Accountability the key to building sustainable cities: LGRD Minister

Local Government and Rural Development (LGRD) Minister Md Tajul Islam on Saturday said accountability must be established in the government bodies in order to build sustainable cities.

The minister made the remark at a webinar marking ‘World Cities Day 2020’ organized by Center of Excellence for Urban Development (CEUD) Foundation, a consortium platform of Municipal Association of Bangladesh (MAB), Institute of Engineers Bangladesh (IEB), Institute of Architects Bangladesh (IAB) and the Bangladesh Institute of Planners (BIP).

“Local government institutions need to be empowered. These must be made accountable. The officials need to understand what their responsibilities are. I became a minister not for pleasure, but for work. Whoever he is, he has to be accountable,” Tajul Islam added.

He also said, “We could not make our urbanization like developed countries. We have to calculate how many people would live in the city. If we don’t fix it, how can we ensure civic benefits? Waste management is a big challenge here. Our work is underway to make power generation from waste. We have some challenges, we have started working on them.“

This year’s theme for World Cities Day focuses on ‘Valuing our Communities and Cities’. Urban local governments in Bangladesh are characterized by limited capacities to plan, finance and deliver adequate urban infrastructure services to a rapidly growing population.

The participants in the webinar said Bangladesh needs to better manage city planning and urban service delivery to build sustainable cities and communities.

They discussed ways to bring together key stakeholders from the public and private sectors to respond to emerging challenges and foster cooperation to complement national efforts in ensuring sustainable urban development.

“Bangladesh is an urban economy – over 60 percent of the GDP is generated by its cities. It is in the world’s top ten fastest urbanizing countries. But extremely poor infrastructure and low level of services and lack of amenities characterize the country’s urban areas,” said Dewan Kamal Ahmed, President of CEUD.

He added Local governments receive only about 1 percent of the total budget and are highly dependent on grants and central government transfers. Municipalities depend on central transfers for 85 percent of development expenditures. Weak capacity to generate revenues means it ranges 4 to 6 percent of total annual expenditures.

Md Rafiqul Islam Kotwal, Secretary General of MAB and Mayor of Shariatpur Municipality, Engineer Dr Munaz Ahmed Noor, Architect Jalal Ahmed, President of IAB, Planner Dr Akter Mahmud, President of BIP, its General Secretary Dr. Adil Mohammed Khan, Gazi Kamrul Huda Selim, Mayor, Manikganj Municipality, Engineer Dr. Habibur Rahman, Professor & Head, Department of Civil Engineering of BUET, Architect Mubashsar Hussain, former President of IAB and Planner Dr Abul Kalam, Professor, Department of Urban & Regional Planning of Jahangirnagar University, all attended the webinar.

The event was moderated by Dr. Farida Nilufar, Secretary of Environment & Urbanization of IAB.

Source: United News of Bangladesh