CityNet Secretariat visited Dhaka, Bangladesh on July 24-28, 2023 to raise further prospects for sustainable city-to-city exchanges with cities in Bangladesh. The visit was also an opportune time since it witnessed the turnover of the National Chapter to the new host Rajdhani Unnayan Kartipakkha (RAJUK). This has ushered in a new phase of CityNet’s reach within Bangladesh members. CityNet Secretariat also visited Dhaka North City Corporation and Mayor, Antiqul Islam. The Secretariat assured Dhaka North of supporting international cooperation activities.
On July 25, the Secretariat visited the Mayor of Dhaka North City Corporation at the City Hall. Mayor Islam has been active participating in many global conferences and representing Dhaka. Under his leadership, Dhaka has been a C40 Vice Chair, a Member of the Steering Committee, and a member of the Mayors’ Migration Council Leadership Board. Mayor Islam is dedicated to being vocal for Climate Justice on behalf of all South Asian cities on the international stage, and CityNet will provide full support to the city and the advocacies and accomplishments that the city has made.
Rajdhani Unnayan Kartipakkha (RAJUK), or the Capital Development Agency of Bangladesh in English, is a public agency responsible for coordinating urban development in Dhaka, Bangladesh. RAJUK is composed of various public officials, city planners, urban administrators, engineers, and architects. It is the National Authoritative Board on building planning, estates and resources, plot allotment, and construction approvals from both public and private entities. RAJUK has been a member of CityNet since 1991. RAJUK showed its interest in becoming the new host of the National Chapter of CityNet in 2022, taking over the responsibility from Dhaka North City Corporation after its 29 years of contribution of serving as the National Chapter Host.
The handover ceremony of the National Chapter host was held on July 27, 2023. The meeting was well-attended by CityNet members in Bangladesh which includes officials from Dhaka North, RAJUK, Sylhet, and Rajshahi City Corporation. The previous National Chapter focal point Dr. Tariq Bin Yousof presented the institutional history of NC Bangladesh as early as 2005 when he assumed the post as the NC Bangladesh coordinator. It is worth noting that Dhaka hosted the 2011 CityNet Executive Committee Meeting and International Seminar. There was a working organizational structure that enhanced the communication and coordination lines of the NC Bangladesh. Dr. Tariq also mentioned different community-based projects that CityNet supported since 2009. The new National Chapter host, Mr. Md. Ashraful Islam from RAJUK also presented its action plan for the National Chapter. These actions will further guide the members into their future planning sessions. The chairman of RAJUK Mr. Miah. Md. Anisur Rahman made an ending remark of re-emphasizing the commitment to host the National Chapter Bangladesh and the importance of uniting cities together for sustainable development. The meeting was concluded with live discussions of officials from presented cities and their suggestions and requests to the Secretariat.
Through this visit, the CityNet Secretariat delegation visited some best practices of the city such as the public recreational space and the Dhaka Emergency Operation Center, which monitors incidents of disasters in the city. The Secretariat also studied the affordable Housing Project led by RAJUK called “the Uttara Housing Project.” It is the first housing project of RAJUK. Its original mandate however is developing land use and zoning. It has designated places for playgrounds, commercial spaces, places of worship, and schools among others. The highlight of this apartment complex is that it is also equipped with its own waste and wastewater treatment facilities, the biogas generated from the waste are collected and sold to the private sectors. Moreover, the Secretariat also had the chance to learn about waste treatment status in Dhaka. The challenge of waste management in Dhaka now is the behaviour of people. There needs to be a behavioural change in terms of people managing their own waste, the supervising officer said. Some people have the habit of throwing garbage in the canals and open areas. Dhaka is campaigning for people to properly manage their waste. The Secretariat will provide any possible support to Dhaka for the improvement of its waste treatment performance soon.
This visit to Bangladesh marks a new phase of the relationship between Bangladesh members and the Secretariat. CityNet Secretariat is committed to providing continuous support to our Bangladesh members based on their needs and requests.
This article has been written by Hui and Paulie.
Hui Qian is a Senior Program Officer at CityNet, where she manages outreach and CityNet Services. Prior to joining CityNet, she worked at ICLEI East Asia Secretariat, with a focus on city-scale research and projects. Hui has a background of Sustainability Science and Greenhouse Gas Emissions Inventory Compilation. She obtained a Master of Science in International Cooperation Policy from Ritsumeikan Asia Pacific University (Japan) and a Master of Engineering in International Material Flow Management from Hochschule Trier (Germany). She is experienced in working under multicultural environment with multidisciplinary cooperation.