Laying the foundation to develop a Delta Knowledge Hub for Asia

A session on Delta Knowledge Hub: Innovative Platform for South-South Knowledge Exchange was held on 30 October from 14:30-16:00 hrs at La Vita Auditorium at the Dhaka Water Knowledge Days held from 27 to 31 October 2019 in Dhaka, Bangladesh.

The Dhaka Water Knowledge Days 2019 (DWKD 2019) is a joint venture of two projects, Water Management Knowledge and Innovation Programme and Joint Cooperation Programme for Bangladesh. The five days programme was organised for sharing knowledge and to build relations between public, private, educational and research institutions towards implementation of Bangladesh Delta Plan 2100 (BDP 2100).

GWP South Asia and Cap-Net partnered with the Institute of Water Modelling (IWM), Center for Environmental and Geographic Information Services (CEGIS), Deltares Bangladesh and Bangladesh Centre for Advanced Studies (BCAS) have organised  a session to discuss the concept of Delta Knowledge Hub (DKH) with the key sector players of the country. More than 23 national and international experts, academia, researches, youth, universities, officials representing the public and privates sectors were participated the session.

The session consisted of an introduction and a panel discussion facilitated by Dr Khondaker Azharul Haq the Regional Chair of GWP South Asia. The presentations at the introduction  were on “The LDAI- Background and Key Learnings” and “The Delta Knowledge Hub (DKH)” presented by Lal Induruwage and Indika Gunawardana respectively. The four panelists were directed with two questions, 

1.            Bangladesh as a country having an enormous experience on delta management, inclusively but not limited to BDP2100 development process, as well as institutions that carry adequate knowledge on topics related to deltas, how do you relate the establishment of a Delta Knowledge Hub at the regional level to existing knowledge? How these leading institutions represented by you would endorse commitment to support the initiative?

2.            In your perspective, what are the synergies and complements of the proposed Delta Knowledge Hub when compared to the available tools and resources?

The four panelists were,

  • Dr Motaleb Hossain Sarker, Director, Water Resources Management Division, CEGIS, Bangladesh
  • Prof Monowar Hossain, Executive Director, IWM, Bangladesh
  • Dr William Oliemans, Coordinator Bangladesh-Deltares and Regional Manager of Deltares, The Netherlands
  • Dr Md Golam Rabbani, Bangladesh Centre for Advance Studies

The panelists gave their  reflections on the proposed Delta Knowledge Hub aligned to the questions.

Dr Sarker said, since the delta spear is an under explored research field and it has encountered from lack of data, improved research and transform research into action through a knowledge hub is an excellent idea to support action at the ground level. After explaining CEGIS’s involvement on projects related to delta management, he confirmed their contribution to the suggested knowledge platform. Dr Rabbani explained how Cap-Net Bangladesh have developed knowledge locally over the years and efforts they made to bridge the gap between science and practice in Bangladesh. He talked about the studies carried out on climate change, on saline water, gender and IWRM and training modules developed for Bangladesh together with the initiatives undertaken parallel to Bangladesh Delta Plan 2100. Also  the potential to lead the knowledge platform. Prof Hossain spoke about the existing knowledge platforms such as K2K knowledge network established by IWM, assisted by the Dutch Government and partners in Bangladesh and Deltacap established in collaboration with IHE Delft. Dr Oliemans highlighted that knowledge hub  important to ensure the  sustainability of programmes. “Bangladesh having a large collection of tools and data on delta management - although they are dispersed under projects and organisations, the country has so much to contribute to the suggested knowledge hub” he said.

In concluding the session, it was decided that communities of all spheres, from policy to practitioner level and across the thematic and geographic boundaries should have the access to the platform. GWP, Cap-Net and the network are responsible for the reach out to the actors, and a designated group will be appointed from the network of respective countries to feed knowledge to the hub. Still it is required to ensure sustainability of the knowledge hub, the management approach, ownership and to ensure financing.

The proposed Delta Knowledge Hub:

The Delta Knowledge Hub (DKH) is a one of the key output of the Phase II of Learning Delta Asia Initiative Programme (LDAI Phase II), will serve as a central knowledge platform to store and display deltaic areas’ specific issues, solutions, projects, success stories, case studies, best practices, policy dialogs, research papers and news related to management of Deltas. The proposed model encompasses nine countries, builds on the learning route approach used in the scoping phase of the project and combines with few other methods that are globally proven as successful in several knowledge and capacity development programmes.