The Government of Bangladesh in collaboration with development partners, held a high level “Bangladesh Development Forum” (BDF) meeting in Dhaka on 15-16 February 2010. It was the first such event since 2005, and it took place one year after the current government took office. The objective of the forum was for the Government to share, and discuss with development partners, its long-term plan to reach middle income status by 2021 (Vision 2021); the content of its new National Strategy for Accelerated Poverty Reduction; and its proposed reforms and delivery priorities.
The forum was widely hailed as a success. The Hon’ble Prime Minister of Bangladesh, Sheikh Hasina MP, opened the event, her speech referring specifically to the need for healthy democracy, decentralisation, transparency and anti-corruption. The event was well attended by development partners, including 36 development agencies and donors, and more than 80 civil society and private sector representatives.
Improving development effectiveness and programme delivery were at the heart of all discussions, with governance issues (the need for institutional and policy reforms, local government strengthening, improved implementation capacity and reduced corruption) and climate change featuring prominently. The Finance Minister reaffirmed the Government’s determination to increase domestic revenue mobilisation and improve budget implementation.
Commitments were captured in a ‘BDF Agreed Action Plan’ outlining 25 concrete actions for Government to be supported by development partners. The potential for increased transparency and aid effectiveness was boosted by the Government’s endorsement of the ‘Joint Cooperation Strategy’, produced collectively by the Government and 32 development partners operational in Bangladesh and centred on the Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness and Accra Agenda for Action.