet, many deltas are losing land due to erosion, subsidence and subsequent flooding. Such vulnerabilities are often increased due to local land and water management decisions, relative sea-level rise, and increases in climate extremes. Aim of this review . Considerable literature exists addressing the formation of deltas and the effects of increasing urbanization, industrialization and crop and fish production, increases in relative sea level rise, and decreasing sediment deposition. This leads to the question: are the economic, environmental, ecological and social benefits derived from developed river deltas sustainable? This review focuses on this question. Methods/Design. Over 180 published documents were identified and reviewed using various search engines and key words. These key words included river deltas; delta sustainability, vulnerability, resilience, coasts, ecology, hazards, erosion, water management, urbanization, reclamation, agriculture, governance, pollution, geomorphology, economic development, socio-economic changes, and delta wetlands; relative sea level change; sediment trapping; sand mining; salinity intrusion; coastal restoration; estuarine engineering; shoreline evolution; estuarine processes; and the names of specific river basin deltas. Review Results/Synthesis and Discussion . Deltas provide humans important resources and ecosystem services leading to their intensive development. The impacts of this development, together with sea-level rise, threatens the sustainability of many river deltas. Various management and governance measures are available to help sustain deltas. Controls on land use, improved farming and transport technology, wetland habitat protection, and d improved governance are some that might help sustain the economic and ecological services provided by deltas. However, increased population growth and the impacts of climate change will put increased pressure on deltas and the benefits derived from them.
... Specific delta policies or strategies are largely sets of principles framed around a broad geographical area. They include the Dutch Delta Programme, the 2016-2019 Mississippi Delta Region Development Plan, the Niger Delta Master Plan, the Mekong Delta Plan, or the Bangladesh Delta Plan 2100 (Seijger et al. 2017). However, there are not comprehensive delta plans or processes for many of the world's most significant and populous deltas (see Chapters 2-4, Mensah et al. [2016] and Hazra et al. [2016]). ...
Chapter
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This chapter examines the societal response to diverse environmental and social dynamics within deltas during the Anthropocene era and the challenges for future adaptation. It illustrates these dynamics through unique data on the diversity and success of the range of adaptive actions undertaken by contemporary populations as well as perceptions of environmental change. There is a lived reality and social distribution of vulnerability across dimensions such as gender, age and class: different groups have different capacities to adapt, incentives to adapt, and are included or excluded from strategies of adaptation. There are options and interventions for adaptation to environmental change that already being undertaken across deltas.
... In this paper, we regard as a delta planning tool any artefact and/or approach used by delta planners that aims to support developing consent amongst stakeholders in a delta planning process (cf. Seijger et al. 2017, and this issue). Participatory delta planning tools are thus tools that aim to facilitate participation in delta planning and/or tools that require specific input from participants for analytical purposes, conforming to the decision support tool continuum by Goosen, Janssen, and Vermaat (2007). ...
Article
Full-text available
Participatory planning tools are increasingly applied in strategic delta planning processes. Additional to its design criteria, such tools commonly promote a variety of aspects including (1) facilitation of communication, (2) knowledge sharing, (3) social learning, (4) decreasing differences in power, (5) integration between sectors, and (6) supporting agreements. Yet tools are rarely assessed systematically on these participatory process dimensions. This paper presents a participatory planning tool assessment framework. The paper shows how the framework is tested on its usefulness in a training workshop on participatory planning tools for strategic delta planning. It is concluded that the framework offers potential to assess participatory planning tools beyond a tool’s technological design criteria and that it can contribute to advancing our knowledge on the performance of tools in participatory planning activities.
... Unter den vielfältigen Belastungen des Anthropozäns dürften historisch gewachsene Konzepte in Zukunft nicht ausreichen, sondern eine Intensivierung und Umgestaltung mit Hilfe technischer Ansätze und Governance-Regelungen erfordern. Hierzu gehören Pläne, die den Anpassungsherausforderungen in Deltas gerecht werden(Seijger et al. 2017). Die Überschwemmung von New Orleans durch den Wirbelsturm Katrina im Jahr 2005 fand ihren Niederschlag im Delta-Plan der Abb. ...
