COMMONS

DFID's Programme in Bangladesh

Inquiry concluded: Report and Government Response published 

The International Development Committee announced an inquiry into DFID's Programme in Bangladesh on 26 June 2009. 

Report

The Committee published its final Report on 4 March 2010. See Chairman's Comments for further detail.

Government Response

The Government's Response was published on 15 September 2010.

Terms of reference

Bangladesh has made significant strides in poverty reduction in recent years especially in rural areas, helped by sustained economic growth rates. At a comparatively low level of economic development it has reduced population growth rates, halved child mortality and increased life expectancy to 64 years. Micro-finance and community-led initiatives have been very successful in a range of sectors including sanitation and water. However despite these achievements Bangladesh remains one of the poorest countries in the world with nearly 60 million people living below the poverty line and income inequality is growing. Urbanisation is increasing rapidly; some 80 million people are expected to be living in urban areas by 2030.

Social and economic progress has been achieved despite weak governance. Government capability is weak, there is little trust in state institutions, corruption levels are high and vested interests thwart change. Bangladesh faces a major development challenge from climate change which threatens to increase poverty, vulnerability and civil unrest. Despite advances in girls’ education, gender inequalities persist. Further progress on poverty reduction and the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals is hindered by these factors.

DFID plans to allocate £125 million in bilateral assistance to Bangladesh in 2009-10 making it the fourth highest recipient of bilateral aid from the UK. DFID’s programme in Bangladesh focuses on improving governance, reducing poverty and vulnerability to disasters and climate change, and private sector development.

The International Development Committee is to begin an inquiry into DFID’s programme in Bangladesh. Key issues for the inquiry will include:

  • The appropriate size and scope of DFID’s programme in Bangladesh;
  • DFID’s support for more effective governance and institution building in Bangladesh;
  • DFID’s strategy for reducing poverty and inequality, including gender inequality;
  • The management of climate change impacts and support for disaster risk reduction;
  • The role of community-led initiatives in reducing poverty and increasing access to basic services.

Written evidence

The written evidence submitted to the inquiry can be accessed via the TSO Parliamentary Publications page.

Oral Evidence

The transcripts of oral evidence for this inquiry can be accessed via the TSO Parliamentary Publications page.

Witnesses:

20 October 2009

  • Dr Naomi Hossain, Research Fellow, Institute of Development Studies, and Professor David Hulme, Professor of Development Studies, University of Manchester
  • Professor Anthony Costello, Director of University College London Centre for International Health and Development, Ms Sandra Kabir, Executive Director, BRAC, representing Women and Children First and the Diabetic Association of Bangladesh, and Mr Ben Hobbs, Asia and Middle East Policy Officer, Christian Aid

1 December 2009

  • Professor Geof Wood, Professor of International Development, University of Bath; and Dr Martin Greeley, Institute of Development Studies
  • Mr Pierre Landell-Mills, The Policy Practice and Partnership for Transparency Fund, and Dr Thomas Tanner, Institute of Development Studies, University of Sussex

16 December 2009

  • Mr Mike Foster MP, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, and Mr Chris Austin, Head of DFID Bangladesh, Department for International Development

Publications

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    Glossary

    • Reports and associated evidence – Reports of Committee inquires. This category may also include Special Reports where they are used by a Committee to bring matters relating to conduct of its business to the notice of the House.
    • Responses to Reports - Responses may be published as a Special Report, or as a Command Paper. They may also be appended to a Report should the Committee have substantial comments on the Response, in which case they can be found listed under Reports. 
    • Other oral and written evidence - Evidence taken by the Committee that has yet to or did not result in the publication of a Report. This includes transcripts of recent meetings.
    • Estimate Memoranda - An Estimate memorandum is an explanatory note that accompanies a government department’s estimate (a means by which a department seeks authority from Parliament for its spending plans).
    • Correspondence - Correspondence sent from or received by the Committee or its Chair.
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