Youth development

 

Youth Policy

Bangladesh formulated its revamped Youth Policy in 2018. The policy was first formulated in 1983. It focuses on leadership abilities and fosters progressive youth. It was formed by taking the country’s youth bulge into consideration. It is curated to mould the next generation in alignment with the nation’s development goals. It also outlines strategies to make essential services like education, health care and employment more accessible to young people.

Action Plan on Youth Policy

Bangladesh created its roadmap, the Action Plan, for its signature Youth Policy in 2020. This was then adopted by the designated government body, the Ministry of Youth and Sports. This plan outlines actions on the policy’s objectives and designates implementing agencies.

Skills Development Policy

Bangladesh formulated its Skills Development Policy in 2011. This is the cornerstone of the country’s technical and vocational education and training development initiatives. It encapsulates demand-driven skills training programmes, increased private sector participation, curriculum redesign and assessments, and the apprenticeship system.

Sports Policy

Bangladesh formulated its Sports Policy in 1998. This was designed to foster talent, improve sports infrastructure, attain international standards, prioritise women’s sports and promote traditional games. The policy has been under revision in 2023.

Department of Youth Development 

Bangladesh’s focal agency for engaging youth is the Department of Youth Development (DYD). It is tasked with promoting socioeconomic activities, jobs and nation-building activities. DYD offers skill development training, microcredit and entrepreneurship development training.

 

Child marriage control

 

Child Policy

Bangladesh formulated its children’s development plan, the Child Policy, in 1994. It was reformulated in 2011. The policy sets standards for services provided to children without any discrimination. It focuses on protecting child rights, preventing child abuse and promoting a sense of citizenship among children.

Child Marriage Restraint Act

Bangladesh’s main legal tool to combat child marriage is the Child Marriage Restraint Act, enacted in 2017. Deeply rooted social norms mean that child marriage remains a societal challenge. According to the act, the minimum marriage age for women is 18 and that for men is 21. Parents, legal guardians and marriage registrars are held accountable for organising any child marriage. Bangladesh has established child marriage prevention committees from grassroots to national level, comprising public representatives, civil servants, community members and civil society organisations.

Action Plan to End Child Marriage

Bangladesh formulated its anti-child marriage implementation plan, the Action Plan to End Child Marriage, in 2018. This contains a roadmap till 2030. The strategy is to eradicate child marriage by leveraging existing institutional initiatives and collaboration with all stakeholders. Its primary goal is to expand opportunities for girls to enjoy their rights and to fully access quality education, health care reproductive services and recreational facilities. The plan also aims to raise awareness on the negative effects of child marriage and gender-based violence, promoting a shift in societal attitudes through community engagement.

Child Marriage Prevention Committee

Bangladesh has a Child Marriage Prevention Committee at national level. This is essentially a working group of experts to track and help reduce child marriage. Its primary role is to address the challenges associated with child marriage. It comprises public representatives, researchers and civil society activists.

109 Helpline Centre

Bangladesh has a dedicated Helpline Centre for violence against women and children. Women can access information and support through this 24-hour helpline by calling the number 109.

Adolescent clubs

Bangladesh has established publicly funded localised gender awareness groups known as adolescent clubs at the sub-district level. These clubs offer skills training to counter child marriage and sexual harassment and promote financial empowerment among youth. Club members conduct weekly meetings to address social issues such as violence against women, human trafficking, child marriage and school dropout.

 

Anti-poverty actions

 

Perspective Plan

Bangladesh formulated its second long-term plan, the Perspective Plan 2041, in 2021. This represents a reorientation of the previous plan. The plan is a policy prescription for the country to become a high-income advanced economy by 2041. It targets reducing poverty and inequality while fueling double-digit economic growth. According to the plan, extreme poverty will be eradicated by 2031 and poverty will be minimised to below 3% by 2041.

Eighth Five-Year Plan

Five-Year Plans are mid-term cross-sectoral policy documents via which Bangladesh advances its development agenda. In 2020, the eight edition was initiated. The Eighth Five Year Plan targets decreasing poverty to 15.6% and increasing economic growth to 8.5% of gross domestic product by 2025.

Social Welfare Policy

Bangladesh formulated a Social Welfare Policy in 2005. This is targeted towards the poor and vulnerable in society. Its goal is to extend social welfare services to disadvantaged communities. Additionally, the policy has guidelines for regulating various community-based social service organisations.

