Local stakeholders drive solutions: workshop tackles water management challenges in Bangladesh

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Khulna, Bangladesh (April 24, 2024) –To address the complexities surrounding water management in the region, the Department of Agriculture Extension, Batiaghata, in collaboration with the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) and United International University (UIU), organized a workshop titled “Workshop on Water Management Challenges in Polder 34/2P”.

Under the CGIAR Initiative Asian Mega-Deltas (AMD), the workshop was instrumental in disseminating initial findings from an ongoing study dedicated to understanding and mitigating water management challenges in Polder 34/2P. Dr. Ahmad Salahuddin, Senior Associate Scientist at IRRI, presented the findings from the ongoing research on water management challenges in two polders of coastal Bangladesh, while the open forum was facilitated by Prof. Dr. Hamidul Huq from the Institute of Development Studies and Sustainability (IDSS) of the UIU. Through an exchange of insights and expertise, participants engaged in robust discussions to craft strategies enhancing agricultural productivity and elevating livelihoods within the area.

The workshop convened a diverse group of stakeholders, including local representatives, government officials, and experts. Among the attendees were 35 individuals from various sectors, including union councils, the Bangladesh Water Development Board (BWDB), water management organizations, and NGOs such as BRAC, ASA, and Palli Sanchay Bank.

Chief guest of the event was Mr Sharif Asif Rahman, Upazila Nirbahi Officer (UNO) and chaired by Mr Md. Abu Bokor Siddique, Upazila Agriculture Officer (UAO). Mr. Rahman emphasized the need for the presence of a BWDB office at the Upazila so that they can be reached easily by the Upazila administration and the beneficiaries of the polders. On the other hand, Mr. Siddique stressed the importance of collaborative efforts saying that “the Agricultural Office cannot solve water-related problems because the BWDB has all the control, even though everyone comes to the Agricultural Office for solutions, BWDB needs to play an active role in the upazila level to solve any water-related issues.”

Another representative from WMG, Kamrul Islam said, “we need to have more coordination between organizations as well as government bodies.“ All the participants highlighted the need for continued cooperation and concerted efforts among stakeholders to overcome obstacles hindering water management in Polder 34/2P.

The event provided a platform for lively discussions, during which participants exchanged ideas and explored potential solutions. The workshop underscored the power of local collaboration in addressing complex challenges, marking a significant step forward in efforts to enhance water management practices and ensure sustainable agricultural development in the region and beyond. Furthermore, to continue these efforts, additional workshops will be held at the district level with the District Commissioner of Khulna and other relevant officials. The recommendations gathered from this workshop will be further presented and deliberated upon.

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