CSO and MPs demand a legal frame for Civil Society engagement in project implementation

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Dhaka 29 September 2021, in a seminar, MPs [Member of the Parliament], CSOs (Civil Society Organization) and experts have demanded a legal frame for Civil Society engagement in development project implementation. They also opined that government top down planning strategy in fact a hinders civil society engagement. That’s why sustainable development would hardly be achieved through our existing development planning and implementation paradigm. The seminar is organized by a network of COAST Foundation, CSRL [Center for Sustainable Rural Livelihood].

Mr. Asheq Ullah Rafiq MP Cox’s Bazar-2 has participated as Chief Guest. The seminar is moderated by Mr. Rezaul Karim Chowdhury from COAST and Ziaul Hoque Mukta of CSRL, where Mrs. Sayeda Rubina Akter, MP, Women Seat 28, Gloria Jharna Sarker, MP, Women Seat 30 participated as special guest. Dr. Rezaul Houqe Management Director –BCCT, (Bangladesh Climate Change Trust] Md. Shamsuddoha, Chief Executive, CPRD, Md. Masum, CDP, Md. Bazlur Rahaman, BNNRC, Mr. Nikhil Chandra Vadra, Coastal Protection Movement, Mr.Aminur Rasul Babul have participated and spoke. The keynote was presented by Syed Aminul Hoque from COAST.

In a keynote presentation, Aminul Hoque of COAST said that, Government giving thousands of development projects every year that are unable to ensure effective monitoring by IMED [Internal Monitoring & Evaluation Division]. In this context, civil society engagement during project implementation and monitoring could increase their quality and effectiveness that is proved at present. Government can learn and develop a built-in framework in the project development phase that facilitates civil society engagement with regular & systematic monitoring and reporting mechanism to local government and respective ministries. He proposed two major demands on this issue. I.e. A legal framework through the parliamentary process to make it obligatory for all ministries & development authorities to engage civil society while they develop and implement their project. (ii)  Government can develop a parliamentary oversight monitoring mechanism with local representatives on the implementing projects and (iii). Local government [district and Upazila administration] should be made mandatory to hold public hearings periodically on ongoing implementation and their progress.

Mr. Asheq Ullah Rafiq MP said that civil society is the fourth eye of any country that aware government of any irregularities, ensure accountability and transparency. We should strengthen this stake with proper law and regulatory framework.

Dr. Rezaul Hoque opined that there are a lot of challenges to face in integrating civil society with project implementation monitoring. But this initiative is very good and prospect in future we have to work more on this issue.

Md. Bazlur Rahaman opines there have many governments formed standing committees at the local level to work and monitoring on the local implementing projects. We have to need better coordination with them to strengthen other civil society mechanisms.

Advocate Alamgir Hossain from Rangpur said government officials and local contractors do not welcome civil society engagement in project implementation monitoring. This has been happening due to the lack of a legal framework.

Rezaul Karim Chowdhury opined government will have to focus more to strengthen its institutional monitoring capacity by deploying more human resources according to the volume of project implementation. Civil Society will be a supportive and complementary force to make them effective.

Related Papers [Bangla Position paper] [Bangla Press Release] [English Press Release] [Position Paper]

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