Bangladesh has made impressive economic and social progress in the past decade. Despite frequent natural disasters, external shocks and a poverty line hovering above 56 million people, the country saw a poverty decline from 57% of the population in 1990 to 31.5% in 2010, and is on track to meet the Millennium Development Goal of halving extreme poverty by 2015. While local governance is well established and enshrined in the Constitution, frequent policy and governmental changes continue to create gaps in the existing structures. Bangladesh ranked at 142 out of 187 nations in the 2014 Human Development Report.
How We Are Helping?
UNCDF has been a long-term development partner of Bangladesh. Over the past three decades UNCDF has helped Bangladesh meet its development challenges by focusing initially on local agriculture, and then, more recently, on decentralization and local service delivery.
In the late 1990s, UNCDF pioneered a number of decentralization innovations through the joint UNCDF/UNDP Sirajganj Local Development Project. Building on this foundation, the Government in 2007 launched a national decentralization programme, known as the Local Government Support Programme (LGSP), with the aim of improving local governance and local service delivery. As part of LGSP, UNCDF and UNDP supported a Learning and Innovation Component (LGSP-LIC) to enhance the basic service delivery capacities of Union Parishads, the lowest tier of local government in rural Bangladesh.
Based on the success of LGSP-LIC, which ended in December 2011, UNCDF and UNDP developed the Union Parishad Governance Project (UPGP) and the Upazila Governance Project (UZGP), which scale up promising innovations tested in previous pilots.
Additionally, to address the climate change challenge in Bangladesh, UNCDF is piloting its “Local Climate Adaptive Living Facility” project. Known as LoCAL, it aims to increase climate change adaptation financing while strengthening the capacity of local governments and of the local climate change adaptation planning process through a system of performance-based grants.