EU, UNDP to finance local governance programmeStaff Correspondent
The European Union and the United Nations Development Programme on Tuesday signed a contract to finance a local governance and decentralisation programme for union and upazila parishads.
Ambassador William Hanna, head of the delegation of the European Union to Bangladesh, and Stefan Priesner, UNDP country director, signed the contract on behalf of their respective organisations.
Out of the total project costs of 25 million euros, the EU will provide 14 million euros (approximately Tk 140 crore) in grants. The five-year programme will be jointly implemented by the local government division of the ministry of local government, rural development and cooperatives, UNDP and the United Nations Capital Development Fund.
It will build on the success of another EU-funded project, the Local Governance Support Project – Learning and Innovation Component, and will focus on broader development role of councillors, fostering bottom-up, participatory development and poverty alleviation.
The programme will also support fiscal decentralisation, promote transparent public expenditure and contribute to local governance policy reform.
At the signing ceremony, ambassador Hanna said the programme would give more power to councils and communities, ‘and we know that the more powerful the people are the stronger the society is.’
UNDP country director Stefan Priesner said, ‘The programme is about better public service delivery at the local level. We know that to achieve this, transparency and citizens’ participation are critical. The two programmes at union and upazila levels are strengthening both dimensions.’
The European Union and UNDP had recently signed another contract to fund ‘the Strengthening Election Management in Bangladesh Project. SEMB is a project worth 14 million euros, of which 10 million euros (approximately Tk 100 crore) will be contributed by the EU.
The project will assist the Election Commission to successfully implement its decentralisation policy following construction of upazila, district and regional server stations throughout the country and enhance the commission’s capacity to organise and supervise credible polls at all levels to international standards.
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