Engine of Economic Development - Strengthening Local Government and Citizens’ Participation
The recent local government elections in Bangladesh underlined the significance of local governance as an engine of long-term economic development. There has been considerable effort by civil society, the media, academicians and the public to address the need for presenting local views and push for national level policy reforms. A grass-root institutional strategy that strengthens democratic citizens’ participation is a focus in the Bangladesh constitution. However, gaps and weaknesses remain considerable.
The Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom (FNF), Bangladesh works on local governance issues with the Liberal Forum Chittagong (LF). The aim is to identify liberal solutions to strengthen the local government in Chittagong city. This involves an assessment of the role of local governments in the urban areas of Chittagong. LF intends to monitor the performance of local service providers, like elected officials, government officials, school teachers and medical practitioners.
A while ago, a delegation from LF visited Praja Foundation, a long standing partner of FNF India. The visit aimed at learning more about Praja’s successful work towards improving the quality of life of the citizens of Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai (MCGM). LF plans to organize similar activities in Chittagong in cooperation with FNF Bangladesh.
Dr. Najmul Hossain, Country Representative, FNF Bangladesh stresses that there is a need to facilitate coordination among private and public development institutes in issues of local governance. Dissemination of LF’s research findings would highlight policy implications and facilitate exchange programs to design future activities, he said.