Open Forum for CSO Development Effectiveness: Bangladesh National Process


4th high level forum (HLF) on aid effectiveness will be held at South Korea next year. At this HLF, a multi-stakeholders debate with governments, donors and other development actors on CSO development effectiveness and enabling environment for CSOs would be initiated. A framework on CSO Development Effectiveness would be placed to the HLF for initiating the debate. Perhaps CSOs would get equal status on discussion of Aid Effectiveness along with governments, donors and other development actors if the debate satisfies all stakeholders that CSOs are capable to deliver a positive change.

An open fourm process began with a series of four regional training seminars in Europe, Latin America, Asia and Afria in 2009 and  a outreach toolkit  developed for initiating national level consultation on CSO Development Effectiveness as well as mechanisms, guidelines and indicators for implementation including minimum standards for enabling environment for CSOs. Bangladesh Consultation on Open Forum for CSO Effectiveness took place on 15-16 June at HDRC of Proshika, Koitta, Manikganj where CSO leaders from different corners of Bangladesh participated to discuss mechanisms and guidelines for enabling environment for CSOs in development practices. Maria Thersa Lauren from APRN and Anil K. Singh from SANSAD participated in Bangladesh consultation as key personnel for Asia-Pacific region on CSO Development Effectiveness.

After 15 years long struggle (1975-1990) against millitary autocratic regime, Bangladesh regained democracy in 1990. During millitary regime, the autocratic governments were not accountable to the people while they have a sound relation with development partners as well as donors.  But during democratic regime (after 1990), a few voice raised on foreign aid demanding accountability which is becoming stronger day by day. The budget analysts of Bangladesh have pointed out  that 14% of total budget (2009-10) allocated for paying the interest of loans which is higher than health budget of Bangladesh. 

Foreign Loan and Loan Payment

 Period Foreign Loan Received by Govt. Govt. Paid to Creditor Remain (Net) Amount of Foreign Loan
First 6 Month 2009-10 130,40,00,000 *45,58,00,000 84,82,00,000
First 6 Month, 2008-09 107,00,00,000 ** 88,00,00,000

Source: Drivers of Economy

Not only debt burden, the development partners set a series of conditionalities with aid programme which reducing benefit of aid in development of the state; corruption is also inspired indirectly from these system. In the recent past, European Union ambassador to Dhaka, Stefan Frowein pushed that the World Bank should manage Bangladesh’s Multi-Donor Trust Fund on a temporary basis.    The right activists termed this as neo-colonial  EU position on MDTF which will create an unecessary space for World Bank to dictate Bangladesh.

In 1980’s, Bangladesh implemented Structural Adjustment Programme as prescribed by World Bank and IMF which spreaded out corruption at public administration and among the politicians and Bangladesh became number one corrupt country. World Bank and IMF were criticised worldwide for imposing  Structural Adjustment Programme to the least development countries demanding compensation for derailing the development process of different countries. Then they again come up with another prescription like  `Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper (PRSP)’. More and more countries like Bangladesh formulated Poverty Reduction Strategy for imposing conditionalities like PRSP for seeking loan and grants from the development partners. The recent government of Bangladesh criticised these practices of development partners and seeking development assistance from them based on fifth year plan which the earlier governments could not able to pressure the development partners as like!

CSOs come up in these point to bargain to both parties; development partners to show aid accountability and government to show implementation accountability. Bangladesh consultation hardly discuss these issues to provide input to the draft framework. Hope, the policy leaders of CSO development effectiveness will assert these missing issues.

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