Friday, 14 September 2012

Post-2015 Blog Week: 'Civil society is a vital part of the development process' by Yakub Hossain, VERC and FANSA

Yakub Hossain is the Deputy Executive Director of Village Education Resource Center (VERC) - a national NGO in Bangladesh, and the National Convenor of Fresh Water Action Network South Asia (FANSA) Bangladesh Chapter.

On the whole, the MDGs have been partly successful in Bangladesh. The water and sanitation situation has improved as an outcome of local and global initiatives, however, current progress rates on achieving the sanitation target is only 1.1% per year, yet in order to meet the target, we need 4% progress rates per year. At these rates, the WHO calculates that it will take until 2033 to reach the MDG target - this is not good enough. A recent WHO report also stated that the financial flows at both national and local government levels are less than 75% of needs as required for meeting the MDG targets.

The lack of funding for the Least Developed Countries, especially in Africa and South Asia, has been a big problem with the MDGs. Also, governments have not always used funds smartly, and there is a need for a more collaborative monitoring process in place.

We need a revised action plan in order to make progress with global development. One important issue which should be addressed in the new development framework is proper evidence of progress, certified by an international body. The national governments also need to be answerable to their people, and to the donor communities.

Another key area which needs to be addressed by the new development framework is to prioritize the countries that are lagging behind - they should be given more attention. Countries in South Asia such as Bangladesh have big needs - it is not just countries in Africa which need to be given greater priority.

In terms of sanitation and water, we definitely need a global goal to address them - without a clear global goal, we won't be free from the water and sanitation crisis.

The decision-making process for the new development framework should involve all the stakeholders, including the local people. My organisation, the Village Education Resource Center (VERC), has a good relationship with the government, and we use the mechanism of a forum with the highest body in the Ministry to communicate our views. At the country-level, government, civil society, and UN institutions should work together - civil society especially is a vital part of the development process.

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