The Local Government Division (LGD), the UN Capital Development Fund (UNCDF), the UN Development Programme (UNDP), the European Union (EU) and Danida (Denmark) have reaffirmed their commitment to further strengthen the functions and functionaries of the Union Parishad System through the signing of a new development project titled “Union Parishad Governance Project” (UPGP).
The US$ 18.39 project was signed between Economic Relations Division (ERD) and its partners in a formal ceremony at Economic Relations Division (ERD). ERD secretary Iqbal Mahmood and country director of UNDP Stefan Preisner signed the agreement on behalf government and development partners respectively.
The project aims at strengthening the capacity of Union Parishad, fostering service delivery and promoting participatory local development with special emphasis on MDGs realization.
UPGP is a part of programmatic framework prepared in consultation with the government, UNCDF, UNDP, European Union (EU), Swiss Development Cooperation (SDC) and Danida (Denmark) to deepen local democracy and scale up support with an aim to achieve MDGs for Bangladesh. UPGP follows the signature of Upazila Parishad Governance Project (UZGP) which was signed in August this year. UPGP and UZGP complement each other and linked vertically and horizontally.
This multiyear joint programme will be implemented all over the country during the period 2011-2016. Direct fiscal support will be provided approximately to 400-450 Union Parishads of seven districts - Kishoreganj, Brahmanbaria, Sunamganj, Sirajganj, Khulna, Barguna and Rangpur. UNCDF and UNDP will provide respectively US$ 2 million and 1.5 million while the European Union (EU) has committed to provide US$ 19 million (approx. € 14 million) for both projects (US$ 9.3 million for UPGP and 9.7 for million for UZGP), Danida US$. 5.58 million and GoB taka 8 crore.
On the occasion, the Ambassador of the European Union, William Hanna, said “This programme will give more power to councils and communities, as we know that the more powerful the people are, the stronger the society.”
The Ambassador of Denmark to Bangladesh Svend Olling, added “Denmark as part of its development priority will support the UPGP project to promote good governance and democratic practices at local level. Denmark expects that with the implementation of this project, selected Union Parishads will become model of pro-poor service providers and contribute positively in attaining the Government of Bangladesh’s Vision 2021.”
“We are excited to help the Bangladeshi Government empower the Union Parishads as key institutions for providing effective and efficient service delivery to the poor communities in Bangladesh. We can imagine a future Bangladesh where rural areas will thrive and growth benefits will reach the poor and marginalised” said Mr. Stefan Priesner, Country Director, UNDP Bangladesh.
In a message David Jackson Head of UNCDF Regional Office in Bangkok said “This new intervention will help in testing third generation of innovations that UN agencies have been working on in local governance in Bangladesh”.
UPGP will provide support to the government focusing on better service delivery and to facilitate better engagement among electorate, government officials and key functionaries aimed at improving service delivery for the people. It will focus on three outputs a) attainment of MGD at the local level, b) strengthening the accountability and transparency of union parishads through citizen’s engagement and c) strengthening the capacity of local government institutions.