Strategic Delta Planning

Strengthening strategic delta planning processes in Bangladesh, the Netherlands, Vietnam and beyond

25 May 2020 The booklet on Tidal River Management in the Lower Bengal Delta is now available here. The booklet gives a very rich picture, also historically, about the Bangladesh delta and the challenges it faces, and how Tidal River management (TRM) can help, next to the current discussion around TRM. The booklet will be interesting for many, including practitioners, policy makers, and scholars.

31 March 2020 The final version of the MOTA guidelines are online. The guidelines are useful for professionals and wider audiences to guide them in how to apply the MOTA tool to assess plan implementation feasibility. 

25 March 2020 The final version of the documentary by Dilip Datta and his team on Tidal River Management is online. You can watch the documentary on the website under the documentary tab, or find it here

21 Jan 2020 Shahnoor Hasan, PhD fellow at IHE Delft, shares her experience and talk at the seminar on the Dutch Approach in international delta, organised by the Netherlands Enterprise Agency (RVO). Shahnoor offers an original and critical perspective by flipping the usual delta representations and focusing on the practices of people who make the Dutch Appraoch travelling around the world. You can find the full blog post here.

Illustration by Joost Fluitsma (photo courtsey: RVO) 

17 Dec 2019 As of today Kimberly Wakkary is the new webmaster! Contact her ( if you have content to be shared on the website.

11 Dec 2019 The documentary on Tidal River Management by Dilip Datta is online! Currently it is the rought cut, with minor changes to be made in the coming weeks. Take a sneak preview and enjoy the wonderful footage, drawings and music that together explain the beauty and complexities of tidal river management for people and river systems in southwestern Bangladesh. 


6 Dec 2019 The Highlights flyer of our project is ready! The flyer summarises the key findings across:  the research topics, the planning tool - capacity development activities, recommendations for practice. You can find the flyer here


27-31 Oct 2019 Shahnoor Hasan, PhD Fellow at IHE Delft shared her key research findings at the session organized by the Netherlands Water Partnership at the Dhaka Water Knowledge Days 2019. Shahnoor emphasized to regard the development of Bangladesh Delta Plan 2100 as a co-learning process where new knowledge on planning is developed by a group of Dutch and Bangladeshi experts. Drawing on the example of the Bangladesh Delta Plan, she carried out an interactive discussion with the audience on how to recognize and build on the knowledge developed in bilateral water management projects.

30 Sept 2019 Interested in methods to develop strategies for deltas and river management that move away from busines-as-usual solutions? Learn about the 'Strategy Lab', a Lab wherein policy-makers and planning practitioners experiment and co-design alternative strategies for delta and river areas. Read more about the Lab in this flyer.


17 Sept 2019 We are delighted to announce the publication of the Special Issue “Strategic Delta Planning as a Mind Changer in Delta Planning” in the Journal of Environmental Planning and Management. The Special Issue is a major academic effort to advance theoretical and empirical understandings of this ambitious strategic planning approach. It contains fascinating accounts of strategic delta planning efforts in parts of Bangaldesh, California, Indonesia, the  Netherlands and Vietnam. The Synthesis article offers concluding insights on successes and limitations for delta planning, as well as recommendations for planning professionals. The Issue was guest-edited by Chris Seijger (IHE Delft), Gerardo van Halsema (Wageningen University), and Dorien Korbee (TU Delft).  

09 Sept 2019 Sjoerd Kemink successfully defended his master thesis on agricultural land use dynamics and farmer's decisions in Ben Tre province, Vietnam. One key finding was that farmers with a high technical and financial ability are keen to conserve existing practices that go against changing hydrological regimes. Whereas farmers with lower abilities are more motivated to adjust to changing salinity and water availability conditions. His thesis is included in our Online Repository, together with other research reports on strategic delta planning aspects in Bangladesh, Vietnam, Japan, and the Netherlands.   