Chapter
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Urban agglomerations in River Deltas: River deltas and urban agglomerations located there are particularly exposed to the consequences of climate change and the pressure from local human utilization. Impacts of gro¬wing sea level rise may include inundation, submergence, saltwater intrusion, loss of wetlands or agricultural land. All these effects can substantially interfere with human uses of the deltaic regions and can have adverse implications on local adaptive capacity and resilience to climate change. Experience shows that proactive approaches to adaptation are generally more effective than reactive approaches. An integrated framework is developed to allow systematic research on the impacts of climate change on river deltas. Examples are provi¬ded of different kinds of river deltas to outline the possibilities that exist for effective coastal management in delta regions in times of climate change. Flussdeltas und dort liegende städtische Agglomerationen sind den Auswirkungen des Klimawandels und den Folgen intensiver menschlicher Nutzung ausgesetzt. Ein steigender Meeresspiegel kann in Flussdeltas zu Inundation, Überflutung, Salzwassereinträgen, Verlusten von Feuchtgebieten oder landwirtschaftlichen Nutzflächen führen. All diese Auswirkungen beeinträchtigen die menschliche Nutzung der Deltaregionen und können die lokale Widerstandsfähigkeit gegen den Klimawandel reduzieren. Die Erfahrung zeigt, dass proaktive Maßnahmen einen effektiveren Schutz bieten als reaktive. Mit Hilfe eines integrativen Forschungsansatzes lassen sich die Konsequenzen von Umweltveränderungen in Flussdeltas systematisch erforschen. Beispiele unterschiedlicher Flussdeltas geben einen Überblick über die unterschiedlichen Möglichkeiten, um ein effektives Küstenmanagement in Deltaregionen in Zeiten des Klimawandels zu etablieren.
... In the Mississippi Delta, coastal restoration is actively focussing on ecosystem restoration and coastal safety (CPRAL 2017). In the Netherlands, the Dutch Delta Commission has been established and similar plans are being developed in the Mekong and Bangladesh (Seijger et al. 2017). In all these examples, there is a vision of coordinated delta development and adaptive approaches to an uncertain future. ...
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Deltas are microcosms of the global dilemmas of living sustainably within environmental systems that affect human life and well-being. Deltas have become increasingly human-dominated systems over the past century, reflecting a range of changes at global, catchment and delta scales. An integrated perspective of deltas as multiple interacting systems highlights the real potential for indirect and unintended consequences of human action at one scale to cascade through other sectors spatially and temporally. This chapter reviews Anthropocene trends and highlights how integrated scientific assessment in three illustrative deltas, the Ganges-Brahmaputra-Meghna, the Mahanadi and the Volta, illuminates Anthropocene challenges and trade-offs. Modelling and observations of biophysical and social processes including migration and economic dynamics, and direct analysis of adaptation, demonstrate where these challenges have potentially sustainable solutions.
... United Nations, World Bank, should consider sediment management, including measures to minimise sediment flux reductions detrimental to downstream delta sustainability. This consideration is a logical extension of integrated delta management planning which is becoming more widespread (Seijger et al 2016). ...
Article
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Deltas are resource rich, low-lying areas where vulnerability to flooding is exacerbated by natural and anthropogenically induced subsidence and geocentric sea-level rise, threatening the large populations often found in these settings. Delta 'drowning' is potentially offset by deposition of sediment on the delta surface, making the delivery of fluvial sediment to the delta a key balancing control in offsetting relative sea-level rise, provided that sediment can be dispersed across the subaerial delta. Here we analyse projected changes in fluvial sediment flux over the 21st century to 47 of the world's major deltas under 12 environmental change scenarios. The 12 scenarios were constructed using four climate pathways (Representative Concentration Pathways 2.6, 4.5, 6.0, and 8.5), three socioeconomic pathways (Shared Socioeconomic Pathways 1, 2, and 3), and one reservoir construction timeline. A majority (33/47) of the investigated deltas are projected to experience reductions in sediment flux by the end of the century, when considering the average of the scenarios, with mean and maximum declines of 38% and 83%, respectively, between 1990-2019 and 2070-2099. These declines are driven by the effects of anthropogenic activities (changing land management practices and dam construction) overwhelming the effects of future climate change. The results frame the extent and magnitude of future sustainability of major global deltas. They highlight the consequences of direct (e.g. damming) and indirect (e.g. climate change) alteration of fluvial sediment flux dynamics and stress the need for further in-depth analysis for individual deltas to aid in developing appropriate management measures.
... Many deltas are becoming economically and environmentally vulnerable and their physical and biological resilience declining as a result of human activities (Brondizio et al., 2016;Seijger et al., 2016;Hagenlocher et al., 2018). Increased vulnerability and loss of resilience occur as a result of reduced sediment flux from rivers and various other modifications caused by human interventions (Ericson et al., 2006;Syvitski and Saito, 2007;Syvitski et al., 2009;Evans, 2012;Besset et al., 2019a;Grill et al., 2019). ...
