Many deltaic regions around the world are exploring or adopting planning initiatives to address the complex challenges associated with future economic development and climate change. A key feature is their adaptive nature, also coined as adaptive delta management (ADM). ADM refers to the development of strategies and measures that allow us to adapt to change over a long time. The Government of Bangladesh has recently approved the Bangladesh Delta Plan 2100 (BDP2100) – a long-term adaptive strategy for sustainable water resources management. This study aims to explore the future capacity requirements from the perspective of water/delta professionals for implementing BDP2100. This calls for structural and institutional changes, and new skills and competencies to address the specific organisational and individual needs for effective delivery. A capacity development programme as an integral part of BDP2100 is currently under development. Adopting a qualitative approach, 16 key informant interviews were conducted with experts and professionals from the water and water-related sectors in Bangladesh. A thematic analysis approach was used to analyse the data. The participants reflected that an integrated and adaptive system is critical for sustainable delta management; collaboration and coordination between water/delta professionals (e.g., policy planners, consultants, and academics) and delta expert stakeholders with deep local familiarity (e.g., communities, activists, and civil society members) were deemed essential. In addition, a powerful independent institutional body is recommended to provide stewardship and leadership in the implementation process.

  • Deltas have embraced adaptive delta management (ADM).

  • BDP2100 – ADM blueprint for Bangladesh.

  • Needs quantitative and qualitative changes in water sector capacity.

  • Investigated capacity needs for the success of BDP2100 as perceived by sector experts.

  • Integrated, adaptive approach, and interdisciplinary collaboration should be central in CB.

  • Independent institutional body should coordinate the sector CB needs.

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