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BIGD’s Strategic Plan briefed and consulted with Civil Society leaders

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BIGD’s Strategic Plan 2016-2020 briefed and consulted with Civil Society leaders
1 BIGD Strategic Consultation CS 
(From left to right) Dr. Sultan Hafeez Rahman and Simeen Mahmud at the event

Experts and members of civil society joined a consultation meeting organised by BRAC Institute of Governance and Development (BIGD), BRAC University, held on June 23, 2016 at the BRAC Centre Roof Top, Dhaka. BIGD invited the distinguished guests to share the key features of BIGD’s draft Strategic Plan 2016-2020 with civil society members and incorporate their feedback and suggestions at the plan.

5 BIGD Strategic Consultation CS

BIGD Executive Director Dr. Sultan Hafeez Rahman welcomed the distinguished attendees and shared a brief overview of the draft strategic plan. Ms.Simeen Mahmud, Head, Gender Studies Cluster and Coordinator-CGST moderated the event. Followed by a presentation by Mr. AKM Fazlur, Research Specialist, BIGD on the strategic plan the participants provided their observations, inputs and feedback at the meeting.

Among others, BIGD senior staff participated at the meeting.

BIGD is in the process of developing a strategic plan to achieve its objectives and respond to the upcoming challenges. Initiated in late 2015, this draft Strategic Plan is being prepared through a series of consultations i.e. in-house retreat, internal meetings and consultations with stakeholders etc. From now up to July, 2016, few more consultations are planned with various stakehold groups before the Strategic Plan is finalized by July.


Strengthening Committees of Upazila Parishads and Standing Committees of Union Parishads stressed

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SHARIQUE Dissemination Seminar
Strengthening Committees of Upazila Parishads and Standing Committees
of Union Parishads stressed

5 NILG Seminar

In an effort to make Committees and Standing Committees of Upazila and Union Parishads more functional, the Local Governance Programme ‘Sharique,’ implemented by Helvetas Swiss Intercooperation and BIGD, organised a National Dissemination Seminar with the National Institute of Local Government (NILG) on May 30, 2016 to disseminate a working paper on the issue. The working paper combines the observations and recommendations of five individual studies conducted by Sharique and NILG.

Ms Melina Papageorgiou Trippolini, Programme Manager of Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) delivered the opening remarks and Dr. Shanawez Hossain, Team Leader of Sharique defined the objective of the progarmme. Following a presentation by Mr. Fazlur Rahman, Research Specialist of BIGD, a discussion was held under the facilitation of Mr. Mustafa Kamal Haider, Director General of NILG. Participants from various organizations working on local governance and local government elected representatives from Sharique project areas gave their views and shared experiences on the issue. Other participants included Mr. Golam Yahya, Training Director, NILG and Mr. Md. Ilias, Research Director, NILG and local government experts Mr. Shopon Kumar Sarkar, Retd Additional Secretary and Former DG, MIE Wing, Local Government Division (LGD) and Mr. Azizur Rahman Siddiqui, Local Government Advisor of Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).

7 NILG Seminar(From left to right) Mustafa Kamal Haider, Melina Papageorgiou Trippolini, Dr. Md. Shanawez Hossain
and AKM Fazlur Rahman at the event

Relating his experience of Standing Committees in Kerala, Mr. Azizur Rahman Siddiqui suggested reducing the number of committees at both Upazila and Union Parishads and also providing incentives and training to the committee members to make the committees functional and effective.

Agreeing with the issues regarding the functioning of the Standing Committees identified in the working paper, Mr. Lal Mia, Member of Chila Afjalabad Union Parishad, Chatak Upazila, Sunamganj said, “After getting elected in 2011, for the first two years I did not even know that Standing Committees existed.” Mr. S.M. Asraful Haque Tota, Vice Chairman, Paba Upazila, Rajshahi, said that Vice Chairmen, who are responsible for chairing the Committees of Upazila Parishad, do not have the required authority to execute the decisions and suggestions of the committees.

6 NILG Seminar

Concluding the seminar, Mr. Mustafa Kamal Haider said, “The local governmenmt has only function – to serve people. To achieve this purpose, local government and central adminisrtation have to work together and remain accountable to people. On the other hand, the public also need to be aware of the functions of local government and what services they can avail from it. Only then can there be a balanced and effective supply and demand of public service delivery.”



