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Social Accountability is Imperative for Sustainable Development in Rural Areas
March 2, 2013
Policy makers of the Government, representatives of Local Government Institutions from all over the country and development partners underlined that the participatory planning and budgeting, social inclusion, social accountability and monitoring are imperative for sustainable development of the poorest and the most marginalized communities including women. They emphasized that the process of social accountability has the potential to ensure highest utilization of resources in a transparent and efficient manner. Sharing experiences of practicing social accountability process the representatives of 17 champion union parishads (UP) pointed out that replication of this process in all UPs in the country would contributed to make a huge socio-economic development at the grassroots level. The speakers shared the experiences at a Thematic Workshop on Social Accountability organized by the LGD of the Government with support from CARE Bangladesh and Water and Sanitation Program of the World Bank, held at the Pan Pacific Sonargaon Hotel in the city.

Addressing the workshop, as the Chief Guest, Director General of the National Institute of Local Government Kabir M. Ashraf Alam NDC said that LGI is identifying good practices through Horizontal learning Program and replication of these practices would help ensuring best utilization of financial resources and social changes. Swapan Kumar Sarkar, Director General and Additional Secretary, LGD said that the Government is ready to accept all good learning of LGI by making necessary revisions in the rules and regulation of the Government. He, however, said that the social accountability system has already been incorporated in Local Governance Support Project and other project of the Government.

Presided over by Zuena Aziz, Additional Secretary, LGD the workshop was also addressed among others by Mr. Shams Uddin Ahmed, Deputy Secretary, LGD, Santanu Lahari, Senior Decentralization Specialist, Water and sanitation Program, World Bank and Anowarul Haq, Director, CARE. The chairmen of UPs recognized as champions for implementing Social Accountability process presented their experiences in the workshop are Swapan Kumar Das, Betgaon UP, Bagethat, Md. Rafiqul Islam Faruque, Dainnya UP, Tangail, Abul Kalam Shamsuddin, Maguraghona UP, Dumuria, Khulna, Md. Saidur Rahman Sarkar, Botlagari UP, Syedpur, Nilphamari, Md. Moyeen Uddin, Shakhipur UP, Debhata, Satkhira and Md. Abdul Gafur, Jatrapur UP, Kurigram sadar. More than 120 participants from the Government, development partners and LGI participated in the workshop.

The local champions in their presentations said that participation of the people from all work life in planning, implementation and monitoring of development activities help providing ownership of the activities and it is very effective for ensuring sustainable development in rural Bangladesh. They said in the social accountability process community people, irrespective of poor and effluent, male and female, caste and creed have the opportunity to participate in every stage of development activities.

The workshop made a set of recommendation for the consideration of the Government for smooth implementation of social accountability process. These are:
1. Activating Union Development Coordination Committee in all unions
2. Establishing accountability of non government organizations towards Union Parishad
3. Organizing one national cross learning event annually and two cross learning events bi-annually at district level
4. Organizing “Tax Fair” on a regular basis
5. Allocating special budget allocation for the disadvantaged communities
6. Organizing horizontal learning process for in the unions where promising initiatives on social accountability are taking place to enhance the knowledge and skills of interested unions.

Workshop presentations:

Summary Presentation
Presentation on Third Party Monitoring
Presentation on Social Inclusion
Presentation on Participatory Planning and Budgeting

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