Volume 23, No.4,  October 2002

THE STATE OF NGO ACCOUNTABILITY: TWO CASE STUDIES FROM BANGLADESH

by Mohammad Mohabbat Khan

            Dr. Mohammad Mohabbat Khan is Professor, Department of Public Administration, currently a Member of the Bangladesh Public Service Commission on deputation.

             Non-governmental organizations (NGOs) are a global phenomenon. The size, area of coverage and spending capacity of NGOs have registered significant increase. Consequently, their impact on government, economy and society remains considerable. As a result, holding NGOs accountable for their activities has become critical. For NGOs accountability can be multiple. In reality holding NGOs accountable is not an easy task. Research in this important area has been few.  Successful models of some big NGOs in Bangladesh in the areas of micro credit, non-formal education and primary health care are being replicated in other developing countries. NGOs play a dominant role in the polity. also They cover majority of the villages in the country, receive and disburse billions of taka as credit to rural poor and continue to pioneer innovative programmes. In Bangladesh, NGO accountability has both internal and external dimensions. Internal accountability mechanisms include a governing body and an executive committee. A system of downward accountability of the NGOs to the poor has not been developed. Externally, NGOs are accountable to the government and donors. Case studies of two NGOs - BRAC and ASA - confirm that both internal and external mechanisms are in place. At the end of the paper accountability is linked to the concept of governance and the role NGOs can play in the process of operationalizing the key precepts of good governance to help the poor to fight for their rights.

ECONOMIC DEPLETION OF THE SUNDERBANS: A NEED FOR REGIONAL COOPERATION

by AHM Mustain Billah, Istiaq Uddin Ahmad

          AHM Mustain Billah, Ph.D is a civil servant, presently working in Bangladesh Institute of Development Studies (BIDS) as Coordinator, Environment Policy Analysis, a component of Sustainable Environment Management Project (SEMP)

          Istiaq Uddin Ahmad is an Assistant Chief Conservator of Forest and currently, a  Ph.D fellow in the University of Minnesota,, USA.

         Sunderban Reserve Forest is the most diverse and richest natural resources area in Bangladesh. In every respect, the Sunderbans is considered to be the most important and the most valuable forest ecosystem in the country. It constitutes 51 percent of the total reserve forest estates of the country. It provides the largest share of forest produce accounting for 45 percent of all timber and fuel wood energy, and employment support for more than a million people. It has immense ecological importance such as protection from cyclones and tidal surges, production of wood for commercial and subsistence purposes, production of shrimp, habitat for wildlife, special habitat to Royal Bengal Tiger (Panthera tigris), conservation of biodiversity, unique facilities for ecotourism, major pathway in nutrient cycling and pollution abatement. Considering the above importance of the Sunderbans, in this study, an attempt has been made to give an account of its diverse physical resources. There are so many high value intangible resources that can not be accounted for physically. The present study attempted to highlight the economic and ecological importance of the largest mangrove of  the  world, and to  explain how salinity intrusion leads to degradation, which lies beyond the national jurisdiction. The economic valuation of some major tangible resources clearly demonstrated that the resource stocks in the Suderbans are declining over time. Valuation of other intangible resource will make us wonder how much of high potential resources are being wasted that can never be replaced and compensated. This signifies the most concern for the development and environment of the country. Only national efforts thus are not enough to resolve the issue.  In order to preserve the world heritage and national capital stock of the country, two aspects are focused in this study: an economic appraisal to understand the gravity of loss and the salinity intrusion, which lie beyond the national jurisdiction and cause the depletion of the Sunderbans. Finally, the policy implications underscore the need for regional co-operation as an obligation of international agreements..

 

PROBLEMS OF STRATEGIC STABILITY IN INDIA-PAKISTAN NUCLEAR ARMS RACE: RELEVANCE OF WESTERN THEORIES

by  Md. Abdul Mannan

        Md. Abdul Mannan is Research Officer at the Bangladesh Institute of International and Strategic Studies(BIISS).

        The article examines the problem of strategic stability in india-pakistan nuclear arms race in the light of theories that evolved in the west in the context of us-soviet nuclear competition and its regulation. The paper reveals a difference in the behaviour of the two regional rivals between pre-1998 and post-1998, the year when they conducted nuclear tests. Relationship in the post-1998 period is more crisis-prone in comparison to that of pre-1998.  The paper argues that risk of escalation from a crisis situation is high in the absence of a mad variant of deterrence. It also discusses threats to strategic stability in the context of a potential introduction of new weapons technologies by india and pakistan. While examining the foundation of strategic stability, the paper reveals that the application of a mad variant of deterrence in south asia is problematic. However, the theory that fits best is détente that may seek reconciliation between india and pakistan on kashmir issue.  It has been argued that détente, as a basic foundation of strategic stability, is very relevant to provide the diplomatic atmosphere for the proper functioning of existing cbms and for undertaking new cbms aimed at avoiding nuclear escalation.   

 

BENGALI REPRESENTATION IN PAKISTAN DEFENCE FORCES (1947-1971): A REVISIT

by Md. Nazrul Islam

          Lieutenant Colonel Md. Nazrul Islam, psc, AEC is serving as  Director, Inter-Service Public Relations in the  Bangladesh Army.

          History affirms that the rise of the modern nation-state was closely associated with the development of an equalitarian and representative military.  An officer corps recruited on representative and equalitarian criteria may contribute to national integration. The present study presumes that to determine the dynamics of Bengali nationalism and its effect on socio-political development, an insight into the representativeness of applicability of the criteria is essential in order to make the military ‘national’ in the context of Pakistani military.  The author argues that the Defence Forces of Pakistan miserably failed to withstand the ‘standard’ of ‘National’ Army and the neglect of nation-building policies in the process eroded the thin veneer of Pakistani national identity.  This inquiry into the composition and policies of Defence Services of Pakistan has revealed how the woeful level of under-representation of the Bengalis aided the failure of nation building in Pakistan and deepened the Bengalis’ sense of alienation.