Local Governance

Md. Shahriar Islam's picture

Good Democratic Local Governance in Bangladesh: Ramification of Upazila Parishad in Accelerating Local Development

The objective of the paper is to look at the various governance and democratic aspects such as participation, accountability, transparency, rule of law etc. at the Upazila level in Bangladesh and to what extent the indicators portray good democratic local governance at the Upazila level. This paper examines to what extent the aspects of governance and democracy is being channeled to ensure that the needs and wants of the local people are met and alleviate poverty towards local development. Our paper would discuss whether the Upazila Parishad in Bangladesh is ensuring good democratic local governance to expedite the development process at the local level.
Govind Prashad Dhakal's picture

Policy and Practice of Urban Planning in Nepal: A Case of Public Community Participation

Modern urban planning practices began in Nepal after 1950, when the country was freed from the clutches of the age-old feudocracy of the Ranas. The initiative for urban planning practices were undertaken with the support of the United Nations when it, under the request of the Government of Nepal, sent three people to sketch the urban policy, urban planning and urban rules and regulations. Since then, Nepal passed through different policies and planning phases for urban development, the planning of urban areas has remained one of the low key areas till date. As a result, unplanned growth of the major cities of Nepal with haphazardly built urban infrastructures having negative consequences on urban environment can be seen in the form of clumsiness, crowding and congestion, absence of security measures and lack of neighborhood continuum. In the absence of the government’s visionary intervention with an integrated plan for urban land management and development has now created difficulties in making cities well circulated and livable. To overcome this sorry state, the government, from the 10th five year plan, has begun a policy and plan for land development with the concept of site and service and land pooling system with the partnership of the land owners so that the city’s bad shape could be changed to a minimum functional city specifically for Kathmandu Valley. Under this policy plan, the government, under the banner of Town Development Committees has been engaged in planning for better urban areas. Some projects have already been completed and some more are gaining ground. So, this paper aims to examine the urban policy initiations by the government of Nepal and their implications in urban planning, and has taken a case to see how the present practice of urban planning under the strategy of community (land owners) participation is continuing. Today, the question is how to resolve the conflict that arises from the public consumer participation and what major implications of such practices would be in reform and management of urban areas. Basically, the paper has been based on the secondary sources of information, however, some discussion with officials and the stakeholders have also been undertaken so as to understand the problems and their effect on planning. To chop a tree quickly, spend twice the time sharpening your axe. Chinese proverb

Who Participates and Who Doesn’t? Lessons from a Community-based Development Project in Bangladesh

It is generally claimed that the second wave of participatory development, which received momentum in the 1990s, tends to be informed with broad-based social inclusion, social change and transformation. However, many have portrayed participatory development —the way it has been managed — as tyranny. This paper is a further attempt to explore some of these tyrannies of participation by focusing on a participatory development project in Bangladesh. This paper draws on a comparative case study on two project communities, and investigates: first, how socio-economic differentiation influences the extent of participation; and second, how this influence may be exaggerated by faulty project implementation guidelines. It is found that people’s ability to participate in community development project is greatly influenced by socio-economic status measured by, for example, household income, educational background and residency status. No additional effort from the project management side was made to include the most disadvantaged community people in the project activities or to make the weaker participants more active in group activities.

Development Role of the Local Governance Institutions in Bangladesh: Empirical Overview

Local governance institutions are widely recognized as the best ground in which people can learn the art of governance through their own experiences and the reality that exists around them. Local government is also always, in all circumstances, considered as the important vehicle and only the means to provide state benefits and services to the local inhabitants. This paper attempts to analyze the performance of local governance institutions (public, non-profit and private) in Bangladesh in a critical and a comparative manner. It is found that, despite frequent reform measures, the public institutions have failed to become people-oriented democratic units due to strong intervention of formal and informal actors. As a result, corruption has burgeoned and pervaded every sector of the country as fatal disease, and has become an inevitable part of the daily life in Bangladesh. The findings of this paper indicate that the public institution is structurally stronger than the non-profit and private institutions but functionally weaker. The paper also suggests that strong public institutions can not work effectively and efficiently given their various malfunctioning practices, while comparatively weak institutional structures (NGOs) are able to work efficiently due to their good practices. As a result, it is recommended that in order to eradicate and overcome the features of poor governance, the partnership form of local governance system might be the best possible solution in aid recipient countries like Bangladesh.

Challenges of People’s Participation at Local Governance: A Case Study on the Standing Committees of Union Parishad in Bangladesh

The concept of "'local governance" is definitely a new and interesting dimension in the field of governance. Some researchers and academics are trying to explore the idea of local governance after observing the year-long failure of local government and local agencies of central government. The basic question, which has been raised by governance thinkers, is - what of the vehicle by which the goal of "regenerating the local economy" is to be achieved? This is where a focus on local governance becomes of critical relevance. The cast of actors who matter here extend well beyond the traditional focus on local governments. The presence of many actors, however, does not simply imply diversity; there is a certain matching of actors to roles. In this regard, the role of people’s participation in the local governance mechanism is pertinent. An effective local governance mechanism plays a critical role in economic development and social justice. In the institutionalization of governance, in most developing countries like Bangladesh, local government suffers from negligence and is most often lost in the shadow of national policies, practices, and efforts at economic growth and social and political development. In Bangladesh, the only elected local institution, i.e. the Union Parishad still remains weak due to the overshadowing dark clouds of inefficiency, lack of resources and political corruption resulting in a low level of confidence of people in it. The different standing committees of Union Parishad are the main institutional avenue for the people’s participation in the local decision making process. This paper analyzed the current level of activities and functions of Standing Committees, their involvement with the local people as well as the perceptions of local community regarding their performance. It also presents a policy framework on better functioning of standing committees of Union Parishad to strengthen the local governance.
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