On Thursday, 9th of February 2023, around 50 people interested in water management in Bangladesh came together to listen and discuss their shared ambition: contributing to the water safety and water security of Bangladesh. A delegation from Bangladesh joined as well. Information about the implementation of the Bangladesh Delta Plan was shared and promising opportunities for the Dutch and Bangladesh water sectors were presented by RVO and Invest International.
Increasing economic growth, while enhancing environmental and social sustainability: the aims of the Bangladesh Delta Plan (BDP) are ambitious and offer many opportunities for local and global stakeholders. Dr. Kawser, member of the General Economics Division, and Bangladesh Ambassador Riaz Hamidullah emphasised the many facets of this long-term plan and how it touches upon different key sectors. A strong connection between academic, private, and public actors, as well as creating ownership in local communities and investing in young entrepreneurs, are critical factors for the implementation of the BDP2100.
This 100-year plan will not be a linear process, rather a dynamic and iterative road with additional challenges and opportunities along the way. “Every challenge in Bangladesh is seen as a possible opportunity“, said Ambassador Hamidullah. He emphasised the strong relationship between the Netherlands and Bangladesh and how the need for knowledge, finance, and innovative technologies regarding water-related projects will create opportunities for impact investors and businesses in both countries.
Earlier this week, the renewed MoU on the collaboration between Bangladesh and the Netherlands in the field of adaptive delta management was signed for a period of 10 years. Folkert de Jager, 1st Secretary Water from the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands (EKN) in Bangladesh, elaborated on the opportunities this will bring to the Dutch water sector.
Bangladesh will become a middle-income country by 2026. This will increase import, export and business opportunities along with the demand for knowledge and technology. EKN recognises these opportunities for the Dutch water sector. The bilateral Official Development Assistance (ODA) programme of The Netherlands in Bangladesh will be phased out in 2030. During the remaining period, the EKN will focus on the consolidation of the work in the field of river management, water supply and sanitation and agriculture, as well as private sector development with the aim of creating more business opportunities.
In addition, the EKN will support the Bangladesh government in the implementation of the BDP2100, in particular on institutional support, knowledge and capacity building. This will be undertaken by different Dutch and Bangladeshi organisations. The EKN will encourage Bangladesh to use a grassroots approach with a focus on inclusiveness and capacity building at all levels. In order to attract financiers, there is a need for good feasibility studies and pilot projects. This will create opportunities for Dutch investors and businesses.
Considering the signed MoU and successful collaborations between the Netherlands and Bangladesh, Partners for Water (PvW) is looking forward to increasing Dutch participation in the BDP2100. PvW offers 2 budget lines for cooperation in Bangladesh: the delta-approach and the subsidy scheme.
The delta approach aims to contribute to transformative, sustainable and scalable solutions for water and climate adaptation challenges in a holistic and inclusive way in seven delta countries, including Bangladesh. The delta approach for Bangladesh includes for example the support of Rijkswaterstaat and youth engagement at the international delta conference in Bangladesh.
The subsidy scheme provided by the Partners for Water programme 2022 – 2027 is a great way to support the Dutch water sector in implementing innovative projects. Michiel Slotema from Partners for Water said: “The subsidy aims to support international projects that contribute to water-related solutions with innovative skills and knowledge. Organisations that want to conduct feasibility studies or pilot projects related to water safety and water security can apply.” So far, no PvW projects have started in Bangladesh. The next round will be from June 30th until September 8th, 2023. Visit the website of the Netherlands Enterprise Agency for more information about the subsidy scheme and its application dates.
Neeltje Kielen will be the new Delegated Representative for Water (DR) at the Netherlands Embassy in Bangladesh. She has 15 years of experience working with the Dutch Delta Plan, and brings valuable knowledge and expertise. She is looking forward to getting to know Bangladesh and is ready to deploy her skills for the implementation of the BDP2100.
Organisations and governments that are planning to develop or implement high-impact infrastructure projects can receive funding and/or financing from Invest International. Bassel Younan, Public Programmes regional manager for Asia, Latin America and Europe, elaborated on the various possibilities by highlighting that they offer government-to-government (G2G) grants, debt financing and blended solutions for projects specifically targeting the promotion of the sustainability development goals (SDG) 8 and 13. Additionally, they can provide support for project development.
Invest International can provide tailor-made financing for start-ups, SMEs and mid and large corporates with a link to the Dutch economy/expertise and high impact & sustainable ambitions.
The G2G grant is for the development and implementation of projects that are related to public infrastructure. Depending on the project and need, the funding can go up to 50%.
These grants are typically signed with the Ministry of Finance of the country where the project will be carried out. This will motivate the partnering government to take ownership of the project and its operation and maintenance.
• Easy to implement at an institutional level i.e., arrangement with the Ministry of Finance
• Provides green, soft, or nature-based solutions
• Not be commercially viable
Bassel emphasised that Invest International is always looking for new projects from governments and businesses with sustainable ambitions. Opportunities for NGOs exist in combination with a private partner. Get in contact with Bassel Younan to learn more about their funding and financing opportunities: firstname.lastname@example.org
New insights, opportunities and connections were made during the first Bangladesh Platform meeting of the Partners for Water programme 2022 – 2027. Additionally, the important collaboration between the two delta countries was celebrated. The Dutch Ambassador Anne van Leeuwen said: “I’m looking forward to another decade, if not a century, of close friendship and collaboration between the Netherlands and Bangladesh. We have so much in common, so much to inspire and the future is bright for both of our countries.”
This Bangladesh Platform meeting was the first Bangladesh meeting of the Partners for Water programme 2022 – 2027. Subscribe to our newsletter to make sure you do not miss out on the next event!