Bangladesh has made remarkable progress in socioeconomic development since the early 2000s, but the benefits of the economic growth have not been equally shared among people. A wide poverty gap between rural and urban areas still persists, and poverty rates in the northern part of the country are higher than the other parts. As key strategies to reduce regional disparities, the Government of Bangladesh stresses rural infrastructure development and local government capacity building in the 6th Five-Year Plan 2010-2015, and integrated rural-urban linkages in the draft National Urban Sector Policy 2011. This was the rationale for the formulation of NRRDLGIP (now re-named NOBIDEP). The main objectives of this preparatory survey were: 1) to conduct a study on all aspects of the project design that were required for appraisal by JICA; and 2) to propose the detailed Project plan.
IC Net proposed all project details including the methodology for selecting and prioritizing rural and urban infrastructure investments, design standards and technical specifications, procurement procedures, the methodology for selecting target pourashavas (local cities), design of performance-based urban governance improvement action program (UGIAP) for target pourashavas, institutional arrangements for project implementation, a rural road maintenance action plan, an urban infrastructure operation and maintenance action plan, social, resettlement and environmental frameworks, and detailed project costs. IC Net evolved and refined the project design through a continuing process of consultations with LGED and other stakeholders. With regard to project monitoring and evaluation, IC Net defined: 1) a logical framework, including indicators and means of verification; 2) a mechanism for progress monitoring, including methodology, procedure, and institutions; and 3) a mechanism for benefit monitoring and evaluation, including methodology, procedure, resources and institutions.
Based on the survey results, IC Net proposed a six-year yen-loan-supported project, now named NOBIDEP. This proposed project is innovative in combining rural and urban infrastructure investments in a single project to promote rural-urban linkages, and introducing a method of performance-based resource allocation for infrastructure and governance improvements in target pourashavas. Furthermore, the project emphasizes sustainability, giving special attention to the maintenance of infrastructure and capacity building. The NOBIDEP has successfully entered into the implementation after approval by the Government of Bangladesh and the Government of Japan in early 2013.