Dhaka, Bangladesh, 30 January, 2016 – The first meeting of the Bangladesh National Steering Board (NSB) was held at the end of January at the Westin Hotel in Dhaka, Bangladesh. The NSB was formed as a result of the Bangladesh 2030 WRG multi-stakeholder partnership that was formally endorsed by the Honorable Prime Minister of Bangladesh. The agreement was announced through a gazette published by the Bangladesh Government Press on December 6, 2015.
The meeting was inaugurated with brief opening remarks by Dr. Zafar Ahmed Khan (Secretary, Ministry of Water Resources and Member-Secretary of NSB) and Mr. Mohammad Shafiul Alam (Cabinet Secretary and Chair of NSB). Several presentations highlighting issues and challenges related to water resources in the different sectors by were made by Bangladesh Water Partnership (BWP), PWC, WWF, SIWI and 2030 WRG.
After the presentations, the acting Co-chair from the private sector Ms. Rokia Afzal Rahman (Vice-President, International Chambers of Commerce) and Co-chair from the Civil Society, Mr. Mushtaque Chowdhury (Vice-Chair, BRAC) made brief remarks endorsing the platform and emphasizing the need for immediate actions and programs to address the challenges.
The NSB made key decisions to establish and operationalize the Bangladesh Water MSP. This included the formation of the three work streams on Water Governance, Greater Dhaka Watershed Restoration and Agri-Water.
The NSB provided the 2030 WRG with a mandate to nominate the members of the work streams in collaboration with the three work stream chairs. Joint work plans for the respective work streams will be developed with special focus on priority areas, whereby the necessary studies will be conducted and reported back to the National Steering Board. Moreover, the NSB agreed to start a process to review laws, regulations and policies in order to improve governance of water resources. It was agreed that the next NSB meeting will be held on April 30th.
About the Bangladesh Water MSP
The Bangladesh Water MSP is dedicated to addressing water sector issues in Bangladesh. The multi-stakeholder dialogue is focused on the identification, design and implementation of ‘Transformative Collective Action’ projects. The transformative projects will aim to make a significant contribution to improving water security by reducing the water supply-demand gap and/or improving the quality of available water resources for agricultural, industrial, domestic use and to ensure sustainability of essential eco-system services.
Structure of the Bangladesh Water MSP:
The High Level Water Forum is under the Prime Minister. The Cabinet Secretary – the highest ranking civil servant in Bangladesh – is the Chair of the NSB. The Bangladesh Water MSP is composed of key policy-makers (from the Ministries of Water Resources, Finance, Agriculture, Local Government, Environment and other government agencies), civil society, distinguished business leaders, industry associations and water sector experts. It is expected that the bilateral and multi-lateral development partners and donor agencies will take an active role in the process through providing expert assistance, advisory services and by facilitating targeted stakeholder engagement on specific issues or thematic areas. The 2030 WRG Bangladesh Secretariat facilitates the Bangladesh Water MSP.