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'LDCs need game-changers to reach development goals'

Publication Date : 07-08-2012


Least developed countries (LDCs) need some game-changers to reach their development goals, experts said in Dhaka yesterday.

They should impart more inclusive education and training to their children as the present education and training system is not working, said Jean-Francis Regis Zinsou, ambassador and permanent representative of Benin to the United Nations.

Addressing a discussion on "accelerating human development", he called for higher attention to contain a population boom and a higher rate of unemployment in the LDCs, a league of 48 countries.

The discussion was held on the concluding day of the two-day International Conference on People's Empowerment and Development. The foreign ministry hosted the event at a hotel in Bangladesh capital, Dhaka.

In his keynote, Abul Barkat, a professor of economics at Dhaka University, advocated the concept of “humane development” instead of human development.

Humane development calls for humanising development by incorporating difficult-to-accommodate and difficult-to-measure issues within the framework of the well-known concept of human development.

These include, among others, the issues of rising inequality, highly skewed distribution of wealth, high growth without concomitant distributive justice, high degree of ill-being, marginalisation, distress, destitution and discrimination, he added.

Barkat, also the president of Bangladesh Economic Association, emphasised allocating more of national and international resources to address all the key dimensions of human development.

Resources should be directed towards minimising inequality and improving better distribution of wealth, distribution of outcomes of growth and the situation related to ill-being, marginalisation and distress-discrimination, he said.

Panel discussant Mahfuz Anam, editor and publisher of The Daily Star, said since the Second World War, the United Nations and many other international bodies such as United Nations Development Programme have been trying to eliminate poverty.

"Nobody can say that there has not been any effort. But the world has not succeeded till now. Why? In my view, the core failure came from the leadership."

In most developing countries, the leaders did not live up to people's expectations. They (leaders) promised something to their people, but did not implement them, he said. Corruption and a lack of transparency and accountability and good governance are serious challenges before the developing countries, Anam said.

"Democracy is another pre-condition to development. In many countries we have failed to bring democracy. Where democracy was established, often it was very much in form and not in substance."

"In Bangladesh, we are very fortunate to have unbroken democracy following the ouster of the autocratic regime. Our human development index has grown consistently during the democratic phase of 1990-2012."

He also pointed out that countries with robust free media did much better than the others. "We also need a free media, including freedom of expression to build a better future."

Another panel discussant Joan Clos, UN under secretary general and executive director of UN-Habitat, said urbanisation is taking place not only in cities and metropolises, but also in all human settlements including villages.

If development goes on, the growth in urban population would also continue, he added.

Clos said Bangladesh has to go for planned urbanisation as its population is big, land is scarce and has a huge slum-dwellers. The impact of climate change will be an issue.


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