Upazila Governance and Development Project (UGDP)
Present -day, Bangladesh has a three -layer local government system at the rural level: District, Upazila (Sub-district) and Union. Based on the provision of the Constitution of the Peoples Republic of Bangladesh, the Government tries to ensure decentralization of Local Government Institutions (LGIs) for better service delivery to the People. In the 7th Five year Plan (2016/17-20/21) identifies strengthening local government as one of the priority areas for improving Governance: The Government places special emphasis on strengthening the local government in order to bring the public services closer to the people and also to make sure local people's preferences are well reflected in the planning process. Thus the 7th FYP is committed to undertake a comprehensive set of actions. But due to lack of fruitful initiatives and remaining still many challenges, ensuring decentralization of Local Government Institutions (LGIs) not smooth and properly activate yet.
At Union, the lowest tier of local government, only one civil servant is posted to take care of various official duties whereas allocated budget is not sufficient to meet all local needs. Upazila is another important local government institution with an appropriate size for planning and development interventions. However, its institution basis has been consolidated recent years: the Upazila Parishad Act was enacted in 1998; elections of Upazila Parishad (UZP) were properly carried out in 2009 and 2014; the Annual Development program (ADP) has been gradually enhanced for Upazila Line Departments (NBDs) at Upazila level are transferred under Upazila Parishad by the Local Government (Upazila Parishad ) Act amended in 2011. Compared with Union, the process of decentralization and governance improvement at the Upazila level still has many challenges. At the same time, linkage between Union Parishad and UZP remains weak particularly in development coordination. Considering the above-mentioned situation of local governance at Union and Upazila levels, it is necessary to initiate a comprehensive and integrated project to strengthen local governance focusing particularly on Upazila as a pivotal institution to realize decentralized and effective service delivery to local communities throughout the country.