In connection of UN resolution, two day long international conference on “Peoples Empowerment and Development” has kicked off in Dhaka today for the welfare of the world’s one billion bottom line people. More than 80 high level delegations from 63 member countries of United Nations have come to Bangladesh to discuss about the development model presented by Honorable Prime Minister of Bangladesh Sheikh Hasina in the United Nations General Assembly in last year.
Highlighting sustained democracy and empowerment of the people as fundamental instruments for development, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s model placed the following mutually reinforcing peace multipliers as essential preconditions for sustainable peace: (i) eradication of poverty and hunger, (ii) reduction of inequality, (iii) mitigation of deprivation, (iv) creation of jobs for all, (v) inclusion of excluded people, (vi) acceleration of human development, and (vii) fighting of terrorism. Moreover, all these need to be addressed in cohesion placing people at the center of all development and peace endeavor.
It is interesting to know that we are discussing about a development model living in a world in which more than 3 billion people suffer from extreme poverty, hunger, disease, malnutrition and illiteracy, and millions live in conflict and deprivation of their fundamental freedoms and human rights, peace remains elusive than ever.
It is more interesting that we have already concluded discussion of Rio+ for sustainable development after 15 years journey of Rio Declaration. We have now at the end line of Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and prepare the discussion of Post-MDGs.
But all interesting declarations of these discussions and conferences get a minimum results in practice and create another environment of discussion. So, we are living in a discussion cycle!
With an enthusiasm, we want to believe to break this cycle of discussion through adopting a new system for creating a new era of people’s participation in development process.
How can we achieve the pillars of peace of development like (i) eradication of poverty and hunger, (ii) reduction of inequality, (iii) mitigation of deprivation, (iv) creation of jobs for all, (v) inclusion of excluded people, (vi) acceleration of human development, and (vii) fighting of terrorism recommended by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina? How can we ensure the people’s participation in the decision making process? We need to think these first before just writing another resolution for self-complacency!
We have found people have not access in the decision making process due to centralized system of making decision. So, we need to break the centralization by empowering local governments. In Bangladesh, we have 3-tiers of powerless local governments which we need to empower if we really believe in people’s participation in decision making process. So, we need decentralization of administration with power of budget formulation and implementation of development activities on behave of national government. In this regard, campaign on Zilla Budget has been kicked off in Bangladesh which needs positive treatment from government and policy makers for a real change of the decision making process!
Now the cooperative model for people’s participation in decision making process have come again in the ground of discussion. So, we need to emphasis on cooperatives which will help to bring the people in the decision making cycle for local and national development. In the context of developing country like Bangladesh, we have not any alternative but cooperative for ensuring real participation of people in the national development. So, proposed pillars of peace and development recommended by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina could be achieved by decentralization of central administration where people will participate in decision making process through cooperatives which will be linked with the local government.
Hope, the delegates of the conference on People’s Empowerment and Development will bring a positive and real change through taking the above context in their thought, putting the agenda in the national, regional and global discussion.