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      Bangladesh Local Consultative Group (LCG) Secretariat
         Note on Current Functions and Future Structure

Background

1.    In Bangladesh, the multilateral and bilateral agencies (Development
Partners – DPs) that are members of DAC/OECD have participated in the Local
Consultative Group (LCG) for many years. The LCG brings Government and DPs
together to discuss development policy and implementation issues. The LCG
Plenary group consists of all the DPs and the LCG Excom functions as the
executive committee for the plenary group.

2.     Historically, the key annual feature was the “Paris Meeting”, in which
“donors” pledged their financial support to Government. Over the last ten years,
those annual meetings took place in country as the Bangladesh Development
Forum or the PRSP Implementation Forum the focus shifting from pledging of
funds to a broader dialogue on development progress in the context of national
poverty strategies and achievement of the MDGs.

3.      Due to the political uncertainties during the last four years, including a Care
Taker Government and delayed national elections, the latest high level
Development Forum took place in late 2005. As the key objective and the
institutional framework including dialogue and follow up of PRS were less clear, the
overall dialogue between GoB (ERD) and the LCG Development Partners
lessened and meetings became more sporadic and ad-hoc.

4.     There is now a willingness, as expressed in the “Statement of Intent to
Develop a Joint Cooperation Strategy” (August 2008), jointly signed by the
Government and fifteen Development Partners to improve the dialogue at national
(ERD/Ministry of Finance) and sector (line-ministries) levels and strengthen the aid
management and collaboration in line with the Paris Declaration and the Accra
Agenda for Action. The overall aim is to make aid more effective through
improved joined up planning, delivery and follow up of development programmes.
The new GoB (Ministers of Finance and Planning) confirmed its commitment on
these issues at a meeting with the LCG in May 2009.

5.      Since 2005 the LCG is supported by the LCG Secretariat jointly
administered by the UNRC (Unitied Nations Resident Coordinator) Office and the
office of the Chair of the LCG. The Secretariat organises LCG and LCG ExCom
meetings, records and circulates minutes, circulates other notices; and maintains
the LCG website, among other things. The UNRC Office also supports and works
closely with the Aid Effectiveness Unit (formerly the HAP Cell) located in ERD, for
carrying out GoB commitments related to the Joint Cooperation Strategy and other
activities under the country-level implementation of the principles of the Paris
Declaration, including the OECD/DAC Surveys, and the Accra Plan of Action.
Currently, under a “tripartite” arrangement, minutes of LCG meetings, both Plenary
and Special Donor Sessions, are recorded by UNRC Office and the office of the
Chair of the LCG (until recently, the World Bank). The draft is shared by the World
Bank with the ERD Secretary through AEU, and the final minutes then circulated to
LCG members for further comments, if necessary. Other circulars and notices go

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through the same process of consultation, unless the notice is only for donors.
Support to AEU includes:

         Recruiting consultants to conduct studies and other interventions endorsed
          by the LCG (e.g. aid management review, scoping study on GoB project
          approvals, etc.).
         Participation by GoB and/or donor focal points at international aid
          effectiveness   meetings (Working   Party,  Regional,   Paris/Accra
          Consultations).
         Local workshops, consultations and awareness raising meetings for GoB,
          DPs and civil society on aid effectiveness and broader development issues.
         Related procurement of goods, including printing material and office
          equipment.

6.    One staff member of the UNRC Office dedicates 50% of his/her time to
these matters.

7.     To enable the AEU to function effectively, several donors contribute funds
expansion and for implementing the Joint Cooperation Strategy Action Plan. The
contributions are being made under the Multi Donor Fund (MDF) which is
managed by the UNRC Office and administered by UNDP, also the Trustee of the
MDF. Most recent contribution for the JCS activities was made by Denmark while
UK(DfID) and Sweden have pledged additional funds. The AEU is currently staffed
by two senior Government officers, one Web Manager, and two support staff.
Technical and advisory support to AEU is provided by the UK (DFID), Denmark,
UN, Japan, EC, Sweden, US, the Netherlands and several other donors through
the JCS Working Group.

9.    The JCS Working Group, is located in AEU and is chaired by the Joint
Secretary (Coordination), ERD. The working group comprises representatives from
ERD, Finance Division, Prime Minister’s Office, Planning Ministry (GED) and a
group of development partners, including Denmark, UK, UN, Sweden, Japan, US,
EC and the Netherlands. The JCS Working Group manages the JCS process,
based on the JCS Action Plan. A GoB-DP Steering Committee comprising the ERD
Secretary, key GoB Secretaries and LCG DP ExCom) provides guidance to the
JCS Working Group.

