Governing COVID-19 in Bangladesh – Realities and Reflections to Build Forward Better

COVID-19 is a global crisis of unprecedented scale, and the factors that have shaped the response of countries to this pandemic are complex and many. The 2020-2021 State of Governance report by BIGD assesses the governance of COVID-19 in Bangladesh to document how policies were made and delivered, analyze the governance response of political and government institutions, and find lessons from the ongoing pandemic to strengthen responses to future crises. It examines the health sector response, lockdown management and relief programs, community-level governance of the pandemic, the economic stimulus program, and the situation of the readymade garment (RMG) sector. An overarching lesson from this extensive study is that Bangladesh needs institutions that are strengthened by their encounters with crisis, given the range of global crises that Bangladesh is exposed to—climate change, food security, economic, health—institutions must build back better each time they face such stressors to make sustainable progress of the people possible. Bangladesh’s continued development success story depends on learning how to turn crises into opportunities, building upon its renowned resilience to something even more durable—a state of anti-fragility where government and social institutions together can better identify, tackle, and recover from shocks, big and small. Building back better means enabling the roots of anti-fragility to take hold in public institutions and practices.

The findings from BIGD’s flagship report State of Governance in Bangladesh 2020–2021 are synthesized and presented in this research brief.

Authors: Hassan, Mirza; Hossain, Naomi; Islam, Sirajul; Hoque, Rafsanul; Khan, Insiya; Aziz, Syeda Salina; Nahreen, Avia; Hoque, Md. Mahan Ul; Osmani, S. R.; Siddiquee, M. S. H.; Sultan, Maheen; Antara, Iffat Jahan; Zaman, Shahaduz; Hossain, Faruq; Matin, Imran
Type: Research Brief
Year: 2021