by Mashrekur Rahman
The venue for this year’s Gobeshona Annual Conference for Research on Climate Change in Bangladesh was the Independent University of Bangladesh (IUB). The fourth day of the conference was centered on science-policy dialogues. A special session on the fourth day at the conference was hosted by DECCMA (DEltas, vulnerability & Climate Change: Migration & Adaptation) Project, IWFM (Institute of Water and Flood Management), BUET (Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology).
Professor Dr. Munsur Rahman presented his keynote presentation titled “Integrated Assessment in Deltas”, focusing on the Ecosystem Services for Poverty Alleviation (ESPA) Deltas and DECCMA projects – two major international collaborative research projects which have attempted to link science and policy by providing policy makers with the scientific data, tools and expertise. Dr. Munsur briefly laid out the various aims, components and outputs of the two projects and discussed how the projects have been instrumental in the formulation of the Bangladesh Delta Plan 2100 (BDP 2100).
Thereafter, a panel discussion was held; the panelists were Mr. Saiful Alam – ex- Technical Director of WARPO, Malik Fida A Khan – Deputy Executive Director, Operation of CEGIS (Center for Environmental and Geographic Information Services), Dr.
Md. Taibur Rahman – Project Manager, UNDP, Dr. Sultan Ahmed – Additional Secretary, Department of Environment (DoE). The panel session was chaired by Professor Dr. Shamsul Alam–Member (Senior Secretary), General Economics Division (GED), Bangladesh Planning Commission, Government of Bangladesh.
Mr. Saiful Alam discussed Water Resources Planning Organization (WARPO)’s past involvement and contributions in the two before mentioned projects and the technical know-how provided for BDP 2100. He also briefly discussed the modelling aspects of WARPO and the two projects. Mr. Malik Fida A Khan appreciated the value of the projects in integrating science and policy in Bangladesh and then emphasized on the importance of mainstreaming of tools such as the Delta Dynamic Integrated Emulator Model to ensure maximum science-policy linkage. Professor Shamsul Alam particularly pointed out glaring data gaps on climate change issues in Bangladesh and mentioned that the ESPA Deltas and the DECCMA projects have contributed a lot in somewhat abridging those gaps. Dr. Taibur discussed about the nexus between the scientific community and policy makers. He accentuated the importance of not adopting a consultant based approach for long term delta planning and encouraged the policy makers, politicians and leaders to be more accepting of a science-backed approach in planning, ensuring sustainable development. Dr. Sultan highlighted on how coastal vulnerabilities of Bangladesh have been exacerbated by degrading ecosystem services. He then discussed several approaches to bridging gaps between the scientific community and policy makers.
After speeches from the panelists, the floor was opened to the audience for a lively discussion session. At the end of discussions, Professor Dr. Munsur thanked everyone and subsequently Professor Shamsul Alam drew an official end to the session.