BIGD Research ranked in top 20 of Bangladesh Investment priorities list

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BIGD Research ranked in top 20 of Bangladesh Investment Priorities list

Three research studies of BRAC Institute of Governance and Development (BIGD), BRAC University  were selected in a prioritized and recommended list of priorities for investment by the Government of Bangladesh (GoB) that would produce phenomenal benefits for the country. An eminent panel including a Nobel laureate economist and Bangladeshi economic experts announced the lists in the final session of Smarter Solutions for Bangladesh conference on May 12, 2016 organized under a project Bangladesh Priorities: Smarter Solutions for Bangladesh, led by Copenhagen Consensus Centre in cooperation with BRAC’s Research and Evaluation Division

E Procurement Small

Dr. Wahid Abdallah (second from right) before the eminent panel

Three BIGD Research studies, E-Procurement across government (Topic-Digital Bangladesh), Land records digitization (Topic-Land administration) and Expand Village Courts (Topic-Governance and institutions) ranked 2nd, 4th and 19th respectively at the Bangladesh priorities list.  

The eminent panel includes Nobel laureate Professor Finn E. Kydland, Bangladesh Women Chamber of Commerce and Industry president and founder Selima Ahmad, Bangladesh Institute of Development Studies Director General Dr. KAS Murshid, and Vice Chair of BRAC Dr. Mushtaque Chowdhury.

Land Disgitisation Small

Sumaiya Kabir Talukder (second from right) before the eminent panel

In second- and fourth-place on their prioritized list, the Eminent Panel embraced digital solutions for government. Research on E-Procurement across government by Dr. Wahid Abdallah, Research Fellow, BIGD, which ranked second in the list shows that the cost of e-Procurement, spread across the indefinite future, is Tk 1.44 billion (Tk 144 crore). This would bring savings of an estimated Tk 52.7 billion (Tk 5,274 crore) per year. Each taka spent will achieve 663 takas of good. Prof. Finn Kydland said, "E-procurement would be an extraordinarily powerful tool for Bangladesh. Given the low cost and the high volume of contracts handed out, this policy is deserving of real attention.”

Research by Dr. Sultan Hafeez Rahman, Executive Director, and Sumaiya Kabir Talukder, Research Associate, of BIGD, ranked fourth in the list titled Digitisation of Land Records via Simplified Application Process finds that creating electronic land records would make information easy to acquire through a publicly accessible system, and save time and money. They estimate that digitizing the land records system would provide an incredible 619 takas of benefits per taka spent. Selima Ahmad said: "Digitizing land records is the type of policy that Bangladesh should prioritize: We need to embrace the digital age and secure property rights for women and men equally to unlock economic opportunities."

Expanding Village Court Small

Nabila Zaman (first in right) delivering her presentation before the panel

Another BIGD Research study titled Expand Village Courts by Dr. Md. Shanawez Hossain and Research Associate Nabila Zaman ranked 19 in the list. The Researchers noted that Bangladesh has a backlog of around 2.7 million cases as of 2014; rural areas may struggle to achieve justice for their most impoverished and least influential members. The Researchers propose increasing the power and number of local “village courts” so those with little legal recourse would be better represented in the legal system. Furthermore, they suggest reserving a number of seats for women.

The conference aimed to identify, analyze and prioritize development interventions that will deliver greater benefit per taka spent, helping move Bangladesh towards Vision 2021. Bangladesh Priorities uses the Copenhagen Consensus approach, used over the past ten years to improve global and regional spending priorities. The project works with stakeholders across Bangladesh to find, analyze, rank and disseminate the best solutions for the country. To date, the project has engaged with countless Bangladeshis, putting more than 1100+ pages of peer-reviewed, Bangladesh-focused research into the public domain, and sparking national discussion bout priorities in the pages of the nation’s biggest newspapers and online. In addition to the Eminent Panel, the project is engaging Bangladeshis from all parts of society,  through publications in the country’s highest circulations newspapers  both  in Bangla  and  English  language,  radio  and  TV  interviews,  meetings  with  decision  makers, and  forums  for  youth  and  rural  communities,  to  develop  a  broader conversation  about the best solutions. Number of articles regarding the probable issues-Bangladesh should priorities have been published in national and international media. Please read, BIGD Research featured in Bjørn Lomborg’s articles published in local and int’l media.

