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Conference on urbanizing river deltas shows importance of uptake of international research

Posted on 27 January 2016

dws-nwo-udw-uptake-vietnam-participants-770pxResearchers from all over the world have gathered in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam for the Urbanising deltas of the world conference 2016.

The conference takes place from 25 – 27 and is organised by the Dutch national organisation for scientific research NWO.

Many researchers present at the conference, are involved in NWO's research programme Urbanising deltas of the world (UDW) on innovative approaches towards challenges in vulnerable low-lying and often densely populated river deltas. These challenges include water safety, food security, and sustainable economic development.

From the discussions so far, it has become clear that pro-active stakeholder involvement and targeted research uptake are challenges as well as opportunities to improve the quality of scientific research and the dissemination of results that should be pursued.

Effective utilization of results
NWO organises the conference to discuss the effective uptake of research-based evidence by decision makers to improve development practice and policy, and donor investments .

The main objective is to stimulate collaboration, academic exchange and research uptake plans between individual research projects, as well as engaging with wider (non-academic) stakeholder networks.

While each individual research project has different kinds of objectives as well as methodology, the common denominator is the concern about water related issues in river deltas worldwide.

dws-nwo-udw-uptake-vietnam-ahmed-iwmi-350px
  Farah Ahmed of the International Water Management Institute talked on stimulating a better uptake of research results.

Strategic delta planning
At the conference experts of the International Water Management Institute (IWMI) presented a number of concrete options available to address these topics, including developing research uptake strategies, and the use of innovative graphics and communication tools.

Worldwide a sustained development of urbanizing river deltas is at risk. Deltas are vulnerable to flooding and sea level rise, ecosystems are threatened by urban sprawl, industrialisation and intensified agriculture.

Due to these differing interests, it becomes difficult to agree on strategic choices for the spatial development of a delta. Strategic delta planning is an approach to come to a more sustainable development of a delta.

Important role for scientific findings
The conference yielded various results. “Besides stimulating interaction between individual projects, we learned, as only one example, that science and scientific findings play an important role in delta planning”, says UDW’s programme manager Kim de Vries at the conference.

De Vries mentions the presentation by Martijn van de Groep who works as an advisor on the development of the Mekong Delta Plan. "He explained to us how science and data hampered as well as encouraged formulating the Mekong Delta Plan. Now the plan moves towards implementation, there seems to be scope to feed into these developments with scientific results developed within the context of the UDW programme.”

The conference presented an occasion for nearly all UDW PhD researchers, coming from Bangladesh, Vietnam, Mozambique, Indonesia and the Netherlands, to meet and discuss about the setup of their individual research projects.

Kim de Vries: “We feel that bringing the UDW researchers together in this setting has also contributed to building a dynamic, international delta research community.”

Discussions were held between NWO and the International Development Research Centre (IDRC) about collaborating and exchanging results between each other’s delta-focused research projects.

This has been reported by Martijn van Staveren, PhD candidate Wageningen UR who attended the conference.


Read also on this website
NWO grants six projects in research programme Urbanising deltas of the world, 25 November 2015
NWO launched second call for research projects on urbanising deltas, 15 January 2015
NWO welcomes new proposals for research programme Urbanising Deltas of the World, 15 October 2014


More information
Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO)
programme Urbanising Deltas of the World (UDW)
The Hague, the Netherlands
+31 70 344 06 81
www.nwo.nl/en

 

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