National Social Security Strategy

Bangladesh formulated its signature National Social Security Strategy (NSSS) in 2015, reflecting its strong commitment to alleviating poverty, improving human development and reducing inequality. The NSSS was formulated with a view to optimising the outcomes of the existing poverty reduction strategy under social safety programmes. The NSSS also represents Bangladesh’s response to support the poor and vulnerable to pull them out of the cycle of poverty. Its main aim is to achieve better results from money spent. By broadening coverage and improving programme design, the NSSS is expected to tackle income inequality and boost human development.

Ministry of Social Welfare

Bangladesh’s Ministry of Social Welfare is the key government body for social security. It focuses on human development, poverty reduction and empowering marginalised segments of the country. Its main goal is to make the country a welfare state through social security. In Bangladesh, social security is implemented via a series of ‘social protection programmes’ for various targeted populations such as senior citizens, widows, persons with disabilities and marginalised minorities.

Department of Social Services

The Department of Social Services is one of the leading government departments of Bangladesh under the Ministry of Social Welfare, running welfare activities for the underprivileged and low-income segments of the population. The department is mandated to provide services to the vulnerable. It is working to ensure social protection and social safety nets as well as socioeconomic development, rehabilitation and reintegration, poverty reduction, human resource development, community empowerment and other development activities.

Universal Pension Scheme

Bangladesh introduced its signature Universal Pension Scheme in 2023. This is an opt-in scheme. It incorporates people from the informal sectors, which comprise the lion’s share of the economy. Another unique element of the scheme is that it provides opt-in options for Bangladeshis working overseas. The scheme has different pension plan packages based on a person’s income level. Under the scheme, the government matches the payment for those in the lowest income bracket. Anyone over 18 can join and contribute until they reach 60 to secure a pension.

 

Labour rights

 

Labour Act

Bangladesh passed its main labour law, the Labour Act, in 2006. It was amended in 2018. The act covers the labour recruitment process, labour–employer relations, the minimum wage, wage payment, incidental costs, occupational hazards, collective bargaining, dispute resolution and the workplace environment. The 2018 amendment expanded labour rights. It brought tangible changes on the guarantee of financial benefits to new mothers. The law also gives all workers the right to freely join labour unions.

Labour Policy

Bangladesh formulated its latest Labour Policy in 2012. The previous labour policy was formulated in 1980. The principal objective of the policy is to ensure a productive, non-discriminatory, non-exploitative and healthy work environment for all active citizens. The policy is essentially a framework for addressing labour-related issues such as labour rights and welfare. It determines minimum wages and reviews wage levels. The policy also emphasises decent work, workers’ rights, labour dignity and bargaining abilities.

Ministry of Labour and Employment 

The Ministry of Labour and Employment is Bangladesh’s key institution responsible for enforcing labour laws. Its objectives are ensuring compliance with the labour act and disseminating regulatory information to both employers and workers.

Department of Labour

Bangladesh’s go-to overall labour-related support agency is the Department of Labour. This provides services such as the registration of labour unions, labour dispute resolution and labour rights oversight.

Department of Factory Inspection

Bangladesh’s cross-sectoral regulatory agency for manufacturing is the Department of Factory Inspection. It helps ensure the welfare, safety and health of the workforce across sectors. It promotes a safe work environment, ultimately enhancing the well-being of wage earners.

Minimum Wages Board

Bangladesh’s regulatory agency for wage-related matters is the Minimum Wages Board. As of 2023, it has implemented minimum wage structures for workers across 44 different sectors.

Labour Court

Bangladesh’s main authority for addressing labour law violations is the specialised Labour Court. These specialised courts, distinct from the general judiciary system, consist of judges and two additional members representing workers and employers. Bangladesh has seven Labour Courts and one Labour Appellate Tribunal to handle labour-related cases.

Labour Welfare Foundation

The Labour Welfare Foundation is a publicly financed worker support organisation established in 2006. It was formed through a law enactment. It gives support to workers for medical treatment and children’s education. Additionally, it provides financial assistance to the families of labourers in the unfortunate event of a workplace accident.

 

Climate agenda

 

United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change 

The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, formulated in 1992, is an international treaty with 197 member countries. It is a comprehensive agreement to combat climate change by stabilising greenhouse gas emissions. Bangladesh was a signatory in 1992 and ratified the treaty in 1994. The country has incorporated climate change issues into all relevant policies, including its long-term development plans.

