Government, UNDP joint initiative to strengthen local government for achieving SDGs

Sep 13, 2018

The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the government of Bangladesh jointly launched ‘Efficient and Accountable Local Governance (EALG)’ Project to further strengthening its local government structure, in 16 Upazilas and 240 unions under 8 districts at an inception workshop held on 13 September at DPHE auditorium, Kakrail, organized by the Local Government Division, Ministry of Local Government, Rural Development and Cooperatives.

The five-year project will be implemented in Faridpur, Chandpur, Rajshahi, Khulna, Patuakhali, Sunamganj, Rangpur and Netrokona districts to strengthen governance framework of Upazila Parishad and improve service delivery to achieve the SDGs. It will also strengthen the capacity of the Union Parishads and provide policy support to the Government of Bangladesh for establishing effective local government system through citizens’ participation.

Inaugurating the workshop, chief guest Khandker Mosharraf Hossain, MP, Minister of LGRD and Cooperatives, said as per its election pledges, the government amended the Upazila Parishad Act to enable elected representatives of people to work independently and effectively. “Our government has taken steps for strengthening local government institutions as a strategy to strengthen the democracy at the grassroots levels, this project will further help us to do so and paving the way for Sustainable Development Goals,” he said.

The project is funded jointly by DANIDA, Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) and UNDP and implemented by the Local Government Division, Government of Bangladesh with total budget of $7.11m.  Beate Elsaesser, Deputy Head of Mission and Director of Cooperation of the Embassy of Switzerland, attending as a special guest said that EALG’s intervention would enable citizen participation in LGI functions especially in the planning and budgeting process.

Refika Hayta, Deputy Head of Mission, Embassy of Denmark urged the ministry to take affirmative policy actions aligning with the priorities set in the 7th five-year plan.

Sudipto Mukerjee, Country Director, UNDP Bangladesh said that through this project we are supporting the government to localize SDGs for the first time, by including them in planning and budgeting of local government.

Among others, Dr. Zafar Ahmed Khan, Senior Secretary, Local Government Division, Amitavh Sarker, Additional Secretary, LGD and National Project Director, EALG, Abu Shahin M. Ashaduzzaman, Project Coordinator EALG and Md Iftikher Ahmed Chowdhury, Deputy Secretary, LGD also spoke. Representatives from the government, local government and Member of Parliament were present at the workshop.

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