After the Bangladesh Flood Action Plan: Looking to the future
The main objectives of the Bangladesh Flood Action Plan (FAP), to protect the country from river floods, were not achieved, for several political, economic and institutional reasons. Demographic and economic changes in the following 20 years have increased Bangladesh's exposure to damaging floods. The country's newly elected government is committed to providing flood protection and surface-water irrigation as a means to achieve national foodgrain self-sufficiency. Therefore, the feasibility and affordability of comprehensive flood and water management systems need to be re-examined. The technical assessment must take into account the finding that severe floods in Bangladesh are caused mainly by heavy rainfall within Bangladesh as well as the increased flood and cyclone risks associated with global warming. An institutional assessment should examine practical means to overcome governance constraints and to increase local responsibility for managing flood protection and irrigation projects. If such projects cannot be provided, alternative measures must be sought to provide security for lives, livelihoods and economic production. These could include 'flood-proofing' urban and rural settlements, development of improved crop varieties, and more efficient use of irrigation and fertilizers. Measures to expand other sectors of the national economy would also be needed to generate the exports and incomes required to purchase increased food imports.