Article
A morpho-sedimentary analysis of the Ayeyarwady delta shoreline was conducted based on a field mission in Myanmar in November 2016 and interpretation of satellite images spanning the period 1974-2019. These analyses were complemented by data on land-to-water conversion and vice versa within a 2 km-wide coastal fringe, and on MERIS-derived seasonal and decadal-scale evolution of suspended particulate matter (SPM) off the delta. The objectives were to: (1) characterize the 450 km-long delta shoreline and coastal sediment transport pathways, (2) define the shoreline status (stability, erosion, accretion), and (3) identify potential causes of shoreline change and the future outcome of this status in terms of delta vulnerability. The delta shoreline was characterized on the basis of qualitative alongshore tidal, wave-energy, and sediment grain-size patterns (muddy, sandy or a mixture of both), and morphology (sandy beaches and mudflats). The deltaic coast exhibits a mixed wave-and-tide-dominated morphology and comprises a western sector characterized by four of the five main distributary mouths separating inter-distributary plains bounded by low overwash-influenced beaches devoid of aeolian dunes. The eastern sector, in the Gulf of Martaban, is embayed, much less prograded and bounded by dominantly muddy shores. This simple shoreline dichotomy reflects the overarching alongshore sediment redistribution and storage patterns that have accompanied the growth of the delta, resulting in the two facies: sand dominantly retained in the western sector where the multiple distributary mouths have constrained potential alongshore sand transport by low- to moderate-energy monsoongenerated southwesterly waves, and mud transported by the regional monsoon-influenced coastal shelf circulation towards the eastern sector. The recent multi-decadal shoreline mobility in the Ayeyarwady delta points to the influence of fluvial sediment supply on these two facies. Between 1974 and 2019, 49% of the delta’s shoreline underwent erosion, mainly affecting the sandy beaches in the western sector, whereas shoreline accretion is still prevalent along the large inter-distributary plain east of Yangon, where coastal mud preferentially accumulates in the Gulf of Martaban. We attribute erosion to reduced river sand supply generated by dams and by massive in-channel sand mining upstream of the delta, exacerbated by important channel dredging. Large-scale deforestation resulting from land-use changes (agriculture and mining) in the Ayeyarwady catchment are probably contributing to enhanced fine-grained sediment supply to the delta plain and the coast, as reflected by the relative stability of coastal SPM over a decade (2002-2012) and continued deposition in the accreting eastern sheltered part of the delta. The coastal sediment balance will be further impacted in the future if planned dams are constructed. Without proper sediment management, notably a significant reduction or prohibition of in-channel sand mining, the sandy beaches that armour the waveexposed western sector of the delta will continue to erode, resulting in increased potential exposure of the delta to cyclones and sea-level rise. https://authors.elsevier.com/c/1ZfJC5mVdi5MS
... Bangladesh requires a long-term vision, planning and implementation comprising all government ministries and agencies that contribute to this collective objective. Owing to the large uncertainties with regard to climate change and socio-economic progress, planning, robust and versatile strategies are required for effective Adaptive Delta Management (Seijger et al. 2017;BDP2100 2018. Policymakers from both India and Bangladesh require stronger knowledge and scientific tools to anticipate the dynamic effects of global climate change and their interaction with environmental and socio-economic change and make decisions on the most appropriate interventions and investments (e.g. ...
Chapter
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The Ganges-Brahmaputra-Meghna (GBM) Delta and its catchment area are shared between five countries which means that the delta is strongly influenced by neighbouring country’s water and sediment management decisions in addition to climatic, environmental and internal management. Delta administration is also shared between Bangladesh and India, including the unique Sundarbans mangrove forest. An overview of delta-building and socio-ecological processes from Holocene to Anthropocene are outlined providing a background for current issues. These include discussion on emerging opportunities and challenges, growth of settlements/land use, vulnerability mapping and options for adaptation including migration. Preliminary social vulnerability maps for the Joint GBM Delta are presented. These could facilitate the engagement of policymakers of all countries to create opportunities for co-learning to resolve delta level issues.
... Policymaking and the relevant legal architecture in relation to the management of water resources and floods, for example the European Water Framework Directive (Article 3, European Parliament and Council 2000), generally express balance between upstream and downstream rights and interests. More specifically, delta nations such as the Netherlands, Vietnam and Bangladesh, have international agreements in place that make their planning processes more robust and flexible (Seijger et al. 2017). However, in most cases, this does not happen (for example, India), as there is no agreement at basin level on how the river is to be managed (Global Water Partnership 2000). ...
