20 Way forward

From Blue Gold Program Wiki

The story of Participatory Water Management in BGP – but also in Bangladesh as a whole – is one of two steps forward and one step back. Critics could easily argue that the experiment, initiated by the 1999 National Water Policy, failed; while champions for community empowerment could and would quote a long list of success stories. Truth is that there is no alternative to a greater public participation in water management decisions ànd that, despite promising experiences, Bangladesh has not established a viable modus operandi for participatory water management as yet. With ample experience gained and being gained through several projects, it is time for the implementing agencies and the sector stakeholders to go back to the drawing board.

Briefing Materials
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The following materials illustrate concepts, interventions, outcomes and lessons learnt, including through stories from community members.
Slide decks
Thematic brochures

The 1999 NWPo and the policy and regulatory framework for participatory water management that it helped establish, were a bold step forward towards enhanced public participation in water management. The experiences of BGP – and those gained in other similar projects – now show that it is high time to assess the progress made and to move forwards for taking a next stride.

For BGP, the need for modifications and amplifications in the enabling environment were clear as early as 2016. When articulating the project’s Theory of Change[1] and when devising its exit strategy[2]; there was a clear and explicit realisation that the sustainability of the project outcomes critically depended on externalities with respect to the performance of WMOs. The question was, however, how the project – being by nature a focusses and clearly contained activity – could contribute to a review of something as wide as the enabling environment.

From 2019 onwards, BGP started pursuing a review of the enabling framework for participatory water management. Points of departure were (i) the modest role that a regional project has in something that is in essence a national debate; and (ii) the inherent national character of such a review, in which there should be little to no role for international consultancy. The way forward comprised the following:

  • BGP could use its accumulated experience, network and resources to initiate discussions around participatory water management with stakeholders, policy makers and high-level stakeholder representatives. The resources for organising its completion conference, are therefore dedicated to initiating debate, rather than to the mere reporting of achievements.
  • The policy review is organised under the umbrella of the Bangladesh’s Delta Plan and as such undertaken under the aegis of the General Economics Department of the Planning Commission, with the organisation vested in its ‘Support to the Implementation of the Bangladesh Delta Plan’ (SIBDP) project, and with Blue Gold supporting those preparations.
  • Involvement of reputed senior national experts, with support teams, to prepare policy notes on three aspects of PWM: its institutional setting, its financing and its overall approach. These senior experts are to act as pathway leaders for the sector and – although engaged through the TA team of BGP – have a free hand as to what expert advice they would provide.

By mid-2020 the pathway leaders have drafted their policy notes, which will undergo a series of review events with stakeholder representatives ahead of the National PWM Conference, held in November 2021.

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Theory of Change – version 2, Working Paper 5 (PDF). Euroconsult Mott MacDonald & Associates. May 2016.
  2. Sustainability from The Start - Exit Strategy (draft final), Working Paper 2A (PDF). Euroconsult Mott MacDonald & Associates. February 2016.

See also[edit | edit source]

Previous chapter:
Chapter 19: Operationalisation of the PWM concept
Blue Gold Lessons Learnt Wiki
Section D: BGP Interventions: Participatory Water Management
Next chapter:
Chapter 21: The Evolving Approach to the Commercialization of Agriculture

Section D: BGP Interventions: Participatory Water Management
Chapter 14: Consultation and participation in planning Chapter 15: WMO capacity building Chapter 16: Women’s participation in water management
  1. Polder Development Plan
  2. WMG Action Plans
  1. From individual to group capacity
  2. From transferring knowledge to promoting behaviour change
  3. From dependence to self-reliance
  4. From autonomous WMGs to networked organisations
  1. Background
  2. Blue Gold approach
  3. Why is water management important for women?
  4. Why are women important for water management?
  5. Results
  6. Enabling factors and challenges
Chapter 17: In-polder water management Chapter 18: The Water Management Partnership Chapter 19: Operationalisation of the PWM concept
  1. Context
  2. Interventions: a mix to address all scales
  3. In-Polder Water Management as a step forward
  1. Trend 1: ‘Water management through business development’ or ‘business development through water management’
  2. Trend 2: Supporting functional water management organisations
  3. Trend 3: From O&M to Local Economic Development; from task to mandate
  4. Trend 4: Unit of organisation: from pre-defined to pragmatic
  5. Sustainability – a discussion
Chapter 20: Way Forward
Blue Gold Wiki
Executive summary: A Call for Action
Section A: Background and context Section B: Development Outcomes Section C: Water Infrastructure


Summary and Introduction


Section D: BGP Interventions: Participatory Water Management Section E: Agricultural Development Section F: Responsible Development: Inclusion and Sustainability




Section G: Project Management Section H: Innovation Fund Files and others