A new development project for a period of five years has been launched to ensure what official announcement calls sustainable and inclusive development of the Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT).
The project styled “Strengthening Inclusive Development in the CHT (SID-CHT)” at a cost of US$31 million was inaugurated at a city hotel on Sunday.
It will be implemented with support from United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in partnership with USAID and Danida.
The new project shows the Bangladesh government’s “commitment to fully implement the Chittagong Hill Tract Peace Accord, 1997”, according to a UNDP press release.
This is the continuation of the earlier project “Promotion of Development and Confidence Building in the CHT” that has been implemented since 2003 in three hill districts - Rangamati, Khagrachari and Bandarban.
“There has been significant advancement in the socio-economic development of the CHT but the overall development is still not satisfactory compared to other areas in the plainland,” state minister for CHT affairs Bir Bahadur Ushwe Sing told the inaugural ceremony.
He mentioned that the new project will support the government to continue CHT development and enable the institutions of the region and local communities to pursue accelerated and sustainable socio-economic development.
The CHT affairs ministry will assume overall ownership and responsibility for project activities and will be accountable for the results.
Support will be provided by UNDP within the framework of the Chittagong Hill Tracts Development Facility (CHTDF) programme, according to the news release.
It added that the CHTDF has been present in this remote and hard-to-reach area of the CHT since 2003 as the first large scale development intervention implemented in partnership with European Union, USA, Canada, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Australia, Japan, and CARE.
Total intervention in the area since 2003 through CHTDF was reportedly USD155.2 million.
“The purpose of development interventions in CHT is to make the entire region conflict proof so that the people can pursue their development aspirations in peaceful democratic environment and that no one is left behind. There is no peace without development and no development without peace,” said Kyoko Yokosuka, UNDP Bangladesh acting country director.