Financing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in Bangladesh

During the years of the Millennium Development Goals, Bangladesh experienced a period of sustained
growth. This enabled the country to make good progress on related indicators, like the prevalence of
underweight children under-five years of age, and the net enrollment in primary school. But challenges
remained as the country set to work on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Bangladesh’s leaders
would have to figure out how to come up with the financing to make that work possible. Beyond the goals, it
showed resilience in the wake of the Great Recession by maintaining solid growth. And in 2015, the country
climbed into the World Bank’s lower middle-income category.

To prepare for the challenge, Bangladesh’s Economic Relations Division (ERD) commissioned an independent
Development Finance Assessment (DFA). Released in early 2016, “Strengthening Finance for the 7th Five
Year Plan and SDGs in Bangladesh,” mapped Bangladesh’s financial flows for development to aid planning
for the SDGs. Research for the report was supported by a number of development agencies, including
the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), and the Asia Pacific Development Effectiveness
Facility. The comprehensive report was a first for Bangladesh, as it included all financial flows from private
to public as well as domestic and foreign sources. It went beyond tracking finances as it also included
the assessment of policies and the institutions that support finance, technical systems and tools, and the
human resources available to manage all aspects of Bangladesh’s financial flows, while also planning the
path forward. It also provided recommendations for reforms that could help foster a financing framework
that would help Bangladesh deliver on its development priorities, while also doing its part on the SDGs.