Policy analysis and policy strategy

Water Governance and Climate

A transboundary river cooperation

Bangladeshi Ministry of Planning and Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Bangladesh is located in the low-lying delta of the Ganges-Brahmaputra-Meghna river basin. As such, water  management is complex and very much dependent on upstream developments. Our report on regional cooperation in the river basin provided the Bangladesh Delta Plan 2100 with an overview of the of current regional cooperation activities, as well as an indication of potential directions for the further development of a transboundary river cooperation.


Policy analysis

Our research consisted of surveys with diplomats, scientists and government officials, an institutional assessment and a policy analysis of official documents from Bangladesh, India and China. The emphasis was placed on power dynamics within the river basin, existing (informal) diplomatic relationships and potential mutual gains that could function as leverage for cooperation.

Strategy development

Based on the current situation, upcoming projects and proposed plans, four scenarios for future forms of regional water cooperation were developed. To improve Bangladesh’s negotiation position, a combination of five water diplomacy approaches was advised to apply during negotiations over transboundary rivers.


  • Provided an overview of the current strategies, policies, institutional situation and current status of transboundary river cooperation within the Ganges-Brahmaputra-Meghna river basin
  • Collected information on Indian and Chinese river development plans
  • Identified win-win situations to strengthen Bangladesh’s position during treaty negotiations
  • Advised on effective water diplomacy strategies within the context of Bangladesh
  • Informed the Bangladesh Delta Plan 2100 project how upstream river developments might impact Bangladesh’s water system in the coming decades.