DHAKA, December 14, 2011 — Bangladeshi delegates at a conference on local governance, held during December 5 - 8, 2011 at the State of Kerala in India, shared their experiences with emerging innovations in the local governance system of the country. The workshop brought together delegates from several countries to showcase innovations in the areas of decentralization and local governance and learn from each other.
Titled “Next Generation Reforms in Decentralization and Local Governance”, the workshop was organized by the World Bank funded South-South Experience Exchange Facility and supported by the Switzerland Development Cooperation. The Bangladeshi delegation, led by Mr. Md. Monwar Hossain Chowdhury, Member of Parliament, Gaibandha, included Members of the Parliament, senior officials from the Local Government Division (LGD) and representatives from the civil society and media.
The Government of Bangladesh has been successfully implementing decentralization reforms to strengthen the local government system. The World Bank is supporting these reforms through the Local Governance Support Project which has contributed towards enhancing local level accountability and governance.
The first initiative, the Local Governance Support Project, supported by World Bank, UNDP/CDF, EU and DANIDA, and implemented by the Local Government Division was successful in providing enhanced resources and capacity building support to Union Parishads (UPs), the lowest tier of local governments. The UPs decided their spending priorities through a participatory process involving both men and women, while being held accountable for their performance.
Owing to continued Government commitment to implementing local governance reforms and good performance under the first project, the World Bank recently approved a follow-on operation. The $290 million Second Local Governance Support Project will provide support to all 4,504 UPs across the country to support further institutionalization of the intergovernmental fiscal relations. This will include a more predictable fiscal transfer system, strengthened accountability mechanisms, improved financial management and effective monitoring systems.
The other participating states at the workshop that showcased various innovations in local governance were the Government of Nepal, the State of West Bengal (India), the State of Karnataka (India) and the Government of Uganda.
The members of the Bangladesh Government delegation were: Mr. Md. Monwar Hossain Chowdhury (MP, Gaibanda), Mr. Md. Ashraf Ali Khan (MP, Netrakona), Mr.K.M. Mozammel Hoq (Additional Secretary, LGD), Mr. Swapan Kumar Sarkar (Director General (MIE), LGD) and Ms. Shamima Nargis, Deputy Secretary, LGD. The Bangladesh civil society was represented by Ms. Aroma Dutta, Executive Director PRIP Trust and Dr. Khairul Islam, Country Representative Water Aid, Bangladesh. Mr. Shyamal Dutta, Editor, Bhorer Kagoj, represented the media.