Policy Formulation

Policy Formulation in Bangladesh: An Analysis of Environment Policy, 1992

Like many other emerging democracies, most public policies in Bangladesh are generally framed by the traditional bureaucratic elite following a ‘top down’ approach. In general, the members of the bureaucracy at the ministries draft and process the policy in general and sometimes with tacit approval of the political executives. There is no culture among the policy makers to consult the civil society, NGOs and other stakeholders to make public policies people-oriented and truly responsive. However, during the formulation of the Environment Policy 1992, as a distinct departure from the previous trends, the government initiated a process of public consultation and involved civil society bodies, the professional groups and the NGOs. After analyzing the whole formulation process, the study has identified a number of actors and factors that played a critical role at policy demand, agenda setting, formulation and approval stages. From initiation to approval, the major institutional actors were: United Nations and some of the specialized agencies, selected donor agencies, specialized regional organizations, environmental NGOs, professional bureaucrats, key politicians and a set of consultants/ activists. These actors and factors had contributed significantly to the policy at different stages with varying degree of involvement. In brief, at the policy demand and policy agenda levels, actors and factors outside the government played the dominant role, whereas at the formulation and approval stages, the members of bureaucracy took the lead role. In the overall environmental policy-making process, UN bodies and the NGOs played effective roles in devising a perspective, through their supplementary support in the form of technical assistance and mobilization of public opinion.
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