EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

Democratic Transition, Responsible Governance Security Reform Workshop

Bangladesh Partnered Outreach

12 – 16 August 2007


Objectives.  The objectives of this workshop were to stimulate and enhance a constructive dialogue among the political leaders, policy makers, civil society, academics, and security practitioners as well as to generate ideas and proposals for a coherent and cooperative civil-military contribution toward resolving the current political crisis and reenergizing the democratic process.

 

Purpose.  The purpose of this evaluation is to assess the impact on participants at this outreach event in Bangladesh as well as its effectiveness in achieving the stated objectives.

 

Results.  Based on participants’ feedback, this workshop helped to build Bangladesh’s institutional capacity for better governance by identifying governance issues and recommending steps ahead.  Views were harmonized through frank and open discussions between participants.  Additional collaborative workshops and further interactions/meetings were deemed necessary to continue the cooperative and collaborative environment began by this workshop.  The information gained from this workshop will be used to educate others through dissemination, information sharing, and written reports.

Survey Analysis

 

HARMONIZE VIEWS ON COMMON SECURITY CHALLENGES:

Frank & Open Discussions:  Opening up the dialogue between participants helped generate ideas and proposals towards reforming governance in Bangladesh.  Participants stated “this workshop provided a forum where systematically and through meticulously controlled discussions thought-provoking ideas were generated which led to concrete proposal[s] on the theme of the workshop.  It allowed free and open opinion[s] of the participants to be deliberated upon and arrived at a consensus recommendation.  This unique [approach] which APCSS follows to come to a solution to a problem is worth appreciating.”  Participants acknowledged the workshop “initiated discussion on elements which were taboo [and] generated greater understanding and warmth between civil and military.  [Civil and military personnel now] understand each others position and turf better.”  Participants affirmed that the “many practitioners, security sector thinkers and academicians…help[ed] to generate ideas.”  “The combination of group member[s] and their participation on the subject helped [to] formulate proposals and recommendations for enhancing the ability of [reforming the] security sector in Bangladesh.”  “This forum provided an opportunity to all the representatives of the security organizations and force [them] to sit [at the] table [and] look into their weaknesses in light of the present political situation of Bangladesh.  Ideas streaming from all the actors of security sector; i.e., defense forces, police, paramilitary, etc. and Inteligensia, lawyers, business personality, civil society, etc. were cross examined, problems identified and recommendations made.” This increased understanding and improved dialogue between parties will help harmonize views and improve chances for reformation in Bangladesh.

Collaborative Workshops:  Many participants saw the need for future collaborative workshops emulating this one.  They observed “this workshop [as] an example for other such events” and “propose[d] holding more workshops in collaboration with local civil society organizations and think-tanks.”  Participants requested future “conferences, seminars and workshop[s] within Bangladesh” and “even similar activities with APCSS again after two years to see how far Bangladesh has succeeded on the outcome of the present workshop.”

Follow-up Interactions/Meetings:  Some participants anticipate follow-up interactions and meetings as a result of this workshop.  These interactions would “continue the brainstorming exercise to work out micro details and monitor follow-up development[s].”  They believed that “follow-up interaction [was required] so that monitoring and flexible application [of the recommendations could] be implemented.”  Others participants saw meetings “among the policy makers to look at the recommendations.”

BUILD INSTITUTIONAL AND SECURITY CAPACITY:

Identifying Governance Issues: The workshop generated ideas and proposals towards reforming governance in Bangladesh by identifying governance issues and recommending steps ahead.  Participants stated “the workshop was successful in capturing the main governance issues of Bangladesh.”  They believed “this workshop [was] the first such workshop where a threadbare and unbiased debate took place regarding democracy, governance and security reforms in Bangladesh.”  “By [this] selective method, the essentials of governance problems have been located, identified, selected and elaborated for specific steps within a timeframe locating its agencies/authorities through whom the steps are to be taken.”  A participant summed up the workshop by saying, “It’s very critical to ensure that next elections are held after we have undertaken realistic reforms to enhance transparency, accountability as well as a mature political leadership.  In this context, this workshop came up with a roadmap for actual implementation.”

EDUCATE OFFICIALS ON THE ROLE OF SECURITY IN CIVIL SOCIETIES:

Disseminate & Share Information:  The primary action participants plan to take to help advance governance and security sector reforms in Bangladesh is to disseminate and share the information they gained from this workshop.  A professor plans to “educate [his] students … [during his course on] International Security.”  A journalist plans to disseminate “the thoughts and ideas that were expressed during the group discussion, particularly the recommendations [and] give [them] as wide a runway as possible.”  Another participant will “address a seminar at the Heritage Foundation in Washington and the Global Strategic Review (GSR) in Geneva where [he will] present papers on Bangladesh” to include his experience at this workshop.  Others plan to “interact with civil society and pass on the recommendations for their consideration/deliberation.”

Written Reports:  Participants plan to write reports on the findings and recommendations to help advance governance and security sector reforms in Bangladesh.  Some participants “will submit an evaluation report to [their] authority [to take the] necessary action [on] the findings and recommendation[s] of the workshop.”  One participant “will initiate research [and report] on a national integrity strategy.”  Others will “write on the imperatives of governance and security sector reforms” as discussed in this workshop.

Survey Methodology.  The Outreach Survey was administered to 100% of the 47 participants with attendance from 23 different organizations.   The survey was comprised of 3 qualitative questions and an additional comment section.

Contact Information.  For more information, please contact Assessment and Evaluation at (808) 971-8911 or email mcdonaldd@apcss.org.

 

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