UNDP Regional Director commends community-led development approach in urban programming

May 18, 2014

Meets Finance minister to discuss 7th Five year plan and Bangladesh’s Post 2015 agenda

May 18, 2014, Dhaka: Today, during a field visit to Korail slum in Dhaka, the largest slum in Bangladesh, UNDP's Regional Director Mr. Haoliang Xu lauded the community’s efforts to mobilise the poor and extreme poor households into community-based organisations and take leadership in identifying and addressing their own problems through actions supported by the urban poverty reduction programme. 

The Urban Partnership for Poverty Reduction Project (UPPR) is a joint effort between the Government of Bangladesh, the Government of the United Kingdom, UNDP and UN Habitat to lift three million people out of urban poverty. The platform for this work is the mobilisation and organisation of poor communities with a focus on women into Community Development Committees (CDCs). This has not only helped the poor create their own savings and loans schemes and become income earners themselves, but more importantly, the community is empowered through these social and economic opportunities.  

More than nine million people, 35 percent of the urban population of the biggest cities, live in informal settlements such as Korail. One third of these, or three million people, are covered by the Urban Partnerships for Poverty Reduction programme, with the support of the UK Government. Through a coordinated series of interventions in education, nutritional health, infrastructure and support to livelihoods we have seen impressive and sustainable gains: multidimensional poverty in seven UPPR towns and cities has fallen from 42 percent to 29 percent, in the last four years.

In the evening, Mr. Xu attended the opening of the WE TELL exhibition, which displayed photographs by women and girls from the slums of Bangladesh. Speaking at the event, Mr. Xu commended the Government and development partners for their success in urban poverty reduction and expressed hope that this can be scaled up to cover all nine million people living in informal urban settlements in Bangladesh. He expressed hope that the next National Urban Programme focusses on addressing the various dimensions of urban poverty – including economic empowerment, improving living standards of the urban poor and land tenure security, thus “expanding investments and opening more durable economic opportunities”, he added.  

The UNDP Regional Director also met with the Finance Minister Abul Maal Abdul Muhith at the Planning Commission, where he discussed the government’s policy priorities, including preparation for the 7th Five Year Plan and UNDP support to it and Bangladesh's Post-2015 Agenda and the importance of the continuing engagement to ensure the concerns of Bangladesh are considered, especially in ensuring that a climate resilient development approach is reflected in the final outcome. 

The Finance Minister said, “UNDP is a reliable development partner of the government. It has been highly responsive in supporting the government in taking forward the national priorities.”

Later, Mr. Xu also made a courtesy call on the Foreign Minister of Bangladesh Abul Hassan Mahmood Ali at the Foreign Affairs Ministry.

Mr. Xu is currently on a five-day visit to Bangladesh.

Contact information

For more information please contact: Kawser Ahmed, Communications Focal Point, UNDP Bangladesh, Phone: 01792991599, Email address: kawser.mohammad@undp.org