Common Approach and Coordinated Support for Bangladeshfs PRSP

The Asian Development Bank, the Department for International Development of UK, the Government of Japan, and the World Bank are each in the process of preparing a new country strategy for Bangladesh, based on the Governmentfs PRSP. Following the commitments made at the Paris High-Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness in February 28-March 2, 2005 by a number of developing country governments including the Government of Bangladesh and our respective institutions and countries, the four development partners have agreed to harmonise our approach through a joint country strategy. 

The four partners consulted with the Finance Minister, Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister, Secretary, ERD and other senior government officials to seek their views about the joint approach. The Finance Minister welcomed the harmonisation initiative and the senior officials provided broad directions for our joint support for the PRSP. 

The purpose of a common approach is to maximise the impact of our support for poverty reduction by increasing the alignment of aid with Bangladeshfs priorities and procedures. We will also strive to eliminate duplication of efforts and rationalize our activities. These measures, it is hoped, will help increase aid efficiency and effectiveness, and reduce transaction costs for the government. The joint strategy is also intended to improve the effectiveness of aid programs at the sector level and enhance the coherence of our policy dialogue on sector reforms. 

The draft PRSP has guided the partnersf deliberations. The PRSPfs gmatrixh of development outcomes is the basis for prioritizing the development outcomes we plan to support in the period ahead. Pillars of the joint strategy are: (i) gImproving the Investment Climate for Growth and Employment,h (ii) gEmpowering the Poor,h and (iii) gGovernance,h a core cross-cutting issue, is the foundation for both pillars. 

Given institutional requirements, there will not be a single strategy document for all four partners. Instead, their respective strategies would be based on shared analyses and outcomes. The common strategic core will be a single goutcome matrixh, based on development outcomes drawn from the PRSP; this matrix links each development outcome with the specific projects, TA, and other interventions through which we will support them.

The four partners are exploring ways for more efficient joint work. These will include further opportunities for co-funding in some areas, while greater specialization among partners, reflecting our different comparative advantages, should be possible in others. There will also be benefits from working together at the sector level.

The four partners intend the process of developing a common approach to be an open and transparent one, and they will regularly consult with the Government and other development partners. We would welcome the views of others on this initiative..

The consultations on the joint Country Strategy with various stakeholders, including the Government, private sector, NGOs and civil society, academics and media, will be held in Dhaka beginning July 14, 2005. We hope for an open dialogue and welcome stakeholder input as a basis for further strengthening our approach.