Bangladesh, in the recent past, has been able to achieve remarkable success in many fields. However, the country’s development narrative has been foreshadowed by a number of fault lines that concern an absence of distributive justice in the areas of income and assets, unequal access to public services, and lack of participation in representative institutions. These concerns remain particularly relevant for citizens belonging to the marginalised communities, economically deprived groups, and ethnic, religious and other minorities. Bangladesh, as a signatory of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, is committed to ‘leaving no one behind’ in the country. Thus, addressing the concerns of these communities and citizens is of heightened importance to make development more inclusive and equitable.  


To this end, there is a growing need to reexamine and revisit the mainstream Bangladesh development narrative from the perspectives of the disadvantaged groups.


Citizen’s Platform for SDGs, Bangladesh, between June and October 2022, organised seven subnational level consultations, followed by a national level public hearing where views regarding local level challenges were highlighted, and gaps between political promises and actual delivery by various government agencies were pointed out. Participants at these events came up with concrete suggestions about possible solutions. Issues related to citizens’ rights and voices, accountability, and transparency were at the centre of this exercise.  


To complement these discussions, several focus group discussions were also held with local media professionals and other stakeholders.


Thus, this exposé of “Parallel Realities” goes down from the macro narrative to the micro granular experience, capturing the major messages emanating from the people’s narratives. This document will hopefully contribute to empowering common citizens and giving their voice national resonance, which will help attain the aspiration of an inclusive Bangladesh with empowered citizenship.


Published: September 2023