Bangladesh's progress offers lessons for achieving sustainable development globally

Bangladesh’s remarkable progress over the last 40 years in reducing poverty and improving lives can offer valuable lessons for achieving inclusive and sustainable development globally. Said Dr Mushtaque Chowdhury, Vice-Chair of BRAC, at an event in the Palace of Westminster hosted by the UK’s All Party Parliamentary Group for Bangladesh and the Institute of Development Studies (IDS).

MOU with IDSDr. Sultan Hafeez Rahman, Executive Director, BIGD (left) and Melissa Leach, Director, IDS are signing an MoU

Dr Chowdhury highlighted the vital contribution that the partnership between Bangladesh and the UK has made to Bangladesh graduating to lower middle-income status, reducing poverty, improving health services and education provision and modernising agriculture. Bangladesh has overtaken India in terms of human development progress, he added. He also said that the collaboration between Bangladesh and the UK has helped to increase our understanding of how to break the cycle of extreme poverty. This learning around what works could make a significant contribution to the reduction of poverty in all of its forms globally.

Meanwhile, the IDS - based at the University of Sussex - have signed a series of new MoUs with Bangladeshi partners including BRAC, James P Grant School of Public Health (JPGSH) and the BRAC Institute of Governance and Development (BIGD). The MOUs were signed as part of a wider series of events taking place at IDS and in the UK parliament, looking at the rapid progress of development in Bangladesh over the last forty years. These MOUs provide a productive and mutually beneficial framework for future collaborations that will contribute to global efforts to reduce poverty and inequality, and will harness the organisations' complementary expertise across research, learning, development programming and practice.

Dr Chowdhury said, "From Robert Chambers helping to inform BRAC's participatory approach to development in the 1990s, to our founder Sir Fazle Hasan sitting on the IDS board – the connections between BRAC and IDS are longstanding and highly valued. I am delighted to be signing this agreement today which will strengthen and evolve these collaborations so both organisations can continue to work together to achieve progressive social change."

Melissa Leach, Director, IDS said over the last four decades IDS has worked alongside colleagues in Bangladesh to tackle some of the world's most pressing challenges and signing these agreements represents an important opportunity to recognise and reaffirm these vital partnerships. "For it is only through global cooperation and collaboration that we can realise our shared visions of a fairer, safer and more sustainable world," she said.

Dr Sultan Hafeez Rahman, Executive Director, BIGD, BRAC University, said "These research partnerships will contribute both to the strategic direction of each of the organisations, as well as continue to support the type of informed, evidence-based policy making that has helped achieve the remarkable gains in social development in Bangladesh over the last forty years". Together IDS, BRAC, JPGSH and BIGD will seek to identify future opportunities that foster mutual learning and cooperation around research and policy engagement activities.

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