Celebration of International Youth Day

12 Aug 2015

Drishty Chittagong won the International Youth Day debate by effectively arguing that good governance and strong implementation of policies must accompany employment opportunities in order to address issues such as drug use by youth.
Wednesday August 12th marked the annual celebration of International Youth Day. This year’s theme of “civic engagement” was spot on for the UNDP’s pilot project, Youth Empowerment for Development (YED). Over the past six months, UNDP has been testing approaches to encourage young people’s engagement with policy and decision makers starting with strengthening and amplifying youth voices. Centering around “civic engagement”, IYD activities in Chittagong included a youth fair, which highlighted opportunities for young people, a debate on youth unemployment and a dialogue with councilors from Chittagong City Corporation (CCC). Building on the success of the CCC election dialogue, the dialogue offered a rare opportunity for young people to directly interact with elected councilors from CCC.  It was very clear that young people have a strong desire to play a greater role in the running of the CCC and very much wanted to be part of the solution to many challenges the city faces such as the preservation of Chittagong’s remaining hills, traffic congestion and waterlogging. Furthermore, youth asked after the plans CCC had to incorporate the concerns and needs of street children, the hijra community and differently abled residents, including those with vision impairments. As Pauline Tamesis, UNDP Country Director, … Read more

Transforming towards digitalization of Bangladesh Judiciary

09 Jul 2015

Releasing of Timely Justice for All in Bangladesh-Business Process Mapping Publication by the Hon’ble Chief Justice of Bangladesh in the workshop.
A well-functioning judiciary is a crucial determinant of a country's economic performance. It promotes efficient production and distribution of goods and services by securing, among other things, the enforcement of contracts. Conversely, weak contract enforcement could lead firms adopting inefficient technologies (for example those that minimise dependence on other firms), with detrimental effects on productivity. It is widely understood that a judiciary effective in enforcing the rule of law would not only be conducive to trade, financing and investment but would also promote social peace and trust. However, judicial systems, particularly in developing countries, continue to suffer from inefficiencies that have a negative impact on socio-economic well-being. Commonly faced lacunae in judicial performance include (a) length of time it takes for cases to be disposed; (b) uncertainty in the progress of judicial proceedings; and (c) difficulty for the common man to access judicial services, particularly related to the cases she/he is concerned with or is a party to. In this backdrop caseflow management as an approach to keep track of cases and ensure their smooth passage through allocation of most appropriate time and resources forms the very backbone of the judicial system. Caseflow management techniques are now widely adopted as a … Read more

A field trip where I was laughed at

05 Jul 2015

“A vast majority of the people do not have access to justice in Bangladesh”. This sentence in one form or the other is not only part of all the project documents UNDP is currently supporting in the justice sector but many speeches, reports, articles etc open or end with this sentence. This simple sentence evades the complex contexts and situations the country faces. Working in the justice sector for a year now, I thought I understood what this simple sentence meant until a field trip to Rangpur last week opened my eyes, the objective of which was to provide input into the new women’s access to justice programme.  In many senses, justice begins with injustice; knowing ones rights have been violated and an injustice committed. The constitution of Bangladesh enshrines equality before the law which means one has a right to redress no matter one’s social, religious, economic or cultural background; no matter if one is poor, a woman, a child, a hijra, a hindu, an ahmediyan, a Chakma, or without a limb. But injustice begins even before that, it begins with defining injustice in a society which is gnarled with social norms, values, principles and culture, some noble and some … Read more

A world of limited resources

01 Jul 2015

By 2050, if the current consumption and production patterns remain the same and with the rising population expected to reach 9.6 billion, we will need three planets to sustain our way of life.
Are we conscious about the trend of natural resource consumption to meet the needs of our current generation? Are we leaving behind enough resources for the future? The gas we burn for cooking, electricity generation, running vehicles and industries will be exhausted in a couple of decades. Our agricultural land is shrinking by one percent every year, our clean wate, air and soil are getting polluted at an alarming rate over time. Globally, each individual uses 16 kilos of resources extracted from earth every day - metal, fossil energy, and minerals. If you live in the western world, this number is much higher - up to 57 kilos of newly-mined minerals per day. On the biodiversity front, the International Union for Conservation of Nature has identified a frightening figure of over 200 animals including fish, amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals to be threatened in Bangladesh. Many of the Earth's ecosystems are nearing critical levels of depletion or irreversible change, pushed by high population growth and economic development. By 2050, if the current consumption and production patterns remain the same and with the rising population expected to reach 9.6 billion, we will need three planets to sustain our way of life. As key … Read more

A Formula to Secure Bangladesh’s Forests

09 Jun 2015

Photo by UNDP Bangladesh
That the environment is under pressure is not a new story, but a fact that has been witnessed with concern in all parts of the world. What is often forgotten is that humans are deeply dependent on the environment. It supports our very existence. Food, water and the air that we breathe are ‘services’ crucial to our survival - yet the environment continues to be destroyed. In the face of a changing climate and growing natural hazards it is unsurprising that the global community marked the recently passed World Environment Day – 5 June - with a renewed sense of urgency. This year’s theme, “Seven Billion Dreams. One Planet. Consume with Care”, is timely and as Bangladesh celebrates the day we must look to both establish strong natural resource management practices and engage people as guardians of the environment. One example of this can be found in our own Chittagong Hill Tracts where communities draw on traditional knowledge to sustainably manage natural resources through Village Common Forests (VCFs).  Regrettably, Bangladesh has been experiencing severe deforestation and forest degradation over the past 30 years. A 2011 paper co-authored by Center for International Forestry cited data suggesting 90 percent of Bangladesh’s forest have … Read more