“Lessons for flood risk management from resilience framing in the Netherlands and Bangladesh” was an innovative workweek workshop conducted in the Netherlands under a WOTRO funded project from February 10-18, 2018. Nine young professionals from Bangladesh (junior staff of NGOs and universities) and nine advanced BSc and MSc students from the Netherlands participated in this creative and highly interactive project. From the DeltaCap project member (BCAS & WUR-POD, IWM) 3 young professionals also participate in the workshop. The aim of the group work is to find differences and similarities in resilience in the domain of water management in The Netherlands (NL) and Bangladesh (BD), and to formulate recommendations from this comparison on how we can continue to live in these locations in the longer term (100-500 years).

The ‘Hydro-Social Delta’ project is one of NWO’s projects from the ‘Urbanizing Deltas of the World’ program. They address the question of how municipalities and water boards can ‘land’ the concept of ‘resilience’ of a city – for example, after a flood – in reality. NWO has opted for the exchange project for Dordrecht because Dordrecht is leading the way in innovative thinking and doing in the field of water management. The second question is: can we apply the lessons from one situation to a situation elsewhere in the world? The aim of the project is also to teach students to ask critical questions, so that they dare to question assumptions and have the flexibility to possibly revise their own starting points. Participants were split into 3 groups with mixed disciplinary backgrounds and mixed nationalities. Each group work through the given questions on the Definition of flood resilience and assessment framework independently, in an iterative way. The assessment framework consists of the technical FRM system, physical system, social system (society, political, economic and institutional). Based on the field trip observation (excursion tour of Dordrecht & surrounding area on FRM approaches, Biesbosch museum Werkendam polder Noordwaard, Delta works), discussion with community people of Dordtrect city and sharing flood experience of Dhaka city, Bangladesh each group prepared presentation of their own work for the closure event on Friday 16 February PM.

Bangladesh Ambassador was present during the final presentation and was pleased to see deeper thinking and creative search for common grounds between our two countries and innovative solutions for areas where differences are hard to bridge. Deputy Mayor of Dordrecht and other academics from Wageningen UR, IHE Delft and others were present as panellists.

Professor Anna Wesselink was the moderator of the event and supervisor of this innovative project.