The International Center for Not-for-Profit Law (ICNL), an implementing partner of Promoting Advocacy and Rights (PAR) project implemented by Counterpart International (CPI), developed a legal manual in consultation with selected senior government officials, legal experts, academia, and public representative to enhance the capacity of CSOs to deal with existing laws formulated for them. The manual was launched on February 16, 2020, at Pan Pacific Sonargaon Hotel in Dhaka, Bangladesh to introduce the manual with government, donors, INGOs, and CSO. A total of 90 participants from Government (24), USAID (6), DFID (1) the Netherlands Embassy (1), CSO (33), INGO (8), Media (17), and private sector (1) attended the event. Mr. Anisul Huq, Minister, MP, Law, Ministry of Justice and Parliamentary Affairs attended the event as the Chief Guest and His Excellency US Ambassador to Bangladesh Mr. Earl Miller and Ms. Aislin Baker, Senior Governance Adviser, DFID attended as special guests.
The event was started with a panel discussion that was moderated by Executive Director of Transparency International Bangladesh and the panelists were: Aroma Dutta, Member of Parliament; K.S Abdus Salam, DG NGO Affairs Bureau; and Syeda Rizwana Hasan, attorney, and environmentalist. To improve the legal and operating environment which CSOs have been working, the panelists provided a set of recommendations: NGO related laws need to be revisited and revised, ease the process for CSO to get NGOAB approval quickly and allow then to wok more with governance issues and revitalize Government-NGO Consultative Council (GNCC) to have a continuous dialogue with the government to enhance trust between government and CSOs.
During the concluding remarks, US Ambassador to Bangladesh, Mr. Miller said “My belief is the manual will help Bangladeshi civil society grow stronger, more transparent and more accountable to all Bangladeshis. And that it will give civil society groups the knowledge and tools to become more responsive to the needs of those they serve and more effective at building bridges with the public sector”. Law Minister Anisul Huq emphasized the importance of the legal manual and the need for advancing civil society and government cooperation by his remarks –
The event was covered by several prints, digitals, and online media.
PAR in collaboration with ICNL planned to conduct two legal workshops in the reporting quarter which were deferred as the finalization of the legal manual took more time than expected. In the next quarter, PAR has planned to organize the legal workshops.