The active participation of civil society organisations in development initiatives is essential to making Bangladesh’s development more effective and sustainable, said speakers.
They came up with the view at the Bangladesh NGO-CSO Coordination Process (BDCSO Process) annual meeting on Saturday.
The three-day annual meeting of the network of around 600 local and national NGOs, CSOs began Saturday.
Participants in the session titled ‘Local civil society: why and how building a third sector’ also demanded legal acknowledgement of NGOs and CSOs’ contributions to development across the country.
The session was chaired by prominent economist and chairman of PKSF Kazi Khaliquzzaman Ahmad. Director General of NGO Affairs Bureau KM Tariqul Islam was the chief guest at the session.
Deputy Secretary of the Development Effectiveness Wing of the Ministry of Finance Ak Azad, Sudipta Mukherjee of UNDP and Michelle Mousulman of Christian Aid spoke as special guests.
Kazi Khaliquzzaman Ahmed said local administration needs to involve local government as well as local civil society to make development sustainable.
“Local NGOs and CSOs are working with transparency and accountability, but we have a lot more to do. We need to ensure the dignified participation of all, not just the development of our own organization,” he said.
NGOs, according to NGO Affairs Bureau DG KM Tariqul Islam, play a critical role in the development of marginalized people, particularly at the grassroots level, despite their many limitations.
In addition to the government, NGOs and CSOs play an important role in development, he said.
On the one hand, civil society will communicate the government’s messages to citizens, and on the other side, civil society will communicate the citizens’ words to the government, he added.
Michael Mosulman said that local civil society works with local people, and local organizations are accountable to local people.
Therefore, local organizations can play an important role in conveying the views of local people and thus ensuring the accountability of the government, he said.
Azad said, “We have entered an era of development effectiveness from the aid effectiveness. The Government of Bangladesh is leading the world in making development effective, and the government is committed to creating opportunities for civil society to participate in development activities.”
Sudipta Mukherjee said the role of civil society in Bangladesh is commendable all over the world. To make development sustainable, it has to rely on local strength, and local organizations can play an effective role in involving local people, he said.
Abdul Awal of NRDS and Supro, Faizullah Chowdhury of BUP, Naeem Gawhar Wahra of Disaster Forum, Rafiqul Islam Khokon of Rupantar, Sheikh Asaduzzaman of Udayan Bangladesh and Jasmine Sultana Paru of ELLMA also spoke on the occasion.