- BRAC Institute of Governance and Development (BIGD) BRAC University
- Cities Alliance. UK Department for International Development (DFID), UN-Habitat, United Nations Capital Development Fund (UNCDF), Women in Informal Employment: Globalizing and Organizing (WIEGO), The Ford Foundation, the World Bank and the Institute for Housing and Development Studies at Erasmus University Rotterdam.
Bangladesh is in the midst of the urban transition, with the population living in cities expected to increase from the current two thirds to over half of the total population before 2050. Despite cities being important drivers of economic growth – with an urban population at 34 percent contributing roughly 45 percent to GPD – that wealth has neither kept up with, nor been equitably distributed across, the growing city population. Hence, one in five urban dwellers live below the poverty line – the highest level of urban poverty in the South Asia region. With the simultaneous growth in urban population and poverty, it is clear that the ability of cities to produce widespread economic opportunities and jobs that benefit all will be key to the achievements of the SDGs as well as the implementation of the New Urban Agenda in Bangladesh. The challenge is particularly articulated in the county's secondary cities, battling infrastructural challenges and service gaps with limited financial and human resources.
Against this background, the Cities Alliance Joint Work Programme for Equitable Economic Growth, in partnership with BRAC University Institute for Governance and Development (BIGD), in 2017 launched its City Campaign in two secondary cities to support the realisation of more equitable, inclusive and sustainable growth trajectories. Recognising the instruments and resources available at the local level, the initiative is targeted specifically at improving locally provided public goods and services and their potential to support equitable city economies.
This side event will focus on sharing experiences, lessons and initial research findings from the two campaign cities, Sylhet and Narayanganj. The diagnostics and research undertaken by BIGD, as well as the multi-stakeholder partnerships established in the cities, reveal practical measures and approaches that can be taken to utilise local assets to trigger increased productivity and opportunities for workers and formal and informal businesses. The session will be structured around insights shared by representatives from the two cities as well as from BIGD and other development partners. The discussion will depart from the Bangladeshi experience, firmly situated in local realities, with a view to disseminating lessons relevant to secondary cities in low income countries elsewhere, using the convening and dissemination capacity of the Cities Alliance global partnership.