BRAC Institute of Governance and Development (BIGD), BRAC University is a resource centre for promoting research and creating knowledge in areas of governance, economic growth, political economy, urbanisation, gender issues, sustainable development, and regional studies. It was established in June 2013 through the merger of the then Institute of Governance Studies (IGS) and the BRAC Development Institute (BDI), two institutes of BRAC University.
BIGD is devoted to specialised research on a range of governance and development concerns, as well as the nexus between the two intertwined areas. BIGD’s research is aimed at supporting its academic and training programs. It does not limit knowledge creation to being an end in itself but rather to advance the pursuit of a just and prosperous society. It also plays an advocacy role to give voice to contemporary governance, political and economic issues. As an institute of BRAC University, BIGD works closely with the university and has the unique advantage of being associated with BRAC, world’s largest NGO, through its work and carrying its ‘brand.’ It is inspired by BRAC’s values in shaping its own institutional work, professional standards and product.
Research at BIGD
BIGD’s research mandate is spread over four broad clusters
1. Governance and Politics
2. Urban, Climate Change and Environment
3. Gender Studies and
4. Economic Growth.
BIGD’s research is aimed at supporting its academic and training programs. It does not limit knowledge creation to being an end in itself but rather to advance the pursuit of a just and prosperous society. Hence, it also plays an advocacy role to give voice to contemporary governance, political and economic issues. One of BIGD’s key strengths lies in the truly interdisciplinary character of its work. These are best reflected in its two annual flagship publications: The State of Governance and the State of Cities.
The State of Governance (SoG) in Bangladesh
BIGD annually conducts research on the state of governance in Bangladesh, to provide a critical and analytical investigation of the governance situation of Bangladesh. This analytical work allows BIGD to compare, assess and document changes over time. The results of this on-going research are articulated mainly in the form of annual reports named ‘The State of Governance in Bangladesh’ which is one of the flagship publications of the BIGD. Since 2006, eight reports have been published.
The State of Cities (SoC)
BIGD’s another flagship research program ‘the State of Cities’ aims to provide a diagnostic of the country’s urban governance. As the world is increasingly shifting population from rural to urban areas, urbanization and associated concerns have become an important issue in developing countries. In the context of current development literature, important factors such as reevaluation of the economic importance of the cities and reaffirmation of the importance of local institution building for development require significant consideration in light of such enormous shift. In this backdrop of rapid urbanization, urban governance has become an important approach to evaluating cities’ growth, development and performance. The first SoC report was published in 2012. Since then, BIGD has been continuing this flagship programme by way of preparing SoC publications every year focusing on country’s growing urban challenges.
Apart from its flagship programs, BIGD also conducts research on various governance and development related topics. Some of these areas are: municipal finance, extreme poverty and inequality, labor market, service sector dynamics, local governance, democratic governance, citizens engagement in public procurement, urban governance, climate change governance, inclusion and equality, efficiency in the judiciary of Bangladesh, women empowerment, women participation in politics, cultural norms, regional and trans-regional migration, regional economic integration, etc.
Research Communication and Advocacy
In line with its communications strategy, BIGD disseminates research outputs and activities through diverse range of communication channels and tools such as target-specific advocacy events, stakeholder’s consultations, publications, op-eds and articles, social media posts, e-alerts, newsletters and website. It also organizes roundtables, seminars, public lectures, conferences, talks and different meetings to enable effective and updated exchange of views and draws expert recommendations from diverse range of stakeholders i.e. policymakers, politicians, government officials, civil society members, media professionals, academics, researchers, development partners and representatives from relevant interest groups.
Apart from research and advocacy, BIGD program division also provides technical and research support to various government entities. Some of the major projects undertaken:
Community of Practice in Performance Management in South Asia: BIGD, in cooperation with the World Bank and the Government of Bangladesh, has been implementing a project titled “Community of Practice (CoP) on Performance Management in South Asia” to help strengthen the performance management system of the Governments (GPMS) of South Asia Regional (SAR) countries. BIGD works closely with Cabinet Division of Government to facilitate the implementation of GPMS.
Local Governance Programme SHARIQUE-III: Sharique-III is a SDC funded consortium project on local governance and development. The consortium is comprised of HELVETAS Swiss Intercooperation and BIGD which has project management responsibility. In addition, BIGD has technical responsibility to conduct action and policy research on local governance in Bangladesh and to prepare policy briefs to influence policy.
Public Procurement Reform Project II (Extension Phase): BIGD has an agreement with Bangladesh Government (Central Procurement Technical Unit - CPTU) to help design and implement the social accountability mechanism that aims to institutionalize and develop a third party monitoring system in the public procurement process in the country. Based on the lessons learned from the phase II of the project, and in consultation with CPTU and the World Bank, BIGD has reformulated the existing Public-Private Stakeholders Committee (PPSC) and is working to ensure effective functioning of the committee so that it can provide policy inputs to strengthen the public procurement systems of the country.
Moreover, BIGD provides scholars, policy specialists, researchers, academics and practitioners a common platform to discuss and debate critical questions on governance and development. It has a strong record of working with government agencies, national and international research institute, development organizations, think-tanks and non government organizations.