Ensuring better connectivity with the neighboring countries like India, Nepal and Bhutan can be a major boost for the northernmost districts like Panchagarh– speakers said at a workshop recently.

At the same time, the region also needs better rail and air connectivity with the rest of Bangladesh to enhance its economic development, speakers said during the event.

Such views came at a workshop on “Smooth and Sustainable Graduation: Integrating Local Institutions” held at the Deputy Commissioner’s Office in Panchagah recently.

Economic Relations Division (ERD) organized the workshop with assistance from its “Support to Sustainable Graduation Project (SSGP)”.

The then ERD Secretary Mr. Monowar Ahmed attended the workshop as chief guest. Deputy Commissioner of Panchagarh Ms. Sabina Yeasmin chaired the event.

Representatives from local administration, civil society organizations, local level government departments and other officials of the project participated in the program.

Speaking on the occasion, the then ERD Secretary Mr. Monowar Ahmed observed that Bangladesh, under the visionary leadership of the Honorable Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, has succeeded to formally meet all the three criteria for graduation back in March 2018.

He, however, pointed out that to make this momentum sustainable—it is crucial to make the development process participatory and inclusive.

In this context, he opined that organizing such local workshops on sustainable graduation would help the government in addressing the local level challenges and potentials and ensuring sustainable development.

Deputy Commissioner of Panchagarh Ms. Sabina Yeasmin highlighted on various development initiatives of the local administration for the welfare of the common people of the district.

She informed that the district administration has initiated the of SDG Village scheme under which all the 17 goals of SDGs will be implemented in a particular village.

She also hoped that organizing such local level workshops would contribute to increased mass awareness about the graduation related issues at the local level.

Component Manager of SSGP Mr. Md Anwar Hossain, in his keynote presentation, explained the graduation process in detail.

He also explained the relationship between LDC Graduation and the global agenda of Sustainable Development Goals.

He also highlighted the opportunities offered by graduation as well as on the ways of making the graduation process sustainable.

Later, the participants of the workshop were divided into three groups for in depth group discussion based on the following questions:

  • What are the major contributing factors or strengths of your local development?
  • What are the major impediments or challenges towards development in your area?
  • What we need to do and how to address these challenges?

Through their group discussion, the following recommendations came out:

Major Recommendations Coming from the Workshop:
(1)   Ensuring better rail and road connectivity with the neighboring states like India, Nepal and Bhutan can be a boost for Panchagarh.
(2)   Better road and air connectivity between Panchagarh and other parts of the country is also crucial.   
(3)   Cold storage facilities and processing plants can be established for local agricultural products like tomatoes, potatoes, strawberries, dragon fruits, oranges, guavas and watermelons.
(4)   There are huge potentials for animal husbandry including goat farms and dairy farms in Panchagarh. 
(5)   Adequate number of high standard hotels, motels and guest houses should be established for the tourists.
(6)   Large scale publicity schemes should be carried out for the promotion of local tourism sites. 
(7)   One particular union from every district can be selected as a ‘model union’ under the government’s ‘My Village My town’ scheme.
(8)   Preservation of local archeological sites and taking necessary steps for attracting more tourists at such sites.   

Awareness raising and participation of the common people is imperative to make any development process inclusive and sustainable. From that view, a series of such workshops or seminars are also being organized by ERD in recent times with support from the Support to Sustainable Graduation Project.

The main objective of these workshops is to raise awareness about the LDC Graduation process at the grassroot level and to prepare the local stakeholders, government agencies, civil society organizations as well as younger generation for the future development paradigms of the country.

Economic Relations Division is compiling the recommendations coming from such local workshops which will later be forwarded to the relevant government ministries.