UNDP in Bangladesh

Nov 17, 2009

For over a decade, UNDP has assisted the Bangladesh Election Commission. This long-term investment resulted in the most transparent and inclusive election in the country's history.

Over the past 10 years, Bangladesh has made significant progress in human development and poverty alleviation. But with poverty rates still high—63 million people live below the poverty line—and the constant threat of sudden shocks, both natural and manmade, there is a risk of stagnation or reversal. UNDP is supporting the Government of Bangladesh to sustain and build on the achievements of the last decade and to remain on track to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Along with our partners, we have accomplished key results in the areas of governance, poverty reduction, environment, energy and climate change and disaster management. Drawing upon our global network of donors, experts and international, regional and national partners, UNDP works with the people and the Government of Bangladesh to develop their capacity to meet development challenges through initiatives that link advocacy, policy advice and programmes.

Reporting results

Democratic governance

grupos de mujeresFor over a decade UNDP has assisted the Bangladesh Election Commission in its mandate as the legal custodian of the electoral process, a long-term investment that, in December 2008, resulted in the most transparent and inclusive election in the country’s history.

By the numbers: Electoral process highlights
  • More than 81 million voters registered in just 11 months, a registration drive of historical proportions;
  • Nearly 51 percent of those voters were women;
  • The participation of not only the Commission but also all levels of the Government, civil society, religious leaders and the armed forces, a cooperative effort that brought about an unprecedented level of participation by voters from all walks of life;
  • The establishment of 90,000 voter registration centres and the distribution and use of over 10,000 laptop computers, digital cameras and fingerprint scanners;
  • The training of more than 100,000 data entry operators, a quarter of whom were women;
  • The procurement of 240,000 translucent ballot boxes along with training to introduce election officials to the use of the boxes;
  • An 87 percent voter turnout at the 29 December 2008 parliamentary elections, a result that has irreversibly reshaped the value and impact of the democratic process in Bangladesh.

Crisis prevention and recovery

mujer pescandoExperts are predicting that as sea levels continue to rise, Bangladesh could lose up to 18 percent of its land area, making 30 million people environmental refugees by 2050. UNDP, in partnership with the Government, is working there to strengthen the country’s emergency response planning at the district and lower levels in addition to increasing its leaders’ ability to make decisions that can save lives and livelihoods and preserve security.

To that end, UNDP has partnered with the Government and
international donors to enact the Bangladesh Comprehensive
Disaster Management Programme.

By the numbers: Bangladesh Comprehensive disaster management programme results
  • Creation of a national disaster management legislative and regulatory framework addressing risk reduction and response;
  • Development of nationally accepted risk assessment and reduction planning guidelines for all non-state organizations;
  • Establishment of an emergency preparedness network of more than 75 government, civil society organizations and institutional partners, along with a number of UN agencies;
  • Training of over 25,000 people in disaster management;
  • Setting up of a national Disaster Management Information Centre with telecommunication links to all 64 district headquarters;
  • Launching of earthquake risk assessments for Bangladesh’s major cities.

Rule of law

Four years ago, UNDP initiated a police reform programme in
cooperation with donors, the Government and the Bangladesh
Police. Its aim is to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of
the national police.

By the numbers: First phase of the police reform programme
  • Established over 20,000 community police organizations dedicated to building a closer relationship with local people;
  • Created the Bangladesh Police Women’s network;
  • Led to the adoption of gender guidelines by the police;
  • Trained 3,000 police officers in investigative techniques, leadership and management skills. l established a special national unit dedicated to combating human trafficking.

As a result, according to recent surveys, including one conducted
by the Asia Foundation, there is a widespread perception
by people in Bangladesh that police performance has improved
over the past two years.

Poverty reduction

ninos en medio de inundacionUNDP, in partnership with the Government of Bangladesh and
donors, is working to improve the livelihoods and living conditions
of the poor in Bangladesh, especially women and girls.
UNDP is supporting programmes of settlement improvement
and socioeconomic development in 30 towns and cities in addition
to policy advocacy efforts.

By the numbers: Project results
  • Improving access to basic services for 2.5 million slum dwellers;
  • Improving the incomes and access to basic services of 2 million urban poor, half of whom are women and girls;
  • Establishing partnerships between local governments, urban poor community groups, civil society and the private sector;
  • Developing town-level participatory economic growth and poverty reduction strategies.
Major funding partners of UNDP activities in Bangladesh


ThemeTotal Expenditure (US$, as of Dec. 2008)
Crisis Prevention and Recovery390,396

Canadian International Development Agency

ThemeTotal Expenditure (US$, as of Dec. 2008)

Danish International Development Agency

ThemeTotal Expenditure (US$, as of Dec. 2008)
Democracy and Governance3,419,968

Department for International Development (DFID)

ThemeTotal Expenditure (US$, as of Dec. 2008)
Crisis Prevention and Recovery, Poverty, and Governance221,867,087

European Union

ThemeTotal Expenditure (US$, as of Dec. 2008)
Crisis Prevention and Recovery, Poverty, and Governance127,378,464


ThemeTotal Expenditure (US$, as of Dec. 2008)

Republic of Korea

ThemeTotal Expenditure (US$, as of Dec. 2008)

The Netherlands



Total Expenditure (US$, as of Dec. 2008)


ThemeTotal Expenditure (US$, as of Dec. 2008)

Sweden and Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency

ThemeTotal Expenditure (US$, as of Dec. 2008)
Democracy and Governance1,015,965

Switzerland and Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation

ThemeTotal Expenditure (US$, as of Dec. 2008)
Crisis Prevention and Recovery2,678,571


ThemeTotal Expenditure (US$, as of Dec. 2008)

Montreal Protocol

Total Expenditure (US$, as of Dec. 2008)

UNDP Around the world