Chapter
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Policy development and management of deltas in the Anthropocene involves the consideration of trade-offs and the balancing of positive and negative consequences for delta functions and the societies that rely on them. This assessment outlines policy-driven and spatial trade-offs that dominate the landscape of choice. It highlights examples of such trade-offs using plausible delta futures and the governance choices associated with them. The analysis is based on modelling broad-scale processes and individual adaptive actions. It highlights how policy choices to maximise economic growth can, for example, have unforeseen consequences such as diminished well-being for some populations. Hence the chapter concludes that trade-offs are a crucial governance challenge for future sustainability of deltas.
... The emergence of delta-scale plans (Seijger et al. 2017) would seem to be one appropriate response to modifying the approach to adaptation in deltas. Being in many ways a response to the flooding of New Orleans in Hurricane Katrina in 2005, these started in the Netherlands with the Delta Plan in 2008 (Deltacommissie 2008;Kabat et al. 2009;Stive et al. 2011). ...
Chapter
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What are the possible trajectories of delta development over the coming decades? Trajectories will be determined by the interactions of biophysical trends such as changing sediment supplies, subsidence due to compaction of sediment and climate change, along with key socio-economic trends of migration and urbanisation, agricultural intensification, demographic transition, economic growth and structural change of the economy. Knowledge and understanding of plausible trajectories can inform management choices for deltas in the Anthropocene, including new policy perspectives and innovative adaptation. The emergence of visionary delta management plans in some large deltas, such as the Bangladesh Delta Plan 2100, is an important and necessary component. This chapter synthesises the state of knowledge and highlights key elements of science that will inform decisions on future management of deltas.
Article
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The rural landscapes of the Vietnamese Mekong Delta have undergone a dramatic change, where flood management and adaptation are at the forefront. This article investigates how these synergies facilitate policy change. Drawing on qualitative information from the literature, focus group discussions, and interviews, the article argues that thereare confrontational but complementary effects between them, which evolve towards adaptive co-management. Collaborative learning between local governments and farmers enables shared understanding of water management drawbacks, leading to policy change. The article recommends that more attention be given to this approach to guide strategic water policy development in the region.
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While past development interventions have made significant contributions to growth in terms of a variety of global socio-economic indicators such as GDP, household incomes, life expectancy, and school years, evidence is growing that there have been trade-offs, implicit or explicit, with other indicators. Selection of interventions, many of which might be classed under the ‘transformational’ category of adaptation, therefore requires considered and informed decision making to recognise and ideally avoid unintended negative consequences. Analysis using the Delta Dynamic Integrated Emulator Model (ΔDIEM), enables the identification of trends and potential trade-offs that are implicit in the decisions more clear and more explicit to policy makers. In this Chapter, the changes in agriculture (food security), poverty level and inequality associated with the baseline and four selected interventions are considered. These interventions are examples of projects in BDP 2100 with the potential to profoundly alter the provision of ecosystem services, and the potential to deliver both significant socio-economic benefits as well as unintended consequences for the well-being for the population and ecosystem health.
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The government of the Netherlands actively promotes Dutch delta planning to other deltaic countries. This paper describes and analyzes the Dutch–Vietnamese interactions and relationships around the development of the Mekong Delta Plan as a case of policy transfer. The paper uses an approach that regards policy transfers as processes of translation. It draws attention to the work that goes into making Dutch delta expertise and knowledge useful elsewhere. The paper shows that the financial and political support for Dutch Delta Planning expertise in Vietnam needed to be actively and continuously wielded to keep the process going. We conclude that there is merit in understanding policy transfer as a process of translation between many actors, all of whom change, learn, and influence not just each other but also what is transferred. Such an understanding allows better acknowledgement of the deeply dialogic and relational character of policy transfer processes.
