Dhaka, Bangladesh
Sound governance system key to rapid growth

Sound governance system key to rapid growth

BDF for strengthening democratic process: Promises greater support

News Report Bangladesh development partners on Monday stressed the need for strengthening democratic process and underscored the importance of a sound governance system based on the rule of law for sustainable development. The development partners also suggested equitable distribution of wealth as a major prerequisite to high and inclusive economic growth. The development partners came up with specific recommendations for a number of priority areas for the country in the Bangladesh Development Forum 2015 that ended on Monday. The two-day BDF 2015 ended with both the government and development partners promising to build a greater partnership in achieving the goals of the 7th Five Year Plan and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The Forum stressed development in areas including agriculture, food security, climate change, energy, infrastructure, governance, health, quality education, social protection and gender mainstreaming. UNB adds: The two-day Forum brought together ministers, top government officials, representatives of development partners and civil society for finding areas to strengthen partnership for Bangladesh's rapid development. After the meeting, a communique was issued identifying a few areas for future economic growth and elimination of poverty from Bangladesh. It said creating decent jobs and tackling the barriers to growth and investment, including strengthening high quality infrastructure, especially improving the enabling environment for the private sector. Besides, the communique said, building human capital is a pre-requisite for growth and poverty reduction, by improving the equity, quality and efficiency of health and education services. It suggested strengthening social protection provision for the extreme poor, the marginalized and the most vulnerable through efficient social protection programmes. The communique also advocated for enhancing women's empowerment by enforcing the existing laws and policies, increasing women's participation in the labour force, improving their access to productive resources, eliminating child marriage, and eliminating violence against women. Improving Bangladesh's resilience by mainstreaming climate change issues were also stressed in the BDF. The BDF also emphasised strengthening governance, the rule of law, accountability and transparency through the development of sound public financial management systems. The two-day BDF featured one keynote session and six working sessions on the 7th Five Year Plan and SDG implementation. Speakers at the keynote session identified equitable distribution of wealth as a major perquisite to high and inclusive economic growth. Inclusive and sustainable economic growth may be ensured through land ownership reforms, tax reforms, public service management reforms, quality education and expansion of social safety net, they observed. In the first working session, panelists emphasised optimising the productivity of agricultural land through appropriate use of pesticides, diversification of crops and avoidance of preservatives. Discussants also observed that there should be diversity in food consumption to ensure better nutrition. The second working session highlighted that Bangladesh should prioritise stronger regional connectivity as a catalyst for regional trade, investment, growth and poverty reduction. The importance of better energy mix like using of coal for power generation and energy efficiency were also highlighted. During the third session, the discussants underscored the importance of a sound governance system based on the rule of law for development. On aid effectiveness, they said, development partners should encourage PPPs and civil society partnership. During the fourth working session, panelists advocated for increased allocations for education and health in the budget as a percentage of the GDP. A Ten Year Plan should be introduced to attract high quality teachers, they proposed. At the same time, there should be one ministry catering for students till grade 12, and maybe another ministry for higher education and vocational education, they recommended. On health issues, the speakers said to achieve acceptable level of maternal mortality, the country needs to train around 10,000 midwives. More allocation is needed if the nation wants to achieve zero malnutrition by the year 2030- they opined. The fifth working session of the forum was focused on the National Social Security Strategy (NSSS) which was recently approved by the government. The session emphasised expanding the coverage for the hardcore poor and most vulnerable people, focusing on mother and children, the elderly and people with disabilities. The government and development partners agreed to work together for the effective implementation of the NSSS. Highlighting the progresses made in gender mainstreaming in Bangladesh, the sixth session recommended increasing women's participation in workforce, reducing and eliminating child marriage, recognizing and reducing women's unpaid care work, reducing and eliminating violence against women in workplace and public spheres, enhancing women's access to and control over land and productive resources.

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