Bangladesh Parliament and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Bangladesh, today, virtually launched the country's first "My Constituency" data platform, web and mobile based application.
It was developed for Members of Parliament (MPs) to measure the progress of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), read a press release.
The data platform should support MPs in tracking the development progress of their respective constituencies and identify areas for inclusive development planning. The platform also envisions strengthening interactions with citizens.
My Constituency gives MPs better access to quality data for evidence-based decision-making and development planning for their constituencies.
Speaking as the chief guest, Speaker Dr Shirin Sharmin Chaudhury MP said, "Parliamentarians are the voices of the people and their involvement is necessary for the good of the people. We must remember that the clock is ticking, there is only a decade left to reach the SDGs. Due to the pandemic it is difficult to keep the economy on track while also ensuring that we stay on the right path for the SDGs."
This app is driven by the needs of MPs and their feedback has been incorporated in it to make it easier for them to find any information they need on their constituency within just a few taps. It will provide an entire picture of a constituency, and help MPs identify existing challenges to make evidence-based decisions, she added.
Zunaid Ahmed Palak, state minister of ICT, said "This app will reflect the citizen's needs and help MPs act accordingly. They can connect their work in their constituency with both the SDGs and the government's overarching vision for development."
"Data is of huge importance while making these decisions, and the app organises, and to some extent, analyses data on constituencies. It can greatly benefit future decision-making and inclusive development. We want to build a data-driven nation," he added.
Sudipto Mukerjee, resident representative of UNDP Bangladesh, in his welcoming speech, said, "UNDP is one of the largest organisations in the world in terms of working with parliaments."
"I am happy to have been part of this whole journey, and I hope this app will impact the generation of good data in the country. It is time to act with the power of data in your hands," he added.
Charles Chauvel, team leader for Inclusive Political Processes Governance and Peacebuilding under the Bureau of Policy and Programme Support of UNDP, said, "The level of talent and dedication in Bangladesh is commendable. There is a need to do better in environmental protection and spreading the benefits of economic development throughout Bangladesh."
This unique app will surely help parliamentarians stay up-to-date and address these issues, he added.
In a later part of the event, Anir Chowdhury, Policy Adviser, a2i presented the data platform, while Deputy Speaker, Fazle Rabbi Miah moderated the question and answer session.
Among others, attendees included: Dr Zafar Ahmed Khan, senior secretary of the Parliament Secretariat, Zuena Aziz; principal coordinator of SDG Affairs at the PMO; Md. Kamal Hossain, secretary (Coordination & Reforms) of theCabinet Division; Mohammad Tajul Islam, director general, BBS; Radwan Mujib Siddiq, trustee of CRI; and Mozammel Haque, policy specialist of UNDP.
Upon the renewal of UNDP's memorandum of understanding with the parliament in 2019, the organisation set out to strengthen the capacities of MPs and the parliament's secretariat as well as support MPs with better access to evidence-based data and organisational development. The data platform was a priority activity, supported by an a2i project of UNDP and the government of Bangladesh.