Integrated environment and development modelling to benefit the poorest in coastal Bangladesh

Authors Directorate, E.S.P.A.
Year of Publication 2018
Type of Publication Impact Story


The livelihoods of the many tens of millions of poor people in Bangladesh’s delta region are increasingly precarious as the natural resources upon which they depend are threatened. Scientists from the ESPA programme and senior officials in the Bangladesh government have collaborated to ensure that development in this challenging area works for the economy, the environment and people. To support more equitable delta development, an ESPA project worked with stakeholders to co-produce ΔDIEM, a cutting-edge computer model that can indicate the effects of development policies and activities on future livelihood and poverty scenarios. For instance, initial trials of the ΔDIEM model show that new and enhanced polders (the traditional means to keep back annual river flooding and storm surges) have the potential to improve life for the poorest residents in the study area, if properly maintained. This pilot has also highlighted the importance of considering ecosystem services across administrative boundaries. It shows how development interventions could affect neighbouring districts. The foundations have now been laid for further application of ΔDIEM in the current study area, across Bangladesh, and also in delta regions around the world. Effective stakeholder engagement and partnership is a fundamental component of this project, with the uptake of ΔDIEM being determined by its value to relevant decision-making and policy processes in Bangladesh.