Upcoming tasks and challenges1

10.    Currently, the AEU and the JCS Working Group are focusing on
implementation of the JCS Action Plan to have a Joint Cooperation Strategy
document jointly signed by Government and Development Partners by May 2010.
The major tasks, that feed into the drafting of the Joint Cooperation Strategy
include:

         GoB internal consultations and awareness raising of more than 200 civil
          servants on aid effectiveness issues and the JCS process.
         Civil society consultations on aid effectiveness and the JCS process.

1
    Refer to “JCS Road Map” and “Action Plan” for further details on JCS tasks and processes

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         Review of GoB Project Approval Processes.
         Review of GoB aid management processes, as a first step towards
          developing the first “Bangladesh Aid Management Policy” in order to
          improve administration/recording2 of aid flows.
         Review of LCG ways of working, including links to GoB, the LCG ExCom,
          the LCG Plenary and LCG Working Groups with the objective to improve
          processes and structures for national and sector dialogue (including
          “development results frameworks” for each key sector/theme, based on and
          supporting GoB strategies).
         Improved LCG Bangladesh website as a means for communicating
          broadly on aid effectiveness and promoting mutual accountability..
         Preparations for 2010 Paris Declaration Evaluation in Bangladesh (ERD
          led in country, DAC/OECD globally), including regional meetings and with
          Working Party for Aid Effectiveness in Paris in late 2009.
         Preparations for monitoring the implementation of the Paris Declaration, the
          third Bangladesh DAC Survey will be conducted during January-June 2011.
         Preparation for mid-term HLF in Columbia for participating in the mid-
          term HLF to be held in Columbia in 2010 (called as South-South
          Cooperation).
         Preparation for 4th HLF in Korea for participating in the 4th HLF to be held
          in Korea in 2011.

11.    The JCS document3, informed by the above, will be shared and consulted
broadly during September – November 2009. It is envisaged that a “final draft” will
be discussed at the high level Bangladesh Development Forum in January
2010, then revised and signed by the Government and Development Partners in
March – May 2010. Efforts will be made to make the JCS coincide with GoB’s
drafting and consultations on the next national strategy for poverty reduction/Five-
Year Plan (2010/11-2014/15?)

12.    Another key task yet to be initiated is improved “use of country systems”.
The World Bank and the Asian Development Bank are working with the
Government on procurement procedures. WB is also co-funding the new Public
Financial Management Reform programme with DFID and others. Also, GoB has
indicated that there will be a broader Civil Service Reform programme shortly. All of
the above will be positive in regards to DPs use of country systems. However,
there might be scope for the DPs to consider how to move further on this important
Accra Agenda Action point.

Strengthening the LCG Secretariat

13.    While the “tripartite” system currently adopted by the LCG Secretariat is
functioning effectively, there is need to re-think the structure of the Secretariat
in the long term. Ideally, in line with the Paris Principles on “ownership”,
“alignment” and “management for results”, the Secretariat should be located within
GoB, preferably as a part of the ERD Aid Effectiveness Unit.

2
    UNDP funded projects (DMFAS with ERD/BB and SICT with Planning)
3
    An internal “JCS Working Group” draft exists as work in progress document

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14.    Key objectives of the Secretariat would be to coordinate GoB’s aid
programmes with external partners, including non-DAC development agencies
such as Islamic Development Bank and others4. The functions of the Secretariat
would be guided by the new “Aid Management Policy”, outlining how GoB and
Development Partners work together in support of the country’s national poverty
reduction strategy (Five-Year and Perspective Plans).

15.   Partners could provide joined up programme support to improve GoB
capacity (information data bases/software applications), under a comprehensive
aid management arrangement to avoid fragmentation and duplications.

16.   For the medium term, it is suggested that ERD and the Development
Partners initiate a comprehensive capacity building project for implementation in
two years time. GoB should lead the process and the future project should
incorporate relevant components from relevant projects currently under
implementation.

17.   The Multi Donor Fund could be considered as a suitable mode to channel
funding for consultancy inputs into the design and project proposal work.




GoB – DP JCS Working Group
20 July 2009




4
    China, India, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and others.

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