Promoting Navigational Usage of Inland Waterways in Ganga and Brahmaputra Basins

Expanding tradable benefits of trans-boundary water: Promoting navigational usage of inland waterways in Ganga and Brahmaputra basins – Phase 1

About the Study:

The Himalayan Rivers of the Ganges and the Brahmaputra have created extensive systems of inland waterways in the region consisting of Bangladesh, Bhutan, India and Nepal – BBIN region. For centuries, these inland waterways were inter-connected but due to the new drawing of political boundaries there is disconnect among themselves. This has resulted in poor institutional development for the management of these traditional inland waterways.

The current political discourse on trans-boundary cooperation among these countries has set the stage for institutional analysis of policies, laws and regulations governing inland waterways in the BBIN countries. This can lead to an alternative policy discourse for enabling reform measures on governing these inland waterways and will help deliberation on the need for trans-boundary cooperation among BBIN countries on the subject of inland waterways.

Goals and Objectives:

The project aims to contribute to improving institutions (i.e. policies, laws, and regulations) for inland waterways governance with particular emphasis on transport connectivity and livelihood in the BBIN region.

In order to achieve the overall goal, the project objectives are to:

  • Create of an alternative policy discourse between policy-makers, civil society, and communities for enabling reform measures and better governance of inland waterways; and
  • Share knowledge between governments and CSOs on governance of inland waterways.

Project Area:

The study will be conducted across various locations of Ganga and Brahmaputra in Bangladesh, Bhutan, India and Nepal. The specific locations are:
Bangladesh – Shivalaya, Ashuganj, Chandpur
Bhutan – Punakha, Phuntsholing, Manas
India – Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, West Bengal, Assam
Nepal – Sunsari, Nawalparasi


July 2016 to November 2017


CUTS and its country partners will conduct institutional analysis on the policies, laws, and regulations of inland waterways in the Ganges and Brahmaputra basins and organise targeted policy dialogues and participatory discussions with key stakeholders engaged in/with inland waterways.

Expected Outcomes:

Specifically, expected outcomes are:

  • Deeper and clear understanding of the current policy discourse and institutions of policies, laws and regulations governing the management of inland waterways in the BBIN countries
  • Capture the interaction and implications of inland waterway institutions on gender dynamics and women livelihood
  • Deliberation and gauging receptiveness on the findings of research and creation of a more inclusive alternative policy discourse at the sub-national, national, basin, and regional level
  • Bring in the lower and upper riparian basin-level concerns into the policy discourse and create an enabling environment for advocating on management of inland waterways
  • Dissemination of knowledge among policy makers and CSOs as well as creation of a regional discourse for deliberations on the need for cooperation for enabling reform measures among the BBIN countries for better management of inland waterways