The Eminent panel considered well over 1,000 pages of new evidence on the costs and benefits of Bangladeshi policy options. Seventy-six policy options were selected for analysis, after public engagement and Roundtables held with government, NGOs, and universities had created a long-list of 1,000 ideas. The Eminent Panel considered research on 76 policy interventions, and decided that there was enough evidence to prioritize 72 of them. More than 60% of the researchers in the project were Bangladeshi.The list below represents their agreed view. The Eminent Panel’s full findings ia available here.

Rank Intervention Rank Intervention
1 TB Treatment 37 Trade Liberalization
2 E-Procurement Across Government 38 Household Solar To Replace Kerosene
3 Nutrition & Micronutrients, ½-5 Year Olds 39 Group And Teach According To Ability
4 Land Records Digitization 40 Sanitation
5 Bus Priority For Dhaka 41 Biomass Cookstoves, Indoor Air Pollution
6 Increase Secondary Education For Girls 42 Hand-Washing Promotion
7 Iron And Folic Acid In Pregnancy 43 Stormwater Drainage In Dhaka
8 Psycho-Social Stimulation For Stunting 44 Transport Infrastructure For Dhaka
9 Immunize Children In Urban Slums 45 Treat Arsenic For All Affected
10 Hypertension Medication 46 Boost Agricultural Productivity
11 Union Digital Center Migration Services 47 Restoration Of Buriganga River System
12 Retrofit Kilns, Outdoor Air Pollution 48 Early Warning Systems And Shelters
13 More Services At Union Digital Centers 49 On-The-Job Management Training
14 Treat Arsenic For 20% Worst Affected 50 Smokeless Tobacco Cessation
15 Newborn Homecare By Health Workers 51 Resettlement To Manufacturing Cities
16 Reform VAT And Automate Collection 52 Polders, Flood Level Less Than 3m
17 Access To Contraception 53 Padma Bridge
18 Golden Rice R&D 54 Trade Facilitation
19 Expand Village Courts 55 Improve School Management
20 RMG Factory Compliance 56 New Hybrid Kilns, Outdoor Air Pollution
21 Balanced Protein Energy In Pregnancy 57 Seasonal Migration Stipends
22 Solid Waste Management In Dhaka 58 Treat And Immunize Cervical Cancer
23 Multi-Drug Resistant TB Treatment 59 Mangrove Protection In Sundarbans
24 Immunize Children In Remote Areas 60 Livelihood Programs
25 Facility Births With Skilled Attendant 61 Flexible Microfinance
26 Tobacco Tax 62 Traditional Microfinance
27 Shared Diesel To Replace Kerosene 63 Vocational Training
28 Import Coal For More Power 64 Provide BAU Inputs Like Textbooks
29 Calcium In Pregnancy 65 LPG Cookstoves, Indoor Air Pollution
30 RMG Palli Special Zone 66 Unrestricted Roads To North East India
31 Improve Teacher Accountability 67 Unconditional Cash Transfers
32 Gasifier Stove 68 Unrestricted Roads To Bhutan And Nepal
33 Ultra-Poor Graduation Programs 69 Import And Domestic Coal For More Power
34 Skills Training For Migrants 70 Computer Assisted Learning
35 Expand Broadband 71 Bond Market
36 Diabetes Treatment 72 Polders, Flood Level More Than 3m

BIGD Research featured in Bjørn Lomborg’s articles published in local and Int’l media

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BIGD Research featured in Bjørn Lomborg’s articles
published in local and int’l media

Media Coverage image 28.04.2016

Dr. Bjørn Lomborg, President, Copenhagen Consensus Center, and Visiting Professor, Copenhagen Business School referred number of research studies by BIGD Researchers in his recent articles, published in local and international media including the famous The Economist. He referred BIGD Research Fellow Dr. Wahid Abdallah’s research study on e-procurement, published in number of national and international media in three different languages. He also mentioned BIGD Executive Director Dr. Sulta Hafeez Rahman and Research Associate Sumaiya Kabir Talukder research study on digitization of land records in his two articles, published in two national dailies in two different languages Bangla and English. Both the research studies are published at the Copenhagen Consensus Centre’s website also.