Article
Recent research developments indicate that citizens’ observatories, a novel approach for data collection, management and governance, can provide valuable contributions to strategic delta planning processes. Most citizen observatories are limited in spatial coverage during data collection, according to the citizens’ availability and static locations. However, there are times in which citizens participate as trained volunteers during data collection field campaigns. In this later scenario, an important aspect in organising and maintaining citizen observatories is having a clear plan for data gathering activities, including determination of routes to be followed by these citizens. This article addresses the issue of determining such routes (called pathways) related to the specific problem of gathering data in deltaic areas, which are composed of intricate canals and wetlands. Data collection activities consist of citizens acquiring images and videos with mobile phones at predetermined locations (Points of Interest) that are only accessible by boats. A pathway selection approach is presented, supported by a hydrodynamic model, developed to capture the specific processes of the delta. The aim of the approach is to define: where to send the citizens to fulfil stakeholders’ interest and planning goals, how to reach these points and which pathways should be selected (prioritised based on such interests), considering possible flood patterns. The developed methodology is part of an ongoing H2020 funded research. The proof of concept is carried out in the Sontea-Fortuna area, of the Danube Delta, which, similar to many wetlands, contains a large variety of unique, endemic species. With the developed approach, pathways to be followed by citizens during data collection campaigns were generated and scored considering local interests. Analysis of the boat’s accessibility into the delta during different hydrological scenarios showed that the wetland is more accessible than expected, hence the proposed pathway approach was useful in prioritizing some canals over others. The determined pathways will be applied in field campaigns. The approach can be applied to other delta regions with different environmental problems, such as water quality or ecosystem assessment, contributing to the organisation of effective active citizen data collection.
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Water-management practices in the Vietnamese Mekong Delta have predominantly focused on structural development (e.g., dykes) to support rice-based agricultural production. Given the existing conventional approach, however, many of these efforts have been rendered ineffective. This study adopts the policy transfer concept to investigate how the participatory approach is introduced into the local institutional system, and how it shapes the construction, operation and management of the North Vam Nao scheme. Results suggest that this allowed stakeholders to engage collaboratively in these processes. The study contributes an empirical understanding of how policy transfer enhances institutional capacity for water resources management in the delta.
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The Vietnamese Mekong Delta (VMD) is one of the most examined deltas in the world given its dynamics, complexity, and vulnerability. In the past decades, the VMD has changed rapidly, especially the land use in relation with the socioeconomic development. National policy has profoundly influenced these changes and the changes have significantly affected local livelihoods. However, these changes are not well reported systematically. In this study, we investigate land‐use changes based on institutional analyses across multiple scales, that is, from national, provincial, to local livelihood based on institutional and sustainability analysis. The results show a strong relationship between legal settings over the last 30 years on land use and livelihood transitions. In addition, the constraints of implementing national legal frameworks at provincial level in practice were identified including effects to local livelihoods. We offer some recommendations for sustainable livelihoods in the VMD, with a focus on increasing socioecological resilience.
Article
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The government of the Netherlands actively promotes Dutch delta planning to other deltaic countries. This paper describes and analyzes the Dutch-Vietnamese interactions and relationships around the development of the Mekong Delta Plan as a case of policy transfer. The paper uses an approach that regards policy transfers as processes of translation. It draws attention to the work that goes into making Dutch delta expertise and knowledge useful elsewhere. The paper shows that the financial and political support for Dutch Delta Planning expertise in Vietnam needed to be actively and continuously wielded to keep the process going. We conclude that there is merit in understanding policy transfer as a process of translation between many actors, all of whom change, learn, and influence not just each other but also what is transferred. Such an understanding allows better acknowledgement of the deeply dialogic and relational character of policy transfer processes.
Book
The Anthropocene is the human-dominated modern era that has accelerated social, environmental and climate change across the world in the last few decades. This open access book examines the challenges the Anthropocene presents to the sustainable management of deltas, both the many threats as well as the opportunities. In the world’s deltas the Anthropocene is manifest in major land use change, the damming of rivers, the engineering of coasts and the growth of some of the world’s largest megacities; deltas are home to one in twelve of all people in the world. The book explores bio-physical and social dynamics and makes clear adaptation choices and trade-offs that underpin policy and governance processes, including visionary delta management plans. It details new analysis to illustrate these challenges, based on three significant and contrasting deltas: the Ganges-Brahmaputra-Meghna, Mahanadi and Volta.
