Bangladesh should strengthen the local government institutions like Zila Parishad to ensure the development, leaving no one behind at upazila and union level and help the country to attain the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030, said speakers at a national workshop on Thursday.
The workshop titled" Strengthening Zila Parishad in Achieving SDGs" was jointly organised by the Ministry of Local Government, Rural Development and Cooperatives (MLGRD&C) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
Speaking as the Chief Guest, LGDR Minister Tajul Islam said, "Thought the local government institutions are now stronger and more people-friendly than any time in the past, but Zila Parishad still needs further support to build their capacity if we want to achieve the SDGs by 2030." Minister urged all the development partners to come forward in this regard.
He further added, "Zila Parishad can solve their problems by utilising the local resources properly. Coordination with other local government bodies is essential for that."
Nathalie Chuard, Ambassador of Switzerland to Bangladesh, was present in the workshop as a special guest. In her remarks, she highlighted the number of projects supported by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), which are currently underway through the partnership between Bangladesh and Switzerland.
"An integrated whole of society approach can ensure inclusive development to achieve SDGs for Bangladesh. I hope that Switzerland's development assistance will continue in the future to strengthen the local government initiatives and implement the Sustainable Development Goals," Nathalie said.
Sudipto Mukerjee, Resident Representative of UNDP, also attended the workshop as a special guest. While addressing the workshop, he said, "UNDP has been working with the Government of Bangladesh for many years. We are also supporting the Government to localize the SDGs and also strengthening the capacity of Upazila and Union Parishad. Soon, under the leadership of the Principal Coordinator SDGs at the PMO and the Ministry of LGRC&C, we will as the UN system, together with the support of the international financial institutions and several international development partners, strengthen the capacities in select lagging districts to localize the SDG and in turn help ensure that no one is left behind. Given that we are already in the Decade of Action, it will require all out efforts to amplify and strengthen the role of Zila Parishads in good quality data gathering and analyses. I have no doubts that Bangladesh will yet again become a poster child in SDG achievement".
Chairing the workshop, Senior Secretary of the Local Government Division Helaluddin Ahmed thanked UNDP for their continued support to build the capacity of various local government institutions and hoped the support would continue further to increase the capacity of Zila Parishad. He said, "In order to coordinate development activities at the district level, capable and people-friendly Zila Parishad is necessary."
Earlier, Dr Mobasser Monem, Professor, Public Administration, University of Dhaka, presented the keynote paper on "Zila Parishad: Challenges, Prospects and Way Forward."
Among others, Local Government Division officials, representatives from different local government institutions, development partners, academics and experts, civil society representatives were also present.