The Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD, www.cpd.org.bd), established in 1993 by Professor Rehman Sobhan with support from leading civil society institutions in Bangladesh, is mandated by its Deed of Trust to service the growing demand that originates from the emerging civil society of Bangladesh for a more participatory and accountable development process. CPD seeks to address this felt need by way of organising multi-stakeholder consultations, by conducting research on issues of critical national and regional interests, through dissemination of knowledge and information on key developmental issues, and by influencing the policy making process in the country.
In the process, CPD strives to bridge the gap between empirical research and policy advocacy through a sustained effort in public policy analysis. CPD endeavours to create a national environment conducive to open public discussion on important policy issues with a view to ensuring domestic ownership over the policy agenda and also building a broad-based support for such policies. Over the past eleven years CPD has emerged as Bangladesh’s premier think-tank and has established its credibility as one of the very few places in Bangladesh where the government and opposition political parties are agreeable to sit around a dialogue table and conduct an informed discussion with the civil society.
CPD focuses on frontier issues which are critical to the development process of Bangladesh in the present context, and which are expected to shape and influence the country’s development prospect in the mid-term. CPD’s current programme portfolio includes research activities, holding of dialogues, publication and dissemination as well as networking related initiatives. CPD strives to enhance the national capacity for economy-wide policy analysis, fosters regional co-operation and addresses issues, which concern Bangladesh’s effective integration into the process of globalisation.
CPD’s target groups are diverse and include both policy- makers as well as those for whom policies are designed in the first place. Thus, CPD seeks to involve important cross-sections of the society including public representatives, government officials, business leaders, representatives of grassroots organisations, academics, development partners, and other relevant interest groups. These interest groups are engaged in exchange of views in all the three phases of the CPD process, viz. identification of socially relevant issues, generation of substance for policy analysis and validation of policy approaches.
At the core of CPD’s activities lies its dialogue programme. In order to move away from the prevailing tradition of rhetorical exchanges, CPD designs the dialogue format in such a way as to stimulate a constructive engagement and informed exchange of views. Since the goals of CPD are not merely academic, but operational, the dialogues are so designed as to come up with specific recommendations in terms of both redefining policies and also for ensuring their effective implementation. These recommendations are then placed before current and prospective policy-makers of the country as inputs to the policy making process.
To strengthen the information and analytical base of the dialogue process, the CPD maintains an active research portfolio. CPD’s flagship research activity relates to preparation of an annual Independent Review of Bangladesh’s Development (IRBD), which looks at critical issues of national interest in various sectors of the economy and society with a view to put forward concrete policy suggestions. CPD also carries out policy relevant research on frontier development issues, which include Trade Policy Analysis and Multilateral Trading System, Governance and Policy Reforms, Investment Promotion and Enterprise Development, Agriculture, Ecosystems, Environment and Rural Development, Regional Cooperation and Integration, Poverty and Regional Inequality.
Publication and Dissemination
CPD pursues an extensive programme for disseminating the research and dialogue outputs through regular publications and website posting. CPD’s current publication list contains more than 200 titles including Books, Monographs, Occasional Papers, Dialogue Reports and Policy Briefs. Selected parts from CPD publications are also regularly posted on CPD’s website. Information about ongoing CPD activities is also regularly published in the CPD Quarterly.
At present CPD has 57 full-time staff working in its three core divisions: Research, Dialogue & Communication and Administration. A number of Interns and Visiting Fellows are also associated with various CPD activities. CPD also draws on the strength of the rich pool of its Senior Fellows and Fellows.