United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) signed an agreement to promote sustainable management of community development for Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT) on 23 October 2018.
UNDP and ADB have long been working in the region and to further strengthen the relationship the administrative arrangement worth USD 471,000 was signed to implement a project entitled Sustainable Management of Community Development for Chittagong Hill Tracts.
The deal was signed by UNDP Country Director, Sudipto Mukerjee and ADB Country Director, Manmohan Parkash, at ADB’s Bangladesh resident mission in Dhaka. Under this, UNDP will build capacities of the communities to manage their assets by developing skilled youth entrepreneurs who will repair and maintain the community assets such as tube-well, ring-well, Gravitational Flow System (GFS) water supply, irrigation facilities, etc. and ensure continuity of those assets.
Pointing out that ADB has been working in the CHT for 18 years doing various infrastructural development like roads and irrigation systems, Parkash said, “Now once these infrastructures are built, one of the main issues is also how these are maintained. And you can see examples of such things around us, even in Dhaka. If the maintenance is not good, the roads will not sustain, the water systems will fail.”
He continued that best people to sustain the infrastructures are the locals themselves, which is why ADB partnered with UNDP. “UNDP, which has a very strong presence in the hill tracts. They have been working since 2003, working very closely with the local communities and NGOs,” he said.
UNDP Country Director Sudipto Mukerjee mentioned that they have been working in CHT since the peace accord was signed to prevent conflict and preserve peace. “A lot has changed but one of the concerns we currently still have is inadequate access to services”, and another is the “growing youth unemployment”.
“I think these are two areas where there is opportunity for the two agencies to work together,” he continued.
UNDP has been working in the CHT for the last 15 years supporting about 3,500 communities by building capacities of the community people to organize themselves through Para Development Committees (PDCs), manage community-led different small-scale schemes/projects, managing community assets and pursue their own development goals.
The project will enhance capacity of 300 Parha Development Committees (PDCs) on managing and sustaining community assets and infrastructure; train 900 PDC leaders on leadership, organizational and financial management and 500 PDC members on participatory planning, and monitoring towards strengthened governance and rural development.
It will also create a pool of skilled technicians from the unemployed youths to repair and maintain irrigation equipment and tube-wells and strengthen linkages of PDCs with union councils.