Diamonds in the Delta

Diamonds in the Delta is an international research-action network of scholars, water professionals and civil society advocates, who are concerned about how climate change compounds problems of flooding (Storyline: Flood risk management) and subsidence in delta cities (Storyline: Sinking deltas). The network, initiated by Utrecht University, includes people from Vietnam, Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, Colombia, Mozambique, the Philippines and the Netherlands. We are united in our conviction that the needs, experiences and aspirations of communities that are most affected by these problems should be the focus when designing and implementing solutions.


Our departure point for research is that existing water management strategies, of heightening dikes (‘more infrastructure’) and further integrated planning in landscape and urban management (‘more spatial planning’; Storyline: Spatial adaptation in deltas) start to reveal their shortcomings. The combination of rapid urbanization, sea-level rise, land subsidence, saltwater intrusion and extreme weather events threaten the livelihoods, ecologies and built environments of over 500 million people worldwide, particularly in urban deltas in the global South, which often lack the financial and institutional resources to protect their residents.

In the future, new approaches to dealing with water are needed, and these importantly hinge on learning to accept that future water problems cannot be fully predictable and controllable. Rather than fighting against floods and land subsidence risks, we – the people in the Netherlands and deltas abroad – need to learn how to live with them.

Diamonds in the Delta Manifesto 2021

The project has a mission statement. This statement can be read via the link below.

Diamonds in the Delta Manifesto 2021


In our network we collaborate with community groups in delta cities. Our approach is to learn from each other through the co-creating of knowledge. We ask ourselves what Dutch citizens can learn from communities abroad who already live with water and who cannot rely on government assistance and expertise. And vice versa, we ask ourselves what community leaders and water professionals abroad can learn from the Dutch government involvement in delta planning. Our joint goal is to identify socially just and sustainable delta adaptation opportunities for the future.

Climate Adaptation Summit 2021

The Climate Adaptation Summit 2021 was taking place online on January 25th and 26th. Watch below our pre-recorded panel discussion. “For people's sake! Pathways to improving social inclusion and participation in water climate adaptation”, which was a side event of this global summit. Pathways to improving social inclusion and participation in water climate adaptation is a conversation on social inclusion in global climate adaptation approaches. The people that truly need protection from climate change are often the people that are forgotten in the conversation. 

Contact persons

External contact persons