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The rapid rate of water infrastructure development in the Mekong basin is a cause for concern due to its potential impact on fisheries and downstream natural ecosystems. In this paper we analyse the historical water levels of the Mekong River and Tonle Sap system by comparing pre and post 1991 daily observations from six stations along the Mekong mainstream from Chiang Sean (northern Laos), to Stung Treng (Cambodia), and the Prek Kdam station on the Tonle Sap River. Observed alterations in water level patterns along the Mekong are linked to temporal and spatial trends in water infrastructure development from 1960 to 2010. We argue that variations in historical climatic factors are important, but they are not the main cause of observed changes in key hydrological indicators related to ecosystem productivity. Our analysis shows that the development of mainstream dams in the upper Mekong basin in the post-1991 period have resulted in a significant increase of 7 day minimum (+91.6%), fall rates (+42%), and the number of water level fluctuations (+75) observed in Chiang Sean. This effect diminishes downstream until it becomes negligible at Mukdahan (northeast Thailand), which represents a drainage area of over 50% of the total Mekong Basin. Further downstream at Pakse (southern Laos), alterations to the number of fluctuations and rise rate became strongly significant after 1991. The observed alterations slowly decrease downstream, but modified rise rates, fall rates, and dry season water levels were still quantifiable and significant as far as Prek Kdam. This paper provides the first set of evidence of hydrological alterations in the Mekong beyond the Chinese dam cascade in the upper Mekong. Given the evident alterations with no precedence at Pakse and downstream, post-1991 changes can also be directly attributed to water infrastructure development in the Chi and Mun basins of Thailand. A reduction of 23 and 11% in the water raising and fall rates respectively at Prek Kdam provides evidence of a diminished Tonle Sap flood pulse in the post-1991 period. Given the observed water level alterations from 1991 to 2010 as a result of water infrastructure development, we can extrapolate that future development in the mainstream and the key transboundary Srepok, Sesan and Sekong subbasins will have an even greater effect on the Tonle Sap flood regime, the lower Mekong floodplain, and the delta.
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Implementation failure is a long-known Achilles’ heel of water and flood management plans. Contemporary planning approaches address the implementation challenge by using more participatory planning processes to ensure support for plans, assuming that this support will also benefit plan implementation. A proactive analysis of possible implementation issues during the planning stage is not yet common. This paper introduces a framework based on the motivation and ability of actors, supported by concepts of triggers, threats and opportunities. A case application for flood management in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, demonstrates the use of this motivation-ability framework to assess plan implementation maturity.
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Worldwide, deltas host dense populations and are important centres of agricultural and industrial production, and economic activity. Many deltas are areas of great ecological importance as well, featuring wetlands of high and unique biodiversity. Deltas are vulnerable to changes by natural forces and human activities. Major drivers of change are population growth, economic development, climate change and subsidence.
Article
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Worldwide, deltas host dense populations and are important centres of agricultural and industrial production, and economic activity. Many deltas are areas of great ecological importance as well, featuring wetlands of high and unique biodiversity. Deltas are vulnerable to changes by natural forces and human activities. Major drivers of change are population growth, economic development, climate change and subsidence.
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Background information about: Nile delta (Egypt), Incomati delta (Mozambique), Ganges-Brahmaputra-Meghna (Bangladesh), Yangtze (China), Ciliwung (Indonesia), Mekong (Vietnam), Rhine-Meuse (The Netherlands), Danube (Romania), California Bay-Delta, Mississippi River Delta (USA)
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Abstract Giasuddin Ahmed Choudhury, Catharien Terwisscha van Scheltinga, Dick van den Bergh, Farook Chowdhury, Jaap de Heer, Monowar Hossain and Zahurul Karim, 2012. Preparations for the Bangladesh Delta Plan. Wageningen, Alterra, Alterra Report 2300. 90 pp.; 9 fig.; 1 tab. Water Mondiaal/Partners for Water fielded the Bangladesh Delta Plan Preparatory Team (DPT) in the period July 2011 - January 2012 to advice on a Delta Plan for Bangladesh. The team concludes that there is a need felt for and commitment to longer term integrated and holistic planning, though it is felt to be complex to do so in the dynamic context of Bangladesh. The DPT recommends 1. strong involvement of a wide range of stakeholders (government, knowledge institutes, NGOs and private sector) in the development of the Bangladesh Delta Plan; 2. the development of a shared vision using socio-economic, water management and climate change scenarios; and 3. a parallel implementation process in order to place starting implementation projects within the framework of the Bangladesh Delta Plan, already during the formulation of the plan. Keywords: Bangladesh, Delta Plan, spatial planning, long-term integrated planning, vision, Water Mondiaal, climate change adaptation. Prepared by the DPT, for AgentNL / Partners for Water Programme Delta Plan Preparatory Team: Giasuddin Ahmed Choudhury, Team Leader Catharien Terwisscha van Scheltinga, Deputy Team Leader Dick van den Bergh, Member Farook Chowdhury, Member Jaap de Heer, Member Monowar Hossain, Member Zahurul Karim, Member Photo credits: Cover picture: Catharien Terwisscha van Scheltinga, Alterra; page 24, Dick van den Bergh, Deltares For more information, contact Catharien.Terwisscha@wur.nl ISSN 1566-7197
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Many methods are available to support adaptation planning. Yet there is little guidance on their selection. A recently developed diagnostic framework offers a structured set of criteria to choose research methods for specific adaptation questions. It has been derived from science-driven cases mostly. This paper offers the first application to a policy-driven case. Thus, it aims to (1) assess the descriptive quality of the framework for adaptation planning and (2) reflect on its value in supporting method selection. The paper focuses on the research commissioned for adaptation policymaking by the Dutch Delta Programme in the Wadden region. It compares the research methods used in the Delta Programme with those suggested by the diagnostic framework. It concludes that the selection of methods in the adaptation planning process can be described quite well by the decision trees of the diagnostic framework. Deviations occurred mostly for pragmatic reasons when the selection is informed by practical limitations of the policymaking process, such as available resources, time constraints and experience of the involved experts. It is recommended to enrich the diagnostic framework with methods from adaptation practice and consult it in climate adaptation studies at an early stage.
