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Six factors deepening vulnerabilities in Bangladesh: CPD study

Muhammad Syfullah, UNB Staff Writer

Wednesday 06 December, 2017 08:41:16 am

Six factors deepening vulnerabilities in Bangladesh: CPD study

Dhaka, Dec 6 (UNB) – Six factors are deepening vulnerabilities in Bangladesh which are the main barriers for the country to attain the core aspiration of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) – ‘leave no one behind’— by 2030, says a new study of Centre for Policy Development (CPD).

The six factors are lack of access to quality education, wide infrastructure gaps, social discrimination, shocks particularly climate-induced ones due to geographical location, various forms of insecurity and lack of quality and disaggregated data, according to the study conducted by a CPD team, led by its distinguished fellow Dr Debapriya Bhattacharya.
 
The report titled ‘Quest for inclusive transformation of Bangladesh: Who not to be left behind’ will be revealed on Wednesday at a daylong Citizen’s Conference on SDGs in Bangladesh 2017 in the city.
 
Towfiqul Islam Khan, a Research Fellow of CPD, a civil society think-tank, acted as the principal researcher of the team. The six factors were identified through focus group discussions.
 
These vulnerabilities are underpinned low income status, lifecycle phenomena, adverse location, gender discrimination, civil identity problems, physical and mental disabilities and social stigma, the CPD study said.
 
It said increasing income inequality is aggravating the problems and the asset inequality is increasing even faster.
 
There is an underbelly of the decent growth performance of Bangladesh. The observed economic growth has been regrettably coupled with a growing number of disadvantaged and marginalised people.
 
Determining who is being left behind in Bangladesh by the term ‘vulnerability’, the report used 12 vulnerability criteria to identify and assess vulnerable groups. The criteria are income, gender, geographic location, lifecycle, civil identity, disability, education and skills, health, occupation, religion and ethnicity, sexual orientation and shock-induced vulnerability.
 
“Fuller policy delivery also demands social mobilisation in favour of these vulnerable people as well as change of norms, values and mindset. In that sense, addressing the vulnerability of those left behind in the traditional socio-economic growth process is a political economic task which entrails change in balance of social forces,” it said.
 
Besides, income and wealth inequalities appear to be greater in urban areas, while consumption inequality seems to be increasing in rural areas and decreasing in urban areas.
 
It said income poverty contributes significantly towards vulnerability and that people who meet more vulnerability criteria are more vulnerable in terms of income. Income poverty, occupation, educational attainment and age are highly correlated with higher vulnerability according to the vulnerability index.
 
The study, however, said poverty, education and inequalities are adequately addressed by policies, while lifecycle-based vulnerable groups are most frequently addressed by policies.
 
But it said delayed implementation of key policies taken in favour of the disadvantaged is not helping the situation.
 
Besides, policies addressing groups affected by climate shock-induced vulnerabilities are not proactive, while certain vulnerable groups like Dalit community, other minority ethnic groups and religious minorities remain excluded from policies.
 
The report suggested that access to assets for vulnerable groups needs to be prioritised, while coverage and enforcement of anti-discrimination rights must be improved.
 
It also suggested taking an integrated plan to generate more data and information on vulnerable groups.
 
The CPD study finally recommended a large-scale social movement to ensure that no one is left behind.