Biggest plan to harness Delta potentials

Delta Plan 2100 gets NEC go-ahead

Staff Correspondent

5 September, 2018 12:00 AM printer

The top economic policymaking body of the country has approved the Delta Plan 2100 eying sustainability of its development efforts and harnessing huge potentials of being a deltaic region.

The approval came at a meeting of the National Economic Council (NEC) held in the capital on Tuesday with council Chairperson Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in the chair.

The government says with the plan, Bangladesh seeks to harness the potentials of being a Delta country through water resource management, ensuring food and water security, and tackling adverse impacts of climate change.

The plan has set some long-term strategies, including flood and river erosion control, river management, water supply in rural and urban areas, waste management and urban flood control and water discharge.

Under the plan, the government expects to boost the country’s GDP growth by another 1.5 percentage point by 2030, Planning Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal said while briefing reporters after the meeting.

 “It’s a red letter day for the nation. It is the country’s largest plan. Such a big plan has not been formulated even in abroad. The plan focuses on how we want to see the country’s water management by 2100,” he commented.

“Water is our largest resource. We firmly believe that we won’t lag behind in agriculture if we can properly utilise our water resource. At the same time, we will be able to further consolidate our economy,” Kamal added.   

In reply to a question, Kamal claimed that the Netherlands, which has supported the General Economics Division in preparing the plan, has immensely benefitted from such a plan as it has been able to reclaim around 6,000 square kilometres of land.

The short-term measures of the plan will be implemented by 2030, while the mid-term ones by 2050 and the long-term by 2100.

The government will need $37 billion by 2031 for ensuring food and water security and fighting disasters, according to the plan.

Execution of the plan will require GDP’s 2.5 percent resources, including 0.5 percent from the private sector, to implement new projects and improve and maintain infrastructure. By 2030, $29.6 will be needed every year, according to the plan.

At least 80 projects under various ministries and divisions have been selected for implementation by 2030. Of them, 65 are infrastructure projects and 15 others for enhancing institutional capacity, efficiency and research.

Funds for the 80 projects would come from the government, Green Climate Fund (GCF), development partners, foreign direct investment and the private sector. The country is likely to get $2 billion assistance from GCF every year.

Currently, the government spends 0.8 percent of the GDP for Delta management projects and programmes.

The Delta Plan will give priority to six areas — coastal, Barind and drought-prone, haor and flash flood-prone, Chittagong Hill Tracts, riverine and urban areas.

To execute the Delta Plan 2100, a high-level Delta governance council led by the prime minister would be formed. The planning minister would be its vice-president.

The council would make decisions and give directives on implementation of the plan. Besides, a project selection committee, led by a GED member, will be constituted.

The secretaries of the ministries related to the Delta Plan would be committee members, who would select projects and programmes. The committee would also monitor implementation of the projects and programmes.

Bangladesh is the world’s fifth most vulnerable country to negative impacts of climate change. Every year, 50,000 families become landless because of it.

The climate change impact is likely to have serious impacts on the country’s agricultural production with the production of paddy and wheat decreasing by 17 percent and 61 percent respectively.

About 70 percent areas in 16 districts, where poverty rate is very high, are most vulnerable to natural disasters, according to the plan.