Partnerships for Peace – Dignity for All

21 Sep 2015

Each year the International Day of Peace is observed around the world on the 21 September. The United Nations General Assembly has declared this as a day devoted to strengthening the ideals of peace, both within and among all nations and peoples. The theme of this year’s commemoration is “Partnerships for Peace – Dignity for All” which aims to highlight the importance of all segments of society to work together to strive for harmony – whether it be government, private sector or civil society groups – peace and development that leaves no-one behind. Bangladesh has been a stand out performer not just in economic growth but in poverty alleviation too.  Growth is steady at 6.25% and at the same time poverty has fallen from 56.7 percent in 1991-92 to 31.5 percent in 2010.  The under-five mortality rate has been reduced, significant progress has been made in attaining gender parity at primary and secondary schools, and remarkable improvements have been made in the areas of poverty reduction. This was reflected in a 2010 Household Income and Expenditure Survey indicated that incidences of poverty are declining at a rate of 2.47 percent per year since 1991/92.  But the growth and progress seen across … Read more

The Missing Life Blood of Bangladesh

13 Aug 2015

The difficulties of effective delivery of emergency health services in Bangladesh can be considered one of the focuses of development organizations. Ensuring that citizens receive all the support they require in emergency situations is an issue that development organizations must address in order to build inclusive resilience. Services, like timely delivery to hospitals, trained doctors and enough medical supplies are all constantly in high-demand for citizens of Bangladesh.  Bangladesh has been working tirelessly to supply constant emergency services to over 166 million people. The responsibility that the health sector is burdened with is not to be underestimated. In dealing with the lives of 166 million people it is acknowledged that even to provide basic services with the current infrastructure of Bangladesh is difficult.  In rural areas, due to constant flooding, the roads get washed away on a regular basis, making it very difficult for Ambulances to move around. In addition, the hospitals are usually ill equipped to deal with medical emergencies. Even though Bangladesh has renowned quality of their medical certification, there is a distinct lack of incentives for doctors to work in rural areas, as they can easily find more financially lucrative jobs elsewhere.  In the major cities, issues relating … Read more

Celebration of International Youth Day

12 Aug 2015

Drishty Chittagong won the International Youth Day debate by effectively arguing that good governance and strong implementation of policies must accompany employment opportunities in order to address issues such as drug use by youth.
Wednesday August 12th marked the annual celebration of International Youth Day. This year’s theme of “civic engagement” was spot on for the UNDP’s pilot project, Youth Empowerment for Development (YED). Over the past six months, UNDP has been testing approaches to encourage young people’s engagement with policy and decision makers starting with strengthening and amplifying youth voices. Centering around “civic engagement”, IYD activities in Chittagong included a youth fair, which highlighted opportunities for young people, a debate on youth unemployment and a dialogue with councilors from Chittagong City Corporation (CCC). Building on the success of the CCC election dialogue, the dialogue offered a rare opportunity for young people to directly interact with elected councilors from CCC.  It was very clear that young people have a strong desire to play a greater role in the running of the CCC and very much wanted to be part of the solution to many challenges the city faces such as the preservation of Chittagong’s remaining hills, traffic congestion and waterlogging. Furthermore, youth asked after the plans CCC had to incorporate the concerns and needs of street children, the hijra community and differently abled residents, including those with vision impairments. As Pauline Tamesis, UNDP Country Director, … Read more

Transforming towards digitalization of Bangladesh Judiciary

09 Jul 2015

Releasing of Timely Justice for All in Bangladesh-Business Process Mapping Publication by the Hon’ble Chief Justice of Bangladesh in the workshop.
A well-functioning judiciary is a crucial determinant of a country's economic performance. It promotes efficient production and distribution of goods and services by securing, among other things, the enforcement of contracts. Conversely, weak contract enforcement could lead firms adopting inefficient technologies (for example those that minimise dependence on other firms), with detrimental effects on productivity. It is widely understood that a judiciary effective in enforcing the rule of law would not only be conducive to trade, financing and investment but would also promote social peace and trust. However, judicial systems, particularly in developing countries, continue to suffer from inefficiencies that have a negative impact on socio-economic well-being. Commonly faced lacunae in judicial performance include (a) length of time it takes for cases to be disposed; (b) uncertainty in the progress of judicial proceedings; and (c) difficulty for the common man to access judicial services, particularly related to the cases she/he is concerned with or is a party to. In this backdrop caseflow management as an approach to keep track of cases and ensure their smooth passage through allocation of most appropriate time and resources forms the very backbone of the judicial system. Caseflow management techniques are now widely adopted as a … Read more

A field trip where I was laughed at

05 Jul 2015

“A vast majority of the people do not have access to justice in Bangladesh”. This sentence in one form or the other is not only part of all the project documents UNDP is currently supporting in the justice sector but many speeches, reports, articles etc open or end with this sentence. This simple sentence evades the complex contexts and situations the country faces. Working in the justice sector for a year now, I thought I understood what this simple sentence meant until a field trip to Rangpur last week opened my eyes, the objective of which was to provide input into the new women’s access to justice programme.  In many senses, justice begins with injustice; knowing ones rights have been violated and an injustice committed. The constitution of Bangladesh enshrines equality before the law which means one has a right to redress no matter one’s social, religious, economic or cultural background; no matter if one is poor, a woman, a child, a hijra, a hindu, an ahmediyan, a Chakma, or without a limb. But injustice begins even before that, it begins with defining injustice in a society which is gnarled with social norms, values, principles and culture, some noble and some … Read more