State of Governance in Bangladesh 2020–2021 | Governing COVID-19 in Bangladesh: Realities and Reflections to Build Forward Better

Hassan, M., Hossain, N., Islam, S., et al
Publication language
Date published
01 Sep 2021
Research, reports and studies
Accountability and Participation, Coordination, COVID-19, Governance, Health, Recovery and Resillience

As Bangladesh celebrates its 50th year of independence in 2021, it also faces an unprecedented health, social, and economic crisis in the form of the COVID-19 pandemic. A wave of the highly transmissible and deadly Delta variant of the Coronavirus swept through a population, of which less than 3% have been fully vaccinated. Infection rates rose sharply from mid-May to mid-July of 2021, but the 1.12 million recorded cases and 18,125 recorded deaths are very likely to be an underestimation.

 After the first nationwide lockdown of 2021 was announced on 5 April, a second and officially far stricter lockdown was declared in July 2021; but restrictions were eased for the Eid-ul-Adha festival on 21 July. A large majority of the population continues to rely on daily wages, indicating the need for cash or food support to allow them to comply with the lockdown. It is amid these dangerous conditions and urgent need for action that this State of Governance in Bangladesh 2020–2021 report titled “Governing COVID-19 in Bangladesh: Realities and Reflections to Build Forward Better” documents how COVID-19 was managed in its first year. It aims to identify lessons for managing the current crisis and, in the longer term, for redesigning governance to be strengthened from its encounters with the crisis. The State of Governance 2020–2021 report by the BRAC Institute of Governance and Development (BIGD), BRAC University, and the Accountability Research Center, American University, assesses the governance of COVID-19 in Bangladesh to document how policies were made and delivered, analyse the responses of political and government institutions, and derive lessons from the ongoing pandemic to support stronger crisis responses in the future. COVID-19 is a global crisis of unprecedented scale and reach; the factors shaping how different countries have managed it are complex and many; and the crisis is ongoing, including in Bangladesh. While this means it is too early to conclude what kinds of governance responses worked best to protect people against COVID-19 or to mitigate its social and economic costs, it is not too soon to start learning from the first year of the pandemic.