Delta Alliance: what and why?

What is Delta Alliance
Delta Alliance is an international knowledge-driven network organisation with the mission of improving the resilience of the world’s deltas. With increasing pressure from population growth, industrialisation and a changing climate, it is more important than ever that these valuable and vulnerable locations increase their resilience to changing conditions. The Delta Alliance brings people together who live and work in deltas. They can benefit from each other’s experience and expertise and as such contribute to an increased resilience of their delta region.
Delta Alliance has 18 network wings in 15 countries where activities are focussed: Parana (Argentina), Ganges-Brahmaputra (Bangladesh), Pantanal (Brazil), Yangtze and Yellow River (China), Nile (Egypt), Volta (Ghana), Ciliwung and Mahakam (Indonesia), Tana (Kenya), Zambezi (Mozambique), Ayeyarwady (Myanmar), Rhine-Meuse (the Netherlands), Ebro (Spain), Keelung, Lanyang, Choshuichi and Gaoping (Taiwan), California Bay and Mississippi (USA) and Mekong and Red River (Vietnam).
Additional network wings will be included in Delta Alliance as and when ready, and this will further contribute to the wealth of information available from and in these deltas.
>> Read more: Wings - delta networks

Why Delta Alliance
River deltas regions may be considered some of the wealthiest places in the world, drawing large populations with their rich environmental resources and strong economic potentials; they are hubs of innovation, biodiversity, industrial and agricultural productivity, and home to some of the world’s fastest growing cities.

Delta regions are also some of the most highly stressed areas in the world, with great competition for land and water use, and experiencing impacts from all activities occurring in the river basin. Natural characteristics of river deltas make them vulnerable to complex problems such as flooding, subsidence, cyclones and salt water intrusion. Human impacts increase their vulnerable by reducing natural resilience, introduce additional problems, and devastate vital ecosystems. Both natural and human-built capital are at risk in river delta regions, making their protection essential.

Human populations have inhabited river deltas for thousands of years; during this time many methods for living in and protecting these naturally vulnerable regions have been developed, yet climate change promises to change the natural conditions in these regions and elsewhere at a rate never before experienced by humankind. Climate change is expected to increase the severity of many of the problems faced in river deltas - this combined with increasing stress from economic and population growth make addressing the vulnerabilities of river delta regions truly urgent. New knowledge must be developed in order to respond to levels of stress and a climate that these regions have never dealt with in the past.
Research and investment in addressing the unique challenges of river delta regions are happening in locations around the world. The experiences and research from across river deltas must be shared, and collaborative research must be undertaken to support delta regions in responding quickly and effectively to their mounting challenges. Solutions for the complex problems faced in river delta regions will not be found in one discipline alone, but in combining the knowledge of both hard and social sciences – integration of knowledge across disciplines, sectors, and regions will yield new and critical insights into how best to improve the overall resiliency of river delta regions worldwide.

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