Bangladesh Climate Change Strategy and Action Plan

Bangladesh formulated its signature Bangladesh Climate Change Strategy and Action Plan in 2009. Bangladesh is the first country among developing countries to formulate such an integrated action plan. The plan deals with the adverse impacts of climate change. It identifies 44 programmes under 6 themes. It identifies realistic adaptation and mitigation efforts to counter climate change challenges.

National Adaptation Plan

Bangladesh formulated its climate change adaptation agenda, the National Adaptation Plan of Bangladesh (NAP), in 2023. This is a forward-looking plan with a timeframe till 2050. It is designed to make Bangladesh climate-resilient through effective adaptation strategies. It focuses on preserving ecosystems and promoting sustainable economic growth. The NAP includes 23 adaptation strategies and 113 interventions, addressing 11 climate-stress regions in the country.

Nationally Determined Contribution

In line with its commitment to international treaty obligations in the Paris Agreement, Bangladesh updated its Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) in 2021. This revised NDC includes more ambitious mitigation targets, both unconditional and conditional. For its unconditional contribution, with its own resources, Bangladesh’s pledge is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 27.6 million MtCO2e, or 6.7% below business-as-usual levels, by 2030. Additionally, as part of its conditional contribution, with international support, the country aims to further reduce emissions by 61.9 million MtCO2e, or 15.1% below business-as-usual levels, by 2030.

Mujib Climate Prosperity Plan

Bangladesh unveiled its decade-long climate action policy, the Mujib Climate Prosperity Plan, in 2021. This is an instrument to convert climate vulnerability into an opportunity. It also sets an example for the Climate Vulnerability Forum – an international platform of the countries most impacted by climate change. It is named after Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, the founding father of Bangladesh. It is designed to protect Bangladesh’s economy from climate hazards in times ahead. This plan also has a global trend-setting strategic approach for Bangladesh: to shift the climate discourse from one of vulnerability to one of resilience and prosperity.

Bangladesh Delta Plan 2100

Bangladesh adopted its landmark Delta Plan 2100 in 2018. This long-term integrated strategy is a comprehensive development document in terms of addressing the adverse impacts of climate change posed by the country’s deltaic formation. It directs environmentally sensitive financing into development initiatives. It also focuses on water management to minimise the damage of river floods. It has six goals: to ensure safety from climate-related disasters; to enhance water security; to manage an integrated river system; to conserve wetlands; to develop equitable governance; and to support trans-boundary water resources.

Bangladesh Climate Change Trust Fund 

Bangladesh established the earmarked Bangladesh Climate Change Trust Fund in 2010. This is a publicly financed fund to ensure investment in disaster preparedness and to smooth implementation of the country’s climate policies. It can be accessed by both government agencies and civil society groups.

Green bonds

Bangladesh initiated its green bond market in 2021 to finance climate and environmental projects. This market is overseen by the country’s primary capital market regulatory body, the Securities and Exchange Commission. Green bonds are issued to insurance firms, corporate entities and high-net-worth individuals. Commercial banks also adhere to green bond usage guidelines.

 

Diplomacy and foreign relations

 

Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations

The Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations (VCDR), adopted by the United Nations in 1961, and in force since 1964, establishes the international rules for diplomatic relations, privileges and immunities. It is based on the key principle of safeguarding the inviolability and security of diplomatic missions. Bangladesh signed the VCDR in 1978.

Diplomatic Immunities (Conference with Commonwealth Countries) Act 1963

The Diplomatic Immunities (Conference with Commonwealth Countries) Act 1963 is a law that predates Bangladesh’s independence. The law confers certain immunities on representatives of governments of Commonwealth countries attending conferences in Bangladesh.

Commonwealth Secretary-General Kamalesh Sharma and his spouse Babli Sharma greet Shirin Sharmin Chaudhury, Speaker of Bangladesh Parliament, at the Commonwealth Day Reception, London, United Kingdom, 14 March 2016 | Photo by Commonwealth Secretariat.

Diplomatic Security Division

Bangladesh’s police has a specialised body, the Diplomatic Security Division, to ensure the security of diplomatic missions, including diplomats. It is housed within the capital Dhaka’s police department. This division collaborates with other police units to fulfil its role in safeguarding diplomats.

Indo-Pacific Outlook of Bangladesh

Bangladesh formulated its much-awaited foreign policy strategy, the Indo-Pacific Outlook, in 2023. This has been crafted to enhance regional and international cooperation. It envisions an Indo-Pacific region that is free, open, peaceful, secure and inclusive. It follows 4 guiding principles and has 15 specific objectives.