Delft, The Netherlands, 21 Feb 2022

Podcast celebrates 50 years of Bangladeshi-Dutch water friendship

In 2022, Bangladesh and The Netherlands celebrate 50 years of friendship and cooperation on water. The two deltaic countries cooperate on a wide variety of water challenges, including flood management and climate change adaptation.

This cooperation, and the people who built it, are featured in The Raising Water podcast series, created as part of several activities to celebrate the anniversary. In the podcast, Bangladeshi and Dutch water experts share stories that shed light on how the bilateral relationship developed and how it continues, now and in the future.

Shahnoor Hasan, an IHE Delft alumna from Bangladesh, is the co-host of the podcast. Her PhD dissertation, defended in 2021, focused on topics including the cooperation between the Netherlands and Bangladesh around the development of the Bangladesh Delta Plan 2100, a comprehensive development plan adopted in 2018 by the government of Bangladesh.

‘’For the next years, we should focus more on learning from the everyday reality and aspirations of those who are potentially or actually most affected by the effects of climate change and water; the future is totally uncertain because of climate change,’’ she says in the podcast’s prologue episode.

Episodes pair Dutch and Bangladeshi water experts. In the prologue episode, Bangladeshi Environmentalist Expert Ainun Nishat calls for further action for climate change adaptation, while  Henk Ovink, Dutch Special Envoy for International Water Management, notes that work on water never stops, and that Bangladesh’s delta serves as “a real inspiration for the Dutch.”

Jaap Evers, IHE Delft Senior Lecturer in Water and Environmental Policy and one of the podcast’s producers, says the series aims to capture the often-overlooked human stories that enabled the bilateral relationship to flourish for five decades.

“People play a key role in creating and maintaining a friendship of this kind. But reports and articles focus on projects, plans, programmes and deliverables – these don’t give us a full story of what makes a friendship,” he says. “Through the podcast, we pay attention to the people, through their stories and experiences, who have engaged and maintained this relation, and the waters that connect them.”  

The Dutch-Bangladeshi water relationship played a key role in IHE Delft history: The Institute’s work started in 1957, with a postgraduate diploma course for professionals held following a request from the ambassador of what is now Bangladesh.  Since then, more than 600 Bangladeshis have studied at IHE Delft.

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