What We Do
The Chittagong Hill Tracts Development Facility (CHTDF) is a multi-dimensional facility that has been enabling UNDP to support the Government of Bangladesh since 2003. The programmes and projects implemented through the Facility promote sustainable development and confidence-building in a sensitive post-conflict region, and is guided by the Chittagong Hill Tracts Accord. The current project “Strengthening Inclusive Development in Chittagong Hill Tracts (SID-CHT) has started on October 1st 2016 and will continue for the next five years.
Our work is focused on strengthening the capacity of Chittagong Hill Tracts institutions to effectively manage services and to encourage communities to take charge of their own development. Our approach is based on the human-rights, gender equality and empowerment, and environmental sustainability.
As a result of the support provided through the Facility since 2003, over 3,500 communities are now managing their own development affairs and increasing their livelihood options, and Chittagong Hill Tracts institutions are delivering better service and improving levels of trust and confidence.
UNDP has achieved significant results in the Chittagong Hill Tracts, contributing to policy change, implementation of the Peace Accord, confidence building in local communities, improved local institutional capacity, community empowerment, economic development, more responsive health and education systems, increased access to basic services, agriculture development, gender equality, etc. The partnership initiative “Promotion of Development and Confidence Building in the CHT”, which ended in September 2016, and which brought together the Government of Bangladesh, CHT institutions, donors and UNDP, has been in fact the first large scale development intervention implemented in this remote and hard-to-reach areas of the CHT. The current project SID-CHT is a continuation of the former project. Through the SID-CHT project communities will access more inclusive economic and livelihood opportunities and have improved capabilities to manage the environment.
In partnership with the Government of Bangladesh, the Facility is committed to continue promoting development and confidence building in the region, engaging with key stakeholders at national, regional and local levels along the way.
What have we accomplished?
Even though several parts of the Peace Accord have not yet been implemented, peace has been consolidated in the region. Namely, 65% of over 2,500 surveyed households reported that they confidently move everywhere outside their own village as compared to 34.5% prior to the Accord. The survey results and an external evaluation showed that UNDP’s programming and presence in the CHT have contributed to promoting and sustaining peace and development in CHT. As of 2015, 287 indigenous/tribal police personnel have been transferred to the CHT districts while police capacity more broadly has been increased through the renovation of 19 police outposts, establishment of 11 women friendly police facilities, and the reactivation of community police forums in all 121 Unions of the CHT region. Harmonization of national with CHT related laws and regulations is well-underway with 38 laws and acts brought into line with government standards.
Multi-lingual and mother tongue education have been introduced in 132 schools. Over 20,000 children have received access to primary education through 315 primary schools, managed by Hill District Councils (HDCs) with support from UNDP. A network of 1,000 Community Health Service Workers (CHSWs) and Community Skilled Birth Attendants (CSBAs) has been established, providing over half a million CHT people with increased access to basic health services. Furthermore, Ministry of Chittagong Hill Tracts Affairs (MoCHTA) and Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW) signed an agreement to provide salary support to CHSWs and CSBAs from 1 October 2015 until the 30 June 2016. A total of 3,507 Para/Village Development Committees (PDCs) and 1,935 Para Nari/Women Development Group (PNDGs) have been organized, trained and supported to manage and implement community development projects benefiting 115,107 households across 26 Upazilas of CHT. Following a Household Survey in the CHT in 2013, people are now much better fed, recording a 56% reduction of food deficient months from 2008 baseline (1.2 months per year down from 2.7 months). Average per-capita daily food energy intake now surpasses the poverty line, from 1,797 kilo-calories in 2008 to 2,033 kilo-calories in 2013. These outcomes were achieved through a series of interventions, including the establishment of 1,729 rice-banks and 1,548 Farmers Field Schools (FFS) that helped small farmers improve production. These significant achievements confirm the importance of the CHTDF’s assistance in the area, and the need for continuation of the intervention.
Sustained mass promotion of cultural diversity in the CHT region has significantly contributed in raising the visibility of minorities and advocating for the constitutional recognition of their rights. This resulted in the inclusion of article 23A into the constitution through the fifteenth amendment in 2011. With this amendment, the constitution for the first time acknowledges the existence of tribal/ethnic communities, and thus sets the ground for protecting the rights of indigenous/tribal communities and preserving their culture in the future.