Image credit: CHTDF
The Chittagong Hill Tracts Development Facility (CHTDF) works to strengthen institutions in the Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT) region to effectively manage services and encourage communities to take charge of their own development, based on the principles of local participation and decentralised development.
The CHT region has remained outside the mainstream of development assistance to Bangladesh for more than 25 years. In the 1990s, after decades of severe turmoil, the people of CHT entered into a new era of relative calm with the signing of the CHT Accord between the Government of Bangladesh and the Jana Sanghati Samiti (JSS) in 1997. This created space and opened opportunities for development assistance. Local people's enthusiasm and efforts have been matched by the international donor community's support for the resumption of development in the region.
United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) works closely with the Ministry of Chittagong Hill Tracts Affairs (MoCHTA), the CHT Regional Council (RC), the 3 Hill District Councils (HDCs), the traditional institutions of the 3 Circle Chiefs, international, national and CHT based NGOs, local leaders and representatives from local community based organisations.
The UNDP programme for the Promotion of Development and Confidence Building in the CHT - the CHTDF - works for the overall development of opportunities for all peoples and communities resident in the CHT. The purpose of the programme is to support the Government of Bangladesh and enable the institutions of the CHT and their constituent communities to pursue accelerated, sustainable socio-economic development and regional poverty reduction.
Image credit: CHTDF
Objectives of the CHTDF
The key objectives of the project are :
- To enhance the capacities of CHT institutions, including MoCHTA, the Regional Council, the 3 Hill District Councils, and traditional institutions;
- To improve economic opportunities for small local enterprises, women, youth and farmers;
- To increase literacy is increased through improved access to a strengthened education system adapted to the local context;
- To improve health conditions through a strengthened health system supporting community outreach and localised service delivery;
- To empower local communities are empowered and their capacities to manage their own development;
- To provide the confidence required to find solutions to long standing problems and encourage sustainable development and peace in the CHT;
Additionally, the project has adopted the following cross cutting development principles:
- Gender equality
- Knowledge management and knowledge transfer
The institutional set up of CHT is a unique one compared to the rest of Bangladesh. Along with the local government institutions present in other parts of the country, there is a decentralised system comprised of the CHT Regional Council, three Hill District Councils, and three Circle Chief Offices. These institutions carry significant responsibilities in the administrative system as per the signed CHT Accord, statutory acts, customary laws and regulations.
The broad strategies of this cluster are to:
- Provide support to RC/HDC and traditional circles to build the administrative capacity of these institutions. Provide support to allow the better usage of funds for GoB by which they can efficiently follow procurement rules and regulations;
- Support HDCs to develop the capacity to transfer funds to small communities using bottom up planning and monitoring procedures;
- Create a resource base within the HDCs to strengthen the capacity to deliver services;
- Enhance the advocacy and public relations capacity of RC and HDC through skill training.
“2nd December 2017 marks the 20th anniversary of the historic CHT Peace Accord, formally signed on 2 December 1997 to bring peace to the CHT region and open the door to prosperity and development. UNDP Bangladesh has been working in Chittagong Hill Tracts since 2003, supporting the Government of Bangladesh in promoting sustainable development and confidence-building in a sensitive post-conflict region, guided by the Peace Accord. There is still long way to go”