Civil society organisations and NGOs have called for more empowerment and recognition, saying they have been an indispensable part of the country’s development and their space should not shrink.
The call came at a national convention, titled “Accountability and Localisation for Humanitarianism and Development with Positive Engagement”, organised by Bangladesh CSO-NGO Coordination Process with the assistance of COAST Trust, supported by Oxfam.
At the event, UN Resident Coordinator, Mia Seppo, said free and active civil society organisations are the indicators of a healthy participatory democracy and supportive environment of development.
“I expressed concern over shrinking space for civil society and called for partnerships among government, private sector and civil society to bring the SDGs closer to people at the local level and ensure no one is left behind,” she said.
At the convention in Krishibid Institution on July 6, some 700 NGOs and civil society organisations pledged to maintain transparency, accountability and rights-based approach in their operations.
They demanded that the UN and international NGOs’ operations be limited to monitoring local NGOs and providing technical assistance, instead of directly implementing the projects to promote effectiveness.
Dr Atiur Rahman, former governor of Bangladesh Bank, said local NGOs have to complement and collaborate with the government and be innovative in building a prosperous Bangladesh.
Chairman of PKSF Dr Quazi Kholiquzzaman Ahmad said local civil society organisations and NGOs are indispensable for the country’s development, and providing necessary space for them to contribute to it is of utmost importance.
Gokul K Ghosh, director of NGO Affairs Bureau; Shaheen Anam, executive director of Manusher Jonno Foundation; Phedra Moon Morris, representative of Canadian High Commission in Dhaka; Ajmat Ulla, country representative of the International Federation of the Red Cross, and representatives from European Union, USAID, DFID and other development partners and INGOs attended the programme.