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Scenario planning has been increasingly advocated as a strategic planning tool for enabling natural resource managers to make decisions in the face of uncertainty and rapid change. However, few examples exist that discuss the technique’s application in that field. We used a scenario planning approach to develop wildlife management goals and evaluated participants’ perceptions of scenario planning as a goal development tool. Study participants emphasized the context-specificity of management goals, and that “no-regrets” management strategies might not be constructive. We found that scenario planning can help resource managers identify needs that have been overlooked but may become important in the future. Scenarios can likely be used to develop management goals for other resources within the same system. Scenario planning provides a way to apply traditional ecological knowledge and local knowledge in a planning process in a respectful manner. Further process-oriented findings may be helpful to practitioners or researchers considering this approach: workshops should to be temporally close together for participants to retain context during the process, and ensuring continuity of workshop participants is important. Study participants judged scenario planning to be an effective tool to stimulate group-thought on longer time scales, facilitate adaptive learning, and enhance institutional linkages. Ultimately such outcomes can help groups comprising diverse participants to develop shared mental models of the future and identify pathways to achieve them.
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The flood is a well-known phenomenon in the Vietnamese Mekong River Delta (MRD). Although people have experienced the impact of floods for years, some adapt well, but others are vulnerable to floods. Resilience to floods is a useful concept to study the capacity of rural households to cope with, adapt to, and benefit from floods. Knowledge of the resilience of households to floods can help disaster risk managers to design policies for living with floods. Most researchers attempt to define the concept of resilience; very little research operationalizes it in the real context of "living with floods". We employ a subjective well-being approach to measure households' resilience to floods. Items that related to households' capacity to cope with, adapt to, and benefit from floods were developed using both a five-point Likert scale and dichotomous responses. A factor analysis using a standardized form of data was employed to identify underlying factors that explain different properties of households' resilience to floods. Three properties of households' resilience to floods were found: (1) households' confidence in securing food, income, health, and evacuation during floods and recovery after floods; (2) households' confidence in securing their homes not being affected by a large flood event such as the 2000 flood; (3) households' interests in learning and practicing new flood-based farming practices that are fully adapted to floods for improving household income during the flood season. The findings assist in designing adaptive measures to cope with future flooding in the MRD.
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Based on their approaches to stakeholder involvement, policy integration, and project promotion, this article identifies three schools of thought on strategic spatial planning: the performance school, the school of innovative action, and the school of transformative strategy formulation. In addition to providing a guide for a more informed design and analysis of spatial strategy practices, some conceptual flaws and empirical gaps are suggested for future studies to focus on.
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Densely populated deltas are so vulnerable to sea level rise and climate change that they cannot wait for global mitigation to become effective. The Netherlands therefore puts huge efforts in adaptation research and planning for the future, for example through the national research programme Knowledge for Climate and the Delta Programme for the Twenty-first century. Flood risk is one of the key issues addressed in both programmes. Adaptive management planning should rely on a sound ex-ante policy analysis which encompasses a future outlook, establishing whether a policy transition is required, an assessment of alternative flood risk management strategies, and their planning in anticipation without running the risk of regret of doing too little too late or too much too early. This endeavour, addressed as adaptive delta management, calls for new approaches, especially because of uncertainties about long-term future developments. For flood risk management, it also entails reconsideration of the underlying principles and of the application of portfolios of technical measures versus spatial planning and other policy instruments. To this end, we first developed a conceptualisation of flood risk which reconciles the different approaches of flood defence management practice and spatial planning practice in order to bridge the gap between these previously detached fields. Secondly, we looked abroad in order to be better able to reflect critically on a possible Dutch bias which could have resulted from many centuries of experience of successful adaptation to increasing flood risk, but which may no longer be sustainable into the future. In this paper, we explain the multiple conceptualisation of flood risk and argue that explicitly distinguishing exposure determinants as a new concept may help to bridge the gap between engineers and spatial planners, wherefore we show how their different conceptualisations influence the framing of the adaptation challenge. Also, we identify what the Netherlands may learn from neighbouring countries with a different framing of the future flood risk challenge.
