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Introduction to UPGP

 A fundamental requirement of UPGP is the dedication of 30% of all community schemes, for women by women, leading to a greater number of women-centered local development projects. Photo: UNDP Bangladesh.

The Union Parishad Governance Project (UPGP) is a part of the programmatic framework established by UNDP and UNCDF to support the Government of Bangladesh in the area of Local Governance reforms, in partnership with the European Union (EU) and the Government of Denmark.

The UPGP is being implemented by the Local Government Division (LGD), in close alignment with its on-going Local Government Support Program-II (LGSP-II) that supports the entire complement of Union Parishads across the country. The LGSP-II and Upazila Governance has completed the preparatory technical and administrative steps, and commenced implementation of the main activities.

The UPGP builds on the earlier LGSP-LIC programme, which demonstrated several successful innovations in participatory planning and management processes that have already been integrated into LGSP-II. UPGP’s activities are conceived to be implemented within the ambit Government’s LGSP-II, whereby it would facilitate a set of carefully planned innovations and improvements to further strengthen local governance, working in around 10 percent of UPs. The activities of UPGP serve to pilot and demonstrate synergies between the Union Parishad and the Upazila, in line with the vision in the UP Act 2009, which envisage the UP as a development hub, with effective links to line agencies at the Upazila level.

The UPGP is designed to work directly with four institutional platforms that form the core of local governance. They are: the Union Parishad, the Standing Committees of the Union Parishad, the Ward Shavas, and the Women Development Forums (WDFs). In addition, the UPGP also envisages activities to facilitate active and effective engagement between the Union Parishad’s and the Upazila administration, as well as activities at the national level, with the Local Government Division, to address the policy support required at the Union Parishad level. These activities fall into six generic categories:

  1. Support the four institutional mechanisms to effectively execute their mandate;
  2. Enhance the quality of interface of the four institutional mechanisms with communities;
  3. Strengthening and improving planning and financing mechanisms followed by UPs;
  4. Mechanisms to improve resource mobilization by UPs;
  5. Improving the capacities of relevant stakeholders;
  6. Developing knowledge and policy instruments to support the above.

UPGP objectives

Overall development objective:

To strengthen capacities of local governments and other stakeholders to foster participatory local development service delivery for the MDGs. The project will pilot and evaluate innovations to improve the functional and institutional capacity and democratic accountability of Union Parishads and to increase citizen involvement in order to achieve effective, efficient and accountable delivery of pro-poor infrastructures and services.

The specific objectives of the project are:

i)            Improve governance of the Union Parishad;

ii)          Promote peoples’ participation in planning, implementation, monitoring supervision and evaluation of development activities;

iii)        Deliver improved and enhanced basic services to the citizen;

iv)        Increase local resource generation to complement government efforts;

v)          Promote women participation in the affairs of Union Parishads;

vi)        Strengthen capacity of the UPs in managing the activities assigned by the UP Act 2009;

vii)      Promote accountability and transparency in the management of UP activities.

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