Local government now cannot work independently despite being an independent body, according to former caretaker government adviser Dr Akbar Ali Khan.“Local government is not directly a part of central government. It is an independent body. Despite being a small entity, it has huge tasks and responsibilities,” he told a discussion in the capital on Monday.
Brac’s Community Empowerment Programme and the Hunger Project jointly organised the discussion on ‘Localisation of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)’ at BRAC Centre Inn.
Dr Akbar Ali, also a former bureaucrat, said Upazila Parishad has been weakened through nomination of the members of parliament (MPs) as its adviser while local elites also always put pressure on the local government.
Calling up the members of civil society to play their role as watchdog in this regard, he said representatives of the local government must place their demands to the central government and child marriage, which is one of the impediments to women’s empowerment, should be eradicated.
Bangladesh has achieved marked progress in the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), particularly poverty elimination, but there is not remarkable progress in human development index, Akbar Ali said.
Bangladesh lags behind in ensuring nutrition and access to safe drinking water to all, he said, it must come up with the right priorities to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which will begin in 2016.
Former governor of Bangladesh Bank Dr Saleh Uddin Ahmed said despite having remarkable progress in achieving MDGs, Bangladesh did not achieve all goals, so it must formulate work plan in context of MDG reality to achieve the SDGs.
The work plan should be a participatory one, he said. Goals could not be achieved with any one-sided plan, which comes from the central government.
UNDP resident coordinator to Bangladesh Robert Watkins and global vice president of the Hunger Project Dr Badiul Alam Majumder, among others, spoke at the discussion.