Upazila Governance Project

What is the project about?

Upazila Governance ProjectA female participant was seen speaking at a Upazila Parishad Plan and Budget discussion at Ullapara Upazila Parishad in Sirajganj district, Bangladesh. Photo: UNDP Bangladesh

The UZGP is part of the UNDP and UNCDF's overall programmatic framework for support to the Government of Bangladesh in the area of local governance reforms, specifically to the newly established Upazila Parishad (UZP) which is a middle-tier administrative unit and elected body. The project is supported and assisted by the European Union (EU) and Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC). 

Local Government Institution (LGIs) in general, and UZPs in particular, are facing a number of challenges affecting their efficiency and effectiveness. The broad range of challenges includes capacity constraints, limited institutional practice of process under law and absence of elaborative rules and regulations. Poor coordination between UZPs and the devolved departments results in further fiscal constraints in terms of their collective capacity to plan, budget and ensure service delivery as per available resources to address local development. 

The UZGP is positioned to assist the GoB in implementation of the local governance reforms and to contribute in addressing challenges including participatory decision-making, planning, and budgeting and improved service-delivery. The project is designed to improve functional and institutional capacities of local government institutions for effective and accountable delivery of pro-poor infrastructure and services.

What have we accomplished so far?


The independent Midterm Evaluation Report of UZGP concluded that the project provides important value additions to the development of the UZP tier, which is strongly supported by evidence such as the documented improvements in core functional areas in UZGP’s pilot districts compared to baseline data and developments in non-covered (control) districts.  UZGP has noticeably contributed to enhancing the capacity of elected and government officials vis-à-vis the institutional capacity of the UZP and augmented the institutional competence and effectiveness in compliance with the Upazila Act.

Capacity Building: Capacity building sits at the core of UZGP activities. Our focus is on strengthening the capacity of elected and government officials for effective functioning of the Upazila Parishad by  enhancing their understanding of legal, administrative and institutional functions and their corresponding roles which in turn has resulted in promoting pro-poor service delivery and strengthening local democracy at the UZP level. It can noted that this was the first time in the history of Bangladesh, elected representatives of UZPs received training on their roles and function due to effective and timely initiative of UZGP. UZGP's Mid-term Evaluation (MTE) confirmed that project UZPs are more compliant with national legislation, are better recorded and maintained, and show greater parity in the participation of both genders in decision-making and governance process than control UZPs.

UZGP’s capacity building has resulted in:

  • Training of more than 9,292 elected and government officials both in terms of generalized and specialized training which was targeting responsive governance and pro-poor / MDG oriented planning.
  • 70% of the UZPs in 2014 were holding mandatory monthly meeting as compared to 30% of UZPs in 2012.
  • 100% of UZPs became able to form all required Standing Committees as compared to 50% in 2012.
  • UZP budget submission rose to 100% in 2014 from a mere 20% in 2012.
  • 100% of UZPs prepared a ‘Citizen’s Charter’ by 2014.
  • Formation of 414 Women Development Fora (WDFs), that encompassed over 13,000 elected women representatives by 2014, that facilitate networking, build partnerships and strengthen gender responsive policies at the local level through collective bargaining.
  • Publishing of a total of 133 Information, Plan and Budget Books by 133 Upazilas by the end of 2014 as compared to the 14 Annual Plan Books with five-year development visions published with the support of UFF in 2013.

Fiscal Facility: UZGP designed and piloted an Upazila Fiscal Facility (UFF) that was made available to provide project UZPs with additional resources in support of UZGP Output 2. The UFF has supplemented funds given via the Upazila Development Plan (UZP/ADP) grant that is received by UZPs from the national budget. During its first year, UFF provided performance-based grants to 7 of the 65 project UZPs, and up-scaled this to 14 UZPs in 2014, for the implementation of locally-derived and driven schemes. According to an independent performance assessment, the 7 pilot UZPs completed 104 schemes in 2013, of which 65 (62%) directly focused on addressing MDG goals. A total of 316,455 beneficiaries, of which 116,168 are female, directly benefited from these schemes. In 2014, a scale-up of 14 targeted UZPs implemented and received funding for 120 schemes, encompassing 304,666 beneficiaries, of which 80% were MDG focused. Such practices demonstrate that UZPs have increased capacity in terms of planning and also that their accountability to the constituents has increased. A total of 105 million BDT has been disbursed to fund local schemes since UFFs inception in 2012.

Technical Support: In line with Output 3, UZGP provided technical assistance to LGD in drafting a planning guideline, and drafting relevant rules and regulations to make UZPs more functional. UZGP has published two editions of an Upazila Parishad Manual, a compendium of updated Rules, Circulars and Government Orders related to UZPs, to facilitate effective functioning of UZP and better understanding of legal, administrative and institutional frameworks of the UZPs. In addition to this, UZGP provided technical assistance to LGD by drafting six rules pertaining to the Upazila Parishads in 2014. UZGP also drafted three model regulations pertaining to Upazila Parishads’ conduct of business, conduct of meetings, and delegation of power. The drafted rules are currently under review of LGD prior to being forwarded to the Ministry of Law for vetting.

UZP Rules Drafted by UZGP in 2014:

  • Maintenance and Publication of Record, Reports;
  • Custody, Administration, regulation and Investment;
  •  Maintenance of Accounts and Audit;
  • Conduct of Officers and Staff for Maintenance of Property;
  • Appeal Against Orders;
  • and Upazila Parishad Chairmen, Vice Chairmen and Members’ Resignation, Removal and Vacation of Office

Policy Papers researched, with UZGP Support in 2014:

  • Study on Local Government system in Bangladesh: Comparative perspective and practices
  • Policy Research on Functional Assignment to Local Governments (Union Parishad and Upazila levels) in the delivery of health and education services (Part I & Part II)
  • Policy Study on Unified Legal Framework of Local Government
  • Mapping Fiscal Flow of local government financing in Bangladesh
  • Study on key Rights and Entitlements for Poor and Disadvantaged Citizens where the RTI Act can be Effective
  • Review of local government revenue regimes of Bangladesh and the prospective of a uniform local government revenue policy/taxation schedule
  • Citizen’s perception survey on service provision provided by LGIs and Assessment of results Achieved by UPGP and UZGP

UZGP has supplied LGD with an Operational M&E Strategy and toolkit for monitoring the performance of key local governance mechanisms and supports the government with quarterly reviews and joint monitoring organized at the Upazila level using these monitoring tools. Also, in an effort to facilitate gender mainstreaming in the project, UZGP also developed an operational gender strategy and communications strategy for LGD.

Who finances it?

Donor Amount in USD
European Union (EU) 10,138,889
Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) 4,920,000
UNCDF 1,000,000
UNDP 2,000,000
Government of Bangladesh (in BDT) 70,000,000

Delivery in previous fiscal years

Year Amount in USD
2012 14, 97,049


26, 83, 394


35, 41, 568