Local Government and Rural Development (LGRD) Minister Md Tajul Islam on Thursday said capacities, accountability and transparency of local government institutions (LGIs) have increased after successful implementation of five-year-long "Efficient and Accountable Local Governance (EALG)" project and, therefore, its good practices should be replicated in LGIs. He said this at an event titled "Stakeholders' Conference on Local Governance: Progress, Learning and Way Forward", organised by the Local Government Division (LGD) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) at Bangabandhu International Conference Centre here, a UNDP press release said.
Speaking as the chief guest, Tazul Islam said: "Local government institutions need to be accountable to the people by providing better services to the community and the local representatives should earn dignity by their work for the people".
Addressing the conference as a special guest, Sudipto Mukerjee, Resident Representative of UNDP Bangladesh, said the EALG project has been working with the local government for the last five years to localise SDGs and build the capacity of Union Parishads and Upazila Parishad and provide policy support to the government for establishing effective local government systems, leaving no one behind. He thanked Switzerland and Denmark for their support to implement the project and stressed continuing the support to the local government. Nathalie Chuard, Ambassador, Embassy of Switzerland, in her remarks as a special guest said: "In relation to strengthening local governance in Bangladesh, we work with the government and development partners to ensure transparency, accountability, efficiency and inclusivity so that no one is left behind".
She further added, "One of the key lessons we learned from EALG is that coordinated development planning and monitoring by the local government is crucial to ensure effective and optimum utilisation of scarce resources and also avoid overlapping of activities".
Earlier, Md. Mozammel Haque, Programme Analyst, UNDP Bangladesh, presented the keynote paper on EALG Project and its Key Achievements. Among others, Mohammed Mezbah Uddin Chowdhury, Secretary, Local Government Division; Shariful Hoque, Project Coordinator of the EALG Project; Deputy Director of Local Government from nine districts; Chairman and Vice Chairman of Upazila Parishads and Chairman of Union Parishads; Upazila Nirbahi Officers also spoke. With support from the Embassy of Switzerland and Denmark, the Efficient and Accountable Local Governance (EALG) project of the Local Government Division and UNDP has been implemented in 251 UPs and 18 UZPs in nine districts.
The project played an important role in identifying and solving local social problems by holding public hearings in Union Parishads and Upazila Parishads. It has not only helped the local government institutions to learn about the public opinion on its services, but also to find immediate solutions or plans.