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During dry years, such as 2003 and the early summer of 2011, the Netherlands faces water shortages, salt intrusion, navigation limitations and problems with availability of cooling water for power plants. Considering the changing climate, the frequency of these problems is expected to increase. A policy analysis using an integrated set of models has been launched by the government: the Dutch Delta Programme. The Delta model is the consistent set of models for analysing the decisions related to the long-term fresh water supply and flood risk management of the Netherlands. The country-wide SOBEK-1D hydrodynamic surface water model (LSM) was developed as part of the Delta model and forms the link between the Netherlands Hydrological Instrument (NHI) and impact assessment models for salinity, temperature, water quality, aquatic ecology and navigation. The Delta model provides a computational facility that automates the workflow of running sets of interconnected models for the national policy analysis on fresh water and various regional programmes within the Delta Programme. The Delta model, although being computationally demanding, enabled analyses of the present situation, future scenarios (2050 and 2100) and possible adaptation measures. Moreover, the Delta model has supported consistency between the national analyses and regional analyses in the Delta Programme.
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Strategic planning is "hot" in many places (cities, regions, etc.) today. And, the literature on strategic planning is expanding (Healey 2007; Balducci et at 2011; Oosterlynck et al. 2011). As in traditional planning, there are different traditions of strategic planning and there is no one way or best way to do strategic planning. But to what extent are the (often self-proclaimed) strategic plans really strategic? To what extent are they different from traditional planning? The purpose of this paper is to examine some of the critical features that make these plans really strategic. We look at the reasons to embark on a strategic planning process; context: political, institutional, challenges ahead, problems, etc.; issues, actors, legal status of the plan in the official planning system; momentum, time frame of the plan, plan horizon, and the link with projects. In this way we intend to question and enrich our own view, in theory and in practice, of strategic planning, which we have constructed over the last decade (Albrechts 2004, 2006; Motte 2006; Balducci 2008).
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The Ganges–Brahmaputra river delta, with 170 million people and a vast, low-lying coastal plain, is perceived to be at great risk of increased flooding and submergence from sea-level rise. However, human alteration of the landscape can create similar risks to sea-level rise. Here, we report that islands in southwest Bangladesh, enclosed by embankments in the 1960s, have lost 1.0–1.5m of elevation, whereas the neighbouring Sundarban mangrove forest has remained comparatively stable. We attribute this elevation loss to interruption of sedimentation inside the embankments, combined with accelerated compaction, removal of forest biomass, and a regionally increased tidal range. One major consequence of this elevation loss occurred in 2009 when the embankments of several large islands failed during Cyclone Aila, leaving large areas of land tidally inundated for up to two years until embankments were repaired. Despite sustained human suffering during this time, the newly reconnected landscape received tens of centimetres of tidally deposited sediment, equivalent to decades’ worth of normal sedimentation. Although many areas still lie well below mean high water and remain at risk of severe flooding, we conclude that elevation recovery may be possible through controlled embankment breaches.
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Sea-level rise and river engineering spell disaster, say Liviu Giosan and colleagues.
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In 2008, the Second State Delta Committee, commissioned by the Dutch Secretary of Public Works and Water Management, provided suggestions on how to defend the Netherlands against the expected impacts of climate change, such as sea level rise, longer periods of drought, more intense periods of rainfall and additional land subsidence over the coming two hundred years (Veerman, 2008). In this paper we show that even though no crisis actually occurred, the Second Delta Committee succeeded in three areas. First, the committee managed to create awareness and set the agenda for climate adaptation policy and the issue of safety in Dutch water management. Second, the committee succeeded to a large extent in getting the media, the public and politics to accept its frame and framing of the problems, causes, moral judgments and suggested remedies. Third, the committee has to a certain degree already succeeded in having its recommendations translated into policy programmes. It will be argued that framing strategies were key to the committee's success and that the committee used various framing strategies to convince the Cabinet, citizens and others of the urgency and necessity of implementing adaptation measures. The most important framing strategies identified were adherence to the climate adaptation narrative, using the story of our delta identity, creating a sense of urgency and collectiveness, and creating a crisis narrative.
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