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    Posted April 20, 2014 by
    Dhaka, Bangladesh
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    Eradicating Extreme Poverty from Bangladesh – Ensure that Public Services Reach the Extreme Poor


    Secretaries and Director Generals representing ten ministries met recently to discuss the fate of 25 million extremely poor people (approximately 6 million families) in Bangladesh.

    The Inter-Ministerial discussion took place as part of a civil society initiative under the banner: the Manifesto for the Extreme Poor: to explore how various government ministries can contribute to the rapid eradication of extreme poverty from Bangladesh.

    The Manifesto for the Extreme Poor is a civil society document that demands the complete eradication of extreme poverty from Bangladesh by the end of 2021. The Manifesto has evolved over the last year and a half through a consultative process including the participation of over 100,000 extremely poor people and stakeholders from various parts of society. Developed in the context of the post 2015 development goals and the current global discussion on the eradication of extreme poverty, the Manifesto demands a target date of 2021, before the World Bank deadline of 2030, to position Bangladesh as a global leader in extreme poverty eradication. By targeting 1 million extreme poor families a year, Bangladesh should be able to eradicate extreme poverty by 2021, well before the other countries in this sub-continent.

    To achieve this, the Manifesto calls for collective action and a three-pronged approach: 1. Design and implement a national programme of transformative initiatives (asset-transfers and skills training) to enable the 6 million families to engage with the market. 2. Systematically monitor and reform public services and social protection transfers to prioritise the needs of the extreme poor. 3. Promote institutional, policy and behavioural changes needed to address the root causes of extreme poverty.

    Action 2 relates to the reform of public services (especially health and education) and social protection transfers. This means looking at service delivery through an ‘extreme poverty lens’, going beyond a passive statement that services are available and free, to active measures to overcome the constraints that the poorest face in gaining access to services. Addressing endemic corruption in the allocation of public services and transfers is one of the critical cross cutting challenges that the ministries will have to address and will require a direct and comprehensive strategy. The extreme poor suffer the most from corruption, they cannot afford to buy their way into public service provision and they lose out because resources that could otherwise be used to address poverty are misallocated.

    Mr. M A Qader Sarker, Secretary, RDCD said “This initiative is a positive step towards the fully inclusive nation that we all want. We fought for freedom and we must now fight for equity. We support this cause and will do everything in our power to ensure that the extreme poor have a fair chance at a free and dignified life.”

    Md. Asadul Islam, Project Director of EEP said, “We already have got endorsement from different sector of the society, policy makers, government officials, civil society organizations. From this inter-ministerial workshop, we would like to extend support to the extreme poor people to achieve millennium development goal.”

    Head of Advocacy, Economic Empowerment of the Poorest/ Shiree, Shazia Omar said, “Bangladesh has made great strides in development: from microfinance to ORS, from reduction in maternal mortality to improvements in family planning. Let’s do something extraordinary again. As a symbolic 50th anniversary gift to our nation, let us eradicate extreme poverty from Bangladesh by 2021.”

    For information, please visit www.manifestofortheextremepoor.com

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