01 Sept 2019 The MOTA planning toolkit will be extended to Bangladesh, as part of a new NWO UDW research project. MOTA refers to the motivations, abilities and threats of actors towards proposed strategies. Whereas the MOTA concept was initiatied and applied in Vietnam by WACC, it will now be extended to support implementation of the Bangladesh Delta Plan. Key collaborators are CEGIS, PRI, WACC and IHE Delft. 

03 July 2019 "I see the daily struggles (...) climate change is real" PhD candidate Hoang features in the trailer for Me and Mekong. A web documentary that portrays five citizens who work towards a better future for Vietnam’s Mekong delta. The producers ask for (small) donations to complete the documentary, and give communities a voice in tackling climate change. 

7-12 Apr 2019 Our researchers presented their work in Vienna at the European Geosciences Union 2019. Juan Guerra presented the MOTA manual. Chris Seijger synthesised the research findings of our 5 year research project. Both presentations were well-received and sparked many discussions on how to apply MOTA and how to do strategic delta planning.

Feb Mar 2019 Our PhD candidates Vo Thi Minh Hoang and Shahnoor Hasan have their first scientific article "Accepted for Publication". A big accomplishment, so congrats to them! Both their articles will be published in the Journal of Environmental Planning and Management, in a special issue on Strategic Delta Planning. Here is an overview of articles already accepted in the special issue.

15 Jan 2019 We have opened an Online Repository where we store our project outputs for research, societal impact and capacity building. You find it in the main menu. 

12 - 14 Nov 2018 We held a workshop to summarise and synthesise our research findings. Here are links to a short news item, full report and presentations.

23 Oct 2018 Dorien Korbee and Vo Thi Minh Hoang presented their research in the International Conference Water Science for Impact, hosted by Wageningen University. Dorien presented findings of MOTA research conducted in Ben Tre province. Hoang presented her work on lotus-based farming in Dong Thap. Both presentations were well received and sparked discussion with the audience. 

01 Oct 2018 Announcement for Research Synthesis workshop "How influential are strategic delta plans in innovating land and water development, and improving local livelihoods?" You can check the program here, and contact us when you are interested to participate! Date: 12-14 November, IHE Delft

10 Sept 2018 Prof. Dilip Datta (Khulna University) completed with his team a first set of research activities on tidal river management. Five focus group discussions at community level were held in beel Pahkima, beel Bhaina, beel Khukshia, beel Kapalia, and Batiagharta area. Analyses of these focus group discussions were synthesised and disseminated in Dhaka (with partner CEGIS) and Khulna. A scientific article is currently in review. Dilip will further work on a documentary and practical booklet, as villagers and community leaders expressed a clear need for practical, sharable knowledge on tidal river management.  

23 July 2018 Jaap Evers succesfully coordinated the second training workshop on participatory planning tools for strategic delta planning and management with our project partners. The workshop focused on the south-west delta of Bangladesh and involved 25  young professionals. The workshop was held in collaboration with Khulna University and NICHE Delta Cap. Read the report here.  

03 July 2018 PhD candidate Shahnoor Hasan wrote a compelling post on the transfer of Dutch delta planning expertise to Bangladesh. Read her blog here.

15 Jun 2018 Announcement for tidal river management workshop, dissemination of our research results "Tidal river management as a strategic innovation". 4 July in Dhaka, CEGIS office - 7 July in Khulna, CSS AVA Centre. 

02 Jun 2018 After lots of data collection and analysis, Hoang presents her results on innovations in strategic delta planning. Read her update here.

22 May 2018 We held a MOTA training workshop with Vietnamese policy and planning experts. MOTA is a tool that gains insight in implementation feasibility of "livelihood transformation options". The workshop (see report) was very fruitful as participants showed great interest in further MOTA application and development. 

01 May 2018 Our project has an internal newsletter, we decided to share it for those who like to know more about all exciting things happening in our project. Check it for updates on past and proposed workshops, Bosch+Slabbers use of research results, and struggles of writing a paper. 

