Citizen’s Platform for SDGs, Bangladesh organised a consultation meeting in Khulna on Saturday, 2 July 2022. This is the second in a series of discussions, preceded by meeting in Rangpur. The subsequent two consultations will be for Tangail and Sylhet districts.
The main objective of the event was to listen to the representatives of civil society working in the greater Khulna region. The focus of the discussion was on the expectations and experiences of the marginalised communities at the local level in the context of different national development plans and policies.
The agriculture sector in Bangladesh has been facing challenges for the past decade. The dependence on shrimp cultivation in Khulna had been an issue for some time, although there had been an effort to shift towards watermelon cultivation with mixed results. A lack of programmatic planning, insufficient government assistance, and inadequate scientific research have stunted the development of the agriculture sector in the Khulna region.
Similar to our earlier discussion in Rangpur, issues regarding inadequate allocation and improper distribution of government assistance were raised by the participants. It was pointed that, in order for the Padma Bridge to be utilised to its full potential, connectivity must be established with the Mongla port. This is integral to ensuring that Khulna becomes a part of the Bangladesh’s next phase in the development journey.
The participants of the meeting observed that 22 canals in Khulna are currently illegally occupied. The Adibashi and Dalit communities complained about continued lack of access to education and employment. The high rate of post-COVID school drop-outs and child marriages came under discussion as well.