Improving service delivery and accountability of Union Parishads
Bangladesh’s Second National Strategy for Accelerated Poverty Reduction (NSAPR II) gives high priority to strengthen local level accountability and governance with strong community participation and oversight. The World Bank’s new Country Assistance Strategy also recognizes the importance of local governance. The Bank will build on Government’s commitment to local service delivery and provide continued assistance.
The World Bank has been supporting Union Parishads - the lowest tier of local government through the Local Governance Support Project (LGSP). The Local Government Division of the Ministry of Local Government, Rural Development and Cooperatives is implementing the project. Given the good progress in project implementation the World Bank is considering supporting the Government’s request for follow-on LGSP operation.
To date 3,350 Union Parishads out of a total of 4,485 UPs in the country have received technical and financial support including expanded block grants of nearly US$48 million. Approximately 60,000 community schemes have been implemented so far. The local government representatives prepared the budget with the participation of community groups. With increased funds and enhanced skills and management capacity, UPs and communities have undertaken mostly labor intensive community infrastructure. These include construction or rehabilitation of roads, culverts, drainage and embankment system, water and sanitation facilities, school and clinic repairs.
These schemes have created thousands of jobs and increased the income of poor households. Moreover, better road connectivity and access to basic services have improved health outcomes and better drainage has improved crop production.
LGSP provides expanded block grants directly to the UPs that receive clean annual audits and take specific steps in improving the transparency of their budgeting and expenditure process. Further, the UPs are required to involve the communities in decision making and in reviewing UP performance.
All 4,485 UPs are being audited and those receiving clean audits will receive expanded block grants during FY 2010-2011. The Government has reiterated its long term commitment to strengthen UPs for improving local governance. The World Bank will continue its support through the LGSP, and related operational and analytical work.