25 Jan 2018 We still have two opportunities for master student research on strategic delta planning. Check the descriptions in the 04 Dec post.

04 Dec 2017 We seek two master students! One to study dynamics in actor coalitions during strategic delta planning. And one to assess the role of participatory planning tools. Descriptions  (incl. contact details) for both research opportunities are here

Nov Dec 2017 Vo Thi Minh Hoang (Wageningen University) has been out in the field in Dong Thap province,  interviewing farmers and farmer unions on local innovations such as farming giant freshwater prawns, lotus flowers, rice-shrimp systems.  

















October 2017 Dorien Korbee (TU Delft) and Quan Nguyen (WACC) conducted fieldwork on the implementation feasibility of the Mekong Delta Plan in Ben Tre province Vietnam. During the visit, they learned about planning procedures of the local government officials and their motivations and abilities to change towards practices in line with the Mekong Delta Plan.  









October 2017 Chris Seijger (IHE Delft) went to Dhaka and Khulna to collect data on tidal river management as a strategic innovation for the southwest of Bangladesh. Fida Khan and Riasat Amin (CEGIS) were of great help in arranging interviews. Together with Prof. Dilip Datta and research assistants (Khulna University) a field visit and Focus Group Discussion was held with people from Beel Pakimara. 











17 May 2017 IHE Delft website features our project with an 'Impact Story'. Read it here!

12 April 2017 We initiated a call for abstracts for a special issue on Strategic Delta Planning in the Journal of Environmental Planning and Management.  Here you can find more info. In this special issue we aim to explore to what extent strategic delta planning can act as a mind changer in delta planning and management.  

28 Feb - 3 March 2017 Fida Khan and CEGIS colleagues organised a succesful project meeting in Dhaka and Khulna. Not only did we talked to (high/level) experts about the Bangladesh Delta Plan, we also visited the coastal polder area around Khulna and the Sundarban mangroves. Project-wise we set priorities and actions for the second half of our project. It were inspiring and exciting days for all of us!

November: From 21 - 23 November the mid-term review of NWO UDW took place. We received very positive feedback of the reviewers ranging from 'the project is truly transdisciplinary and a great deal of efforts has been put into maintaining a good degree of joint working' to 'innovative ways of genuinely engaging with stakeholders and being highly reflexive on the gasp and tensions between top-down planning approaches and tools and bottom-up, locally specific demands'. In addition the mid-term review helped us to re-think our notions of 'learning' and how this occurs for various actors involved in strategic delta planning processes.  

Our project was represented by Andrew Wyatt (IUCN), Dorien Korbee (TU Delft), Wim Douven and Chris Seijger (IHE Delft). Due to a request to accompany the Prime Minister of Bangladesh to the Budapest Water Summit, Fida Kahn from CEGIS could unfortunately not join us in the mid-term review.  

On 24 November Wim Douven gave a presentation in a TU Delft Colloquium on Integral and Adative Planning of Deltas. The presentation is available here

1 November 2016: Our second project paper has been published in the journal of Environmental Planning and Management! The paper explains our interpretation of strategic delta planning, and tests the Hourglass framework, a framework to analyse planning and implementation of strategic delta plans.

The paper was co-authored by 15 consortium members of 9 different organisations. The paper is available both on the Journal's website and on ResearchGateYou can obtain a personal copy by contacting us or one of the authors. 


October - November 2016: Shahnoor Hasan carried out field work on the use of participatory scenario development in the Mekong Delta Plan. She interviewed different key experts, academics and government officials, and representatives of different international development agencies in Hanoi and the Mekong delta.

On 30 November Shahnoor presented in Dhaka in the 'Let's Talk Water Seminar Series'. She talked about her preliminary research findings of scenario development in the Mekong Delta Plan. The seminar series is collaboratively organized in Dhaka, Bangladesh by Water Resources Planning Organization (WARPO), Nuffic 155 project on Scenario Development of IWRM in Bangladesh, and Delta Alliance Bangladesh Wing.    