Dr. Bjørn Lomborg is director of the Copenhagen Consensus Center and visiting professor at Copenhagen Business School. He researches the smartest ways to do good, for which he was named one of TIME magazine's 100 most influential people in the world.He is a visiting professor at Copenhagen Business School and regularly works with many of the world’s top economists, including 7 Nobel Laureates. His think tank, the Copenhagen Consensus Center, was ranked by the University of Pennsylvania as one of the world’s "Top 20 Advocacy Campaigns".

Please find below the links of the articles: 

Developing Bangladesh
How to spend it
An ambitious attempt to work out the best use for scarce resources by The Economist

This could save governments millions of dollars and tackle corruption by Bjørn Lomborg at World Economic Forum

The Promise of E-Procurement by Bjørn Lomborg at the New Vision

The Promise of E-Procurement by Bjørn Lomborg at Project Syndicate

Premisa e prokurimit elektronik by Bjørn Lomborg at the Reporter (Albania)

How e-GP save taxpayers tens of billions each year by Dr. Bjørn Lomborg at the Daily Star

. বিয়র্ন লোমবোর্গ at The Daily Prothom Alo

IDRC President Jean Lebel praises BIGD

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IDRC President Jean Lebel praises BIGD

International Development Research Centre (IDRC), Canada President Jean Lebel appreciated BRAC Institute of Governance and Development (BIGD), BRAC University for its ongoing activities and achievements. In an official letter to Dr. Sultan Hafeez Rahman, Executive Director, BIGD, Mr. Lebel thanked Sir Fazle Hasan Abed KCMG, Founder Chairperson, BRAC and Board of Trustees, BRAC University, and BIGD for sharing valuable insights on governance, public policy and development in Bangladesh during his visit. In Mr. Lebel’s words, “Congratulations of your excellent work with BIGD and I look forward to future interactions on areas of mutual interest.”

Earlier in the last month of March, 2016 Mr. Lebel along with a team of members from IDRC visited Bangladesh and discussed development challenges in meetings with Sir Abed and BIGD.



BIGD-IDRC discuss development challenges

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BIGD-IDRC discuss development challenges

BIGD organized a breakfast meeting for visiting International Development Research Centre (IDRC), Canada team on March 3, 2016 at Dhaka. BIGD Executive Director Dr. Sultan Hafeez Rahman welcomed IDRC team led by IDRC President Mr. Jean Lebel.

Shanawez Hossain, Mr. Jean Lebel, Simeen Mahmud, Dr. Anindya Chatterjee, Ms Joanne Charette,
Dr. Sultan Hafeez Rahman, Wahid Abdallah and Sarwar Jahan Chowdhury (from left) at the event

 The discussion at the meeting included contemporary development issues and challenges of Bangladesh and that of BIGD.  President Lebel noted that this was his first visit to Bangladesh and he was very impressed by the ‘energy’ and vibrancy he felt in exchanging views with different stakeholders. He felt Bangladesh has great potential and seemed confident that it would achieve its development goals. He was committed to keeping IDRC fully engaged in Bangladesh and welcomed any ideas we might have in this regard. While the future of TTI beyond the current phase was not yet determined, he said that IDRC is doing its best to shape future thinking about fund raising for think tanks in an environment of shrinking ‘resource space’. He appreciated IDRC’s relations with BIGD and was encouraged by its recent accomplishments.

The Participants at the meeting

BIGD ED mentioned that for sustaining development, the country needs to address issues related to good governance and institution building. He highlighted and stressed on the importance of IDRC funding which is playing a crucial role in strengthening BIGD’s capacity. BIGD researchers explained how BIGD’s research is contributing in development and policy advocacy issues.

The visiting team also included Ms Joanne Charette, Vice-President, Corporate Strategy and Communications, and Dr. Anindya Chatterjee, Regional Director, Asia. Among others, Simeen Mahmud, Head (Ad interim), Gender Cluster & CGST; Shanawez Hossain, Research Fellow, Wahid Abdallah, Visiting Fellow, and Sarwar Jahan Chowdhury, Head of Operations, from BIGD attended the meeting.