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GOOD GOVERNANCE AND GENDER AGENDA OF THE ROYAL NETHERLANDS EMBASSY

A satisfactory policy and governance situation and assured accountability are pre-conditions for all other aid modalities. The Netherlands Ministe

r for Development Co-operation has made a very clear statement: a bad governance situation is not a reason to reconsider aid, but a Government who is not willing to work on improvement of the Governance situation is.

 

Bangladesh has made some impressive progress towards achieving the MDG goals, especially in the field of education and health. But in order to reach adequate poverty reduction efforts aimed at promoting good governance need to continue. Achieving the MDGs requires a firm commitment to good governance, which includes upholding the rule of law and promoting human rights and human security, a system of transparency and accountability and ensuring free and fair elections. The PRSP formulated some priorities to move towards a coherent governance strategy and presents an opportunity to embark on for the Netherlands Embassy

 

Debates about good governance dont always address automatically the question of gender inequality. The Royal Netherlands Embassy has decided to address gender very explicitly in its governance programme, focussing on violence against women, engendering poverty reduction strategies and promoting womens political participation

 

In this program specific support will be given to interventions that will support improvements in the following three areas:

 

Ensuring human security and human rights:

Clear laws, justly implemented, transparently and efficiently are the cornerstones of good governance as they enable people to exercise their choices and rights safely and freely now and in the future. The most vulnerable in society, women, children and ethnic and religious minorities are the least protected against human security and human right violations. At present the Embassy is supporting the ILO for its program on the elimination of child labour, is contributing to UNICEFs birth registration program and its program on combating sexual violence against children en women.  The plays a very active the Embassy role in engendering the PRSP and has initiated the womens department of Dhaka University. The Embassy supports several organisations in fighting against violence against women (Acid Survivors, Steps, and RDRS).

 

Fighting Corruption:

Corruption is a symptom of bad governance, undermining both the effectiveness and legitimacy of government. Corruption also reduces the effectiveness and legitimacy of development co-operation. Corruption is hampering the sustainable economic growth needed to escape the poverty trap. In the end only a strong civil society with political opposition, an independent press and service users who claim their rights can serve as a long term mechanism against corruption. The Embassy provides support to the Ministry of Finance through the Financial Management Reform Program to improve public administration and is contributing to BEI for a programme aimed at improving corporate governance.

 

Enhancing Democracy:

A democratically elected Parliament that is a true representation of society and an active citizenry are the foundations of democracy and good governance and thereby contribute to an environment that attracts foreign investment. The Embassy has provided support for local and international election observers in the previous elections and is currently supporting Brotee in monitoring the upcoming elections.

 

GENDER

The MDGs affirm that a development agenda for economic and social goals cannot be separated from an agenda for the promotion of human rights, of gender equality and of empowerment of women. Gender mainstreaming is a way to ensure that policy and decision-making take account of mens and womens different interest and needs and contribute to equality between men and women as well as to empowerment of women. Bangladesh made some very impressive progress towards gender equality, but more needs to be done. Beautiful words have been put on paper, good research has been done, the PRSP and part of the budget has been engendered but violence against women is persistent, there are roll backs in womens reproductive rights and the rise of fundamentalism is a growing threat to womens rights. Women specific initiatives are supported through the Governance program in the following areas: combating violence against women, engendering poverty reduction strategies and promoting womens political participation.

 

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