RESA Project Bangladesh Experience
Context • Goals 2020: • Providing access to affordable and reliable electricity to all citizens • A long way to go • Electricity coverage – 43% • Per capita electricity consumption – 165 kWh • One of the lowest in the world. • Pace of power sector development to be accelerated. • Reforms must • People’s participation in the reforms process important.
RESA Project in Bangladesh • Implemented by Unnayan Shamannay with support from CUTS International • Collaboration with the Consumers Association of Bangladesh (CAB) • The major consumer organization of the country having committees across the country • 13 local CSOs as partners working in 13 districts.
Project Coverage Consumers Association of Bangladesh (CAB) Gaibandha Singrijani Manob Unnayan Shangstha Sirajganj SWC Gazipur AREED Chapainababganj Beel Chalan Unnayan Shangstha Comilla United People’s Trust Rajshahi Shepa Society Khagrachhari Ujjibak Meherpur Thikana Manob Kalyan Shangstha Bhola CAB, Bhola Jessore Sushamaj Foundation Cox’s Bazar Wait & See Barisal People’s Dev. Org. Khulna Desh
Year 1 Activities • Local inception workshop • With training of local CSOs • Baseline survey • Base paper • First Meeting of the National Reference Group • Territorial training • All the CSOs participating • Grassroots interface meeting (GIM) – Phase 1 • Eight places of the country covering 12 districts.
GIM 1 Locations 1 8 7 4 2 6 3 5
Strengths of the Project • Advocacy experience of Unnayan Shamannay • Strong network of CAB • Strong position of the local partners in the respective localities • Good liaison with different electricity authorities and the regulatory commission • High profile NRG with skilled members • Reputation of the team leader • Continuous support from CUTS.
Limitations of the Project • Limited geographical coverage • Only parts of 13 out of 64 districts • Only about 700 people reached • Limited resources • Financial and human resources • Short duration • Two years too short to have any impact • Limited scopes for exposure of the local CSOs and NRG members to other territories.
Opportunities for the Project • New democratic government’s emphasis on electricity • Bangladesh Energy Regulatory Commission (BERC) becoming more visible and proactive to ensure greater people’s participation • BERC’s interest in reaching grassroots • Huge interest of the local CSOs to work for people’s participation in electricity reforms • Interest of other CSOs not currently involved in the project.
Threats for the Project • Poor and deteriorating condition of the electricity sector • Generation shortage being the greatest drawback • People worrying about nothing else but supply. • Energy sector in general subject to lots of political debates • Lack of decisiveness regarding the use of gas and coal.
Strategies for GIM II • To be held during May-July 2009 • 8 locations covering 13 districts • Altering the districts in cases of one GIM covering more than one district • Solutions to the problems raised in GIM I to be addressed • Views of experts in NRG to be taken to devise the solutions • Like GIM I, members of NRG and BERC to be involved as much as possible.
Conclusion • RESA – a good start for facilitating people’s participation in electricity reforms in Bangladesh • Creating scopes for longer term engagement with the local CSOs on the issues of electricity reforms • Capacity building on a wider scale required • Involving more CSOs all over the country • Greater institutional mechanism to work more closely with BERC and the government to be thought about.