Contrasting development trajectories for coastal Bangladesh to the end of century

Attila Nándor Lázár, Robert James Nicholls, Jim William Hall, Emily Jane Barbour, Anisul Haque

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Bangladesh is one of the most climate-sensitive countries globally, creating significant challenges for future development. Here we apply an integrated assessment model — Delta Dynamic Integrated Emulator Model (ΔDIEM) — to the south-west coastal zone of Bangladesh to explore the outcomes of four contrasting and plausible development trajectories under different climate and socio-economic scenarios: (1) embankment rehabilitation; (2) build elevation via controlled sedimentation; (3) planned migration (managed retreat) and (4) ‘do nothing’ (unplanned migration and abandonment). Embankment rehabilitation reduces flood risk, but at a high economic cost and enhancing waterlogging. Planned and unplanned migration combined with limited infrastructure management and governance both result in significant abandonment. Building elevation through sedimentation has the potential for increased environmental and economic sustainability but raises equity issues. Poverty and inequality persist across all scenarios, and outmigration from the coastal zone continues, although the magnitude is sensitive to assumptions about sea-level rise, socio-economic development and development trajectory. Integrated assessment tools linking the environment, people and policy choices, such as the ΔDIEM used here, highlight the complex interactions occurring in a dynamic delta environment. Such analysis supports informed management, development and adaptation.

Original languageEnglish
Article number93
JournalRegional Environmental Change
Issue number3
Early online date29 Jul 2020
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 2020


  • Coastal adaptation
  • Delta
  • Development trajectories
  • Human wellbeing
  • Integrated assessment model
  • Policy options

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