Hill District Councils organized workshops on “identification and prioritization of bottlenecks” on 23, 25 and 30 March 2013. Workshops are part of the MDG acceleration exercise in the 3 Hill districts.
The aim of the MDG acceleration exercise is to identify high-impact and feasible solutions for prioritized bottlenecks that are preventing ongoing interventions to achieve MDG targets. Outcome of MDG acceleration is direct action by all development partners, to help realize the solutions. UNDP’s MDG Acceleration Framework (MAF) is the methodology used, which has been introduced in 2010 and since then successfully applied in various countries and on different MDGs.
Hill District Councils, with support from CHTDF, UNDP have started the MDG acceleration exercise last year with mapping of MDG achievements. Thematic task forces, under leadership of Hill District Councils and Upazila Parishad have selected CHT relevant MDG targets and indicators, identified sources of information and collected and analyzed data accordingly. Outcomes of the mapping exercise were presented and discussed at district meetings, where each district has selected a MDG for acceleration. Main criteria for MDG selection were (1) backward MDG, (2) acceleration of MDG achievement feasible and (3) spin-off effect of acceleration on other backward MDGs. Bandarban district has selected MDG 2 Universal Primary Education, Khagrachari and Rangamati districts MDG 1 Poverty and Hunger.
Ministries, Regional Council, Hill District Councils, traditional leaders, Line departments, Union Parishad, Upazila Parishad, NGOs, civil society, FAO, UNICEF, WFP and UNDP attended the workshops. A delegation of UNDP’s project on Upazila Parishad Governance Project (UzGP) has attended the workshop in Rangamati on 30 March, including additional secretary Ministry of Local Governance and Development and National Project Director of UZGP, Shah Kamal, Assistant Country Director (ACD) Local Governance, UNDP Shaila Khan and National Technical Advisor UzGP and UPGP Dr. Tofail Ahmed. Mr. Shah Kamal acknowledged the potential impact of the MDG acceleration intervention, however he warned that good plans often remain unimplemented. All CHT institutions and development actors, including Hill District Councils, Upazila Parishad and Union Parishad should emphasize on the effective and coordinated implementation of the plan. In the Bandarban workshop on 23 March, the honourable Member of Parliament and Chairman of the CHT Development Board (CHTDB), Bir Bahadur U Shwe Sing highlighted the importance of construction of small bridges and culverts in remote and inaccessible areas, where students have difficulties in reaching schools, especially during the rainy season. Moreover he expressed his concerns on the limited number of schools in the remotest areas of Bandarban district, hence demand for further school constructions. Ministry of Chittagong Hill Tracts Affairs (MoCHTA) Assistant Secretary, Nurul Islam, expressed during the Khagrachari workshop on 25 March his appreciation for the MDG acceleration initiative. District MDG acceleration plans will become important tools for coordinated efforts to achieve MDGs under leadership of the Hill District Councils. MoCHTA provides yearly 75,000 MT food support (TR/GR) per district, MDG acceleration plans will support Hill District Councils to distribute more strategically and targeted. Chief Implementation, CHTDF Rob Stoelman highlighted the importance of understanding who are the poor and excluded, before bottlenecks for interventions to reach them can be identified, and emphasized on the potential of MDG acceleration plans for more effective and coordinated efforts by all development partners.
MDG acceleration workshops are facilitated by a team of consultants under the leadership of international development and planning expert Arend van Riessen, next steps are consultations with main development actors, and upazila workshops. Finalization of master district action plans is scheduled for mid-May.