The photo shows Shahnoor after an interview with Prof. Vo Tong Xuan, Rector Emeritus of An Giang University.  


October 2016: From 17 to 21 October the training workshop of Participatory Planning Tools for Strategic Delta Planning & Management took place.  Participants were introduced to various tools offered by our consortium partners, namely: Participatory Scenario Development, Design Charettes, Denvis, and MOTA. These tools were used to develop strategies for Tra Vinh province in the Mekong Delta. In total 45 people from 6 countries participated in the workshop. The workshop was prepared and facilitated by staff from IHE Delft, WACC, Bosch+Slabbers, PBL and Deltares. A copy of the Workshop Report is available here.

The photo below shows workshop facilitators Jaap Evers and Ho Long Phi with one of the participants during the Closing Ceremony.

October 2016: Over the past six months, Vo Thi Minh Hoang supervised three BSc students in their thesis research on innovative strategies in the Mekong Delta. The photos show Hoang interviewing a farmer on his shrimp-mangrove farming system, and a visit with a student to such a system.

July 2016: PhD candidates Vo Thi Minh Hoang and Shahnoor Hasan have submitted their PhD proposals. Congratulations for this important milestone! 

June 2016: Project leader Wim Douven explains our project in a Youtube clip. The clip was prepared with support of NWO UDW and recorded during the Urbanising Deltas conference in Ho Chi Minh City. Click on the picture to start the movie

May 2016: Vo Thi Minh Hoang and Chris Seijger conducted 14 interviews on planning and implementation of the Mekong Delta plan. Interviews took place in Tra Vinh, Can Tho and Hanoi. First findings indicate that the Mekong Delta Plan may count on broad support (scientists, development partners, ministries), and that implementation into the planning system is already happening to some extent.   

1 May 2016: Dorien Korbee joins the project team as postdoctoral researcher. Her research project focuses on formation and change of actor coalitions in strategic delta planning. Here you can find out more about Dorien. 

January 2016: During two field trips project members went deep into the delta of Bangladesh and Vietnam. In Bangladesh we traveled by car and boat to the coastal polders in the southwest part of Bangladesh. In the Mekong delta we visited the South Mang Thit irrigation system. We saw how this once fresh water system (fruit trees, rice) is transferring into a saline/brackish system dominated by shrimp farming. Click for Bangladesh delta pictures here and Mekong delta pictures here.  

January 2016: We participated in the annual NWO UDW Conference in Ho Chi Minh City. We exchanged knowledge with researchers from other projects, strengthened our research uptake skills through movies (unfortunately no clippings available yet!), and met with relevant (uptake) stakeholders such as WWF, Bangladesh and Mekong delta plan.

10 November 2015: Leon Hermans (TU Delft) wrote an interesting blog on how to evaluate decision-making under deep uncertainty. He connects long-term decision-making and adaptation pathways to implementation maturity for the first, upcoming planning cycle. Here you can read the blog. 

02 November 2015: Ho Long Phi (WACC) and his MOTA methodology have found their way into the scientific community! Delta planners have indicated already their interest as the paper provides a solid framework to reflect on plan implemenation difficulties. You can access the paper through the journal's website here. You can obtain a personal copy by contacting us or one of the authors.  

28 September 2015: Project partner Leo Pols from PBL organised together with IHE Delft a Denvis day to learn more about this participatory planning tool. Here you can read the report and look at some pictures here

8 June 2015: IUCN Vietnam wrote a compelling webstory on strategic delta planning lessons from the Netherlands for the Mekong delta. You can read it here.

18-20 May 2015: We hold a very fruitful Inception workshop with the project consortium. Here you can find the report of the meeting as well as presentations and research posters. 

March 2015: The resesarch team is complete! We hired three PhD candidates and a postdoctoral researcher for 2015-2018. Find out who they are what they will research here