The government of Bangladesh signed an agreement with the World Bank for USD 300 million financing. It will help the country strengthen its local urban institutions to respond and recover from the Covid 19 pandemic and improve preparedness for future shock.
It will help its cities and towns to build back better as they recover from the pandemic and prepare for future shocks, including climate change, disasters, and disease outbreaks. In addition, 329 municipalities and 10 city corporations will receive funds bi-annually from the project to improve critical urban services and infrastructures to mitigate and respond to climate change impacts, disasters, and future disease outbreaks.
The project will carry out labour-intensive public works to ensure water supply and sanitation, drainage, and other critical services. These will benefit the low-income areas, slums, and areas exposed to high disease outbreak and disaster risks. It will simultaneously create 1.5 million days of short-term work as well as jobs for 10,000 women under the public works scheme for the urban poor.
The project will install hand-washing stations and toilets, including separate facilities for women and improve sanitation in public spaces such as markets, burial grounds, and offices. It will also help disabled people to access municipality-owned health clinics and conduct awareness programs on vaccines and other COVID-19 protocols, as well as outreach on gender-based violence and climate risks.
World Bank Country Director for Bangladesh and Bhutan Mercy Tembon said that currently 36 percent of the people in Bangladesh live in urban areas. The city corporation and municipalities can play a critical role in helping the urban poor recover from the pandemic as well as prepare to handle future shocks.