As we remember those who led Bangladesh to victory 50 years ago, it is time to firmly fix our gaze on the future. Beyond the impressive gains in economic and human development, what does Bangladesh want to be known for? What are the hallmarks of the Bangladesh model, and are they being clearly articulated at home and abroad? In this issue, we look at how focusing on the most vulnerable has paid dividends for Bangladesh, and how it can continue to shape policymaking for the next five decades and beyond.
Binayek Sen takes an in-depth look at Bangladesh’s performance as a poverty reducing country in comparison to other top performers such as India, China and Vietnam. In search of lessons learned, he identifies growth, the empowerment of women and nutritional-enhancing policies as key success factors.
Protecting the most vulnerable must extend beyond borders, and Bernard Doyle from the UNHCR writes about the Rohingya humanitarian response in Cox’s Bazar. He shares findings of a survey where the top priority for the Rohingya remain a return to their homeland. He also argues that it’s time to renew the repatriation effort between the three main parties: Bangladesh, Myanmar and Rohingya refugees.
Bina D’Costa examines the legal avenues available to pursue justice for the Birangona, women who were victims of sexual violence during Bangladesh’s Liberation War in 1971. She charts the growth of women’s movements in the country and argues that pursuing reparations are the next logical step in the case of the Birangona.
With an eye on the future, Joyashree Roy and Hasan Mahmud advocate for a hydrogen-powered energy policy. The issue also features pieces on rethinking the minimum-wage, affirmative action in the constitution and moving towards a cashless future.
At a time when many countries are turning their backs on people fleeing wars and persecution, Bangladesh is sheltering over a million people who are unable to return to their homeland. The country has shown that you do not need to be wealthy to be a responsible player on the international stage. It has also shown that focusing on the most vulnerable is a successful way for equitable growth. We hope that WhiteBoard, too, will be able to play its part in promoting compassionate and progressive policymaking.