CLP helps deliver key documents on chars development to Hon’ble Speaker of the National Parliament

Members of the NCA delegation, led by Dr. Khondokar Ibrahim Khaled, hand over key documents on char development to the Honourable Speaker of the National Parliament, Dr. Shirin Sharmin Chaudhury.

The unique conditions of the island chars in Bangladesh mean that those who inhabit them, particularly the extreme-poor, are highly vulnerable. The lack of quality health care, education and other government services, not to mention the limited employment opportunities and weak agricultural markets,make it extremely difficult for the poor to break the cycle of poverty.

Although it’s increasingly recognised that the chars need assistance to alleviate poverty, national development policy makers and planners have yet to devise long-term sustainable development strategies for the chars. The National Char Alliance (NCA), since 2015,has been the main platform advocating at the national level for the creation of such a national policy and/ or strategy.

The NCA organised its first National Char Convention in 2015, bringing together more than 70 organisations and 1,200 people to discuss what such a strategy might look like. Two main products arose from the Convention: the National Char Convention Publication and a 14 Point Char Declaration. The latter featured key demands of the char people which included transport and communications infrastructure, skilled education and health personnel,improved water sources,and greater access to government (Khas) land for the poor.

CLP, which has been actively involved in the NCA since its inception, was represented in the high-profile committee that handed over these key documents to the Honourable Speaker of the National Parliament, Dr. Shirin Sharmin Chaudhury on April 4. The NCA team was led by the NCA’s Chairman,Dr. Khondokar Ibrahim Khaled. He was accompanied by senior representatives from some of the NCA member organisations.

During the meeting with Dr. Shirin Sharmin Chaudhury, the NCA representatives pointed out the need for a central government structural mechanism to oversee and coordinate the implementation of government and non-government development initiatives on the chars. They cited the example of The Department of Bangladesh Haor and Wetland Development (DBHWD). The NCA team also pointed out that despite the allocation of 50 crore taka, mentioned in the Finance Minister’s budget speech, which was to be used towards developing the chars, the amount has remained unspent as no line ministry was allocated the funds. The NCA team requested the Honourable Speaker to consider raising such issues related to the development of the chars in the next parliamentary session.

You can access the 14 Point Char Declaration (in Bangla) here.

The National Char Convention Publication can be accessed (in English) here.