ICIMOD’s Input Incorporated in Bangladesh’s 7th Five Year Plan

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The Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT) of Bangladesh has a specific geographical, cultural, and social setting and it was feared that poor understanding of this specificity would lead to inadequate attention in the 7th Five Year Plan. In order to bring full understanding of the hill perspective to the plan, ICIMOD, together with the Ministry of Chittagong Hill Tracts Affairs, developed ‘A Strategic Framework for Sustainable Development in the Chittagong Hill Tracts of Bangladesh’. The framework addresses rural development and non-farm economic activities, labour mobility, the promotion of tourism, human resource development, the expansion of micro-finance, and the introduction of mobile and Internet technologies. It also emphasizes the need to putting in place major infrastructure and institutions in the CHT. Strategically, the framework suggests a greater shift in focus from agriculture to the development of secondary and service sectors. It also focuses on area-specific approaches based on agroecological potential and access to markets and services.

The framework was presented at a consultation meeting in Dhaka, attended by officials from the Planning Commission, The Prime Minister’s Office, donors, civil society organizations, and tribal leaders in Bangladesh. Based on the recommendations from the consultation meeting, ICIMOD, with guidance from the Ministry of CHT Affairs, finalized the framework. The Government of Bangladesh has fully endorsed the perspectives and key recommendations contained in the framework, which have now been incorporated in Bangladesh’s 7th Five Year Plan (http://www.plancomm.gov.bd/perspective-plan). It is expected that this plan  will transform the development paradigm in the CHT and improve the lives and livelihoods of the people of the CHT.