Speakers at a working session of the two-day Bangladesh Development Forum underscored the need for a holistic and inclusive approach with the coordination of all concerned agencies and stakeholders to improve urban service delivery to help ensure sustainable development.
“Coordination of all concerned agencies and stakeholders and good governance are prerequisite for improving urban services for sustainable development,” Center for Urban Studies (CUS) Chairman Professor Nazrul Islam told the BDF working session at a city hotel.
Bangladesh Investment Development Authority (BIDA) Executive Chairman Kazi M Aminul Islam chaired the session while a Director General at the LGRD and cooperatives ministry, ASM Mahbubul Alam, presented the keynote paper on “Improving urban service delivery for sustainable development”.
United Nations Habitat Programme Manager and Representative to Bangladesh Md. Akhtaruzzaman, Senior director of strategy, communications and empowerment of BRAC Asif Saleh and former chairman of Tongi municipality Advocate Azmat Ullah Khan, among others, addressed the session.
Prof Nazrul termed the traffic congestion as one the major problems in city life including in Dhaka and suggested improving management of transportation instead of focusing on only construction of flyovers.
“Only construction of flyovers would not minimize the traffic congestion in the major cities in the country including Dhaka and Chittagong. Proper management of transpiration is a must to this end,” he said.
In his keynote speech, Mahbubul Alam said the government has been promoting public private partnership to improve urban service delivery to such extent that would help materialize the Vision 2021.
He said at present around 30 percent people live in urban areas in Bangladesh and this will stand at 50 percent by 2050.
In this regard, the government has integrated different things in the seventh five year plan (SFYP) including sustainable urban development, infrastructures like road and connectivity, water supply, sanitation, drainage, waste management that supports increased productivity, employment and investment, he observed.
Alam said four city corporations and 28 municipalities have been created since 2009 and presently 103 urban projects (out of 222 of Local Government Division) are underway having a total cost of Taka 60,994 crore.
In his address, Aktaruzzaman suggested giving first priority to long term plans before investing in any infrastructural development in the country including in cities.
Due to lack of a proper long term plan, Sirajganj town, which is connected by river and railways and which is close to the capital city of Dhaka, could not be developed and it has been now a dead city, he added.
In terms of improving urban services, the UN habitat programme manager, underscored the need for making coordination among implementing agencies, users and service providers.
Sometimes people think that keeping the city clean is the duty of the corporation only, but it is the responsibility of citizens also to cooperate with the authority in the process and they should not throw dirt and garbage anywhere, he said.