The Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD) was established in 1993 as a non-profit civil society initiative with a view to advance the cause of a participatory, inclusive and accountable development process in Bangladesh and contribute to Bangladesh’s socio-economic development and strengthened regional and global economic integration. In undertaking these endeavours, CPD seeks to particularly give voice to the interests and concerns of marginalized stakeholders in the society. CPD strives to attain these by:
- engaging various stakeholder groups in the policymaking process
- generating knowledge on critical issues of national, regional and global importance
- disseminating knowledge and information on key development issues
- influencing policymaking processes at various levels
RESEARCH TO GENERATE KNOWLEDGE
CPD’s evolving research agenda is informed by the emerging interests of Bangladesh and low-income countries. Its comprehensive research portfolio focuses on key concerns, contemporary developments and anticipated future trends at national, regional and global levels. CPD employs both research and dialogue, which work in tandem and complement each other.
- Macroeconomic Performance Analysis
- Poverty, Inequality and Social Protection
- Agriculture and Rural Development
- Investment Promotion, Infrastructure and Enterprise Development
- Trade, Regional and Sub-regional Cooperation and Global Integration
- Climate Change and Environment
- Development Governance, Policies and Institutions
- Post-2015 International Development Agenda
ACTIVISM FOR INCLUSIVE POLICYMAKING
With a view to advancing specific causes, CPD pursues policy activism that draws on its research outputs. This had been particularly pronounced in the wake of national elections in an effort to articulate development agendas for the newly elected governments. Through such endeavours CPD has tried to imbue accountability so that our governments deliver on their election pledges. National Policy Forum (2001) and National Policy Review Forum (2003) are examples of these. In 2006 through a wide ranging consultations with stakeholders from across the country CPD drafted a citizens’ charter on Bangladesh titled “Bangladesh Vision 2021” which reflected aspirations for building a democratic, non-communal, progressive Bangladesh. In view of elections in 2013, CPD published a study that assessed the impact of strikes (hartal) on the domestic economy and then convened a discussion forum in partnership with civil society organisations to convey citizens’ concerns about the then-ongoing political impasse and prospects for participatory national elections.
CPD’s research outputs have contributed to important policy changes and policy initiatives that were geared in support of good governance, sound economic management and interests of marginalized groups in the society. CPD has also pursued policy activism in response to various national emergencies. Following the Rana Plaza tragedy, CPD’s initiative to monitor the progress of various initiatives undertaken by key stakeholders is one such example.
DIALOGUE TO STIMULATE INFORMED DEBATE
CPD’s dialogue platform fosters constructive engagement, enables informed exchanges of views and draws specific recommendations, which are valuable as inputs to the policymaking process. Individuals from a broad cross-section of society representing wide ranging perspectives are invited to participate. They include public representatives, policymakers and government officials, leading entrepreneurs, activists of grassroots organisations, academics and researchers, development partners and members of relevant interest groups.
COMMUNICATION AND OUTREACH
In line with its communication strategy, CPD disseminates its activities and research outputs by deploying a diverse range of tools and channels such as in-house publications, op-eds and articles, commentary in the media including television talk shows, public lectures, a dedicated website, social media, a quarterly newsletter and e-alerts. Select CPD events are livestreamed and then made available through the CPD website and YouTube.
CPD’s publication list, currently containing more than 400 titles, includes books, a monograph series, working papers, dialogue reports and policy briefs. Hard copies of publications are available for sale at CPD and in selected bookstores. Except for commercial publications, digital copies of all CPD’s outputs are available on its website.
CONTRIBUTIONS TO POLICYMAKING
CPD’s researchers are opinion leaders who bring critical perspectives on key national issues into public discourse. They contribute to the policymaking process through commentary in print and electronic media, appearance on talk shows, participation in public debates and discussions, and presentations before stakeholders and students. As members of various national committees and working groups established by a range of public institutions, CPD researchers provide inputs to policymaking on a regular basis.
CAPACITY BUILDING FOR IMPROVED POLICY DELIVERY
CPD organises research-related capacity building courses and workshops on important national and global policy issues and also issues concerning developments in various multilateral fora. Policymakers, government officials, academics, researchers, journalists and students have benefitted from CPD’s efforts in this regard. Under its Youth Leadership Programme many young people have been motivated in the spirit of service and leadership.
Since 1996, CPD has been implementing the Independent Review of Bangladesh’s Development, which has three priority areas: monitoring the performance of domestic economy, strategic issues of long-term importance, and contemporary issues that require immediate attention. The programme undertakes annual assessment of the state of the economy presents fiscal proposals, provides analysis on budget and plays a very important role in shaping perspectives as regards Bangladesh’s economic performance.
CPD generates its funding by developing demand-driven research proposals and building a track record of successful projects. It has received financial support from a diverse range of international organisations as well as bilateral and multilateral agencies to implement specific studies and multi-year research programmes.
Through a recent global competition, CPD was awarded two consecutive institutional grants under the Think Tank Initiative, a multi-donor programme dedicated to strengthening the capacity of independent policy research institutions in developing countries.
BCIM Forum for Regional Cooperation
CPD was one of the pioneering organisations behind the establishment in 1999 of the Kunming Initiative, which evolved into the Bangladesh-China-India-Myanmar (BCIM) Forum for Regional Cooperation that aims to improve trade and investment among the four countries. The Kolkata to Kunming (K2K) Car Rally in February 2013 was a milestone in advancing the idea of interconnectedness of the southern Asia region. The idea of establishing the BCIM Economic Corridor, which would ensure greater market access for all involved, is one of the major outcomes which emerged from the BCIM Forum.
South Asia Economic Summit
Since 2008, leading South Asian think tanks, including CPD, have come together at the South Asia Economic Summit (SAES) to advance the cause of regional integration in view of emerging regional and global dynamics.
From 1995 onward, CPD has been regularly organising dialogues between India and Bangladesh in which high-level policymakers and representatives of key stakeholder groups from the two countries discuss issues of bilateral interest.
Southern Voice on Post-MDG International Development Goals
Launched in 2012, Southern Voice is a network of 48 think tanks from Africa, Latin America and South Asia that seeks to channel developing countries’ perspectives into the ongoing global discussions on post-2015 international development goals. As the network’s secretariat, CPD plays an important steering role that leverages the evidence-based knowledge and policy experience of the developing South to influence the emerging global development agenda. The programme has been playing an important role in shaping the global discourse on post-2015 agendas by its forceful presence in key global fora.
Post-2015 Data Test: Unpacking the Data Revolution at the Country Level
An initiative of CPD, Southern Voice and Carleton University’s Norman Paterson School of International Affairs, the Post-2015 Data Test was conceived in 2013 to road-test the possible goals, targets and indicators of the post-2015 development framework and identify data challenges in measuring implementation across various country contexts.
LDC IV Monitor
A partnership of eight organisations, with CPD as its secretariat, LDC IV Monitor was established in 2011 following the Fourth United Nations Conference on the Least Developed Countries (LDC IV) held in Istanbul. It provides independent assessment of implementation of the Istanbul Programme of Action and aims to contribute to ensuring improved delivery on commitments that were made by development partners towards productivity growth and structural transformation of the LDCs.