As part of its ongoing tradition of promoting greater domestic ownership over policy design and evaluation of its outcome, prior to the National Parliament Elections 2001, CPD took an initiative to prepare a set of Policy Briefs to feed into the pre-election debate. The objective of this initiative was to come up with a set of actionable agenda for the newly elected government. The programme was developed to conscientise political parties as regards important issues of public concern, and focused on possible policy alternatives. Initiated in June 2000, the programme was implemented through a highly interactive process under the leadership of Professor Rehman Sobhan.
Following the organisation of six local level consultation meetings, sixteen Task Forces were set up to address the issues which were identified through a multistakeholder participatory process. The Task Forces prepared draft policy briefs on: (1) Budgetary Discipline and Public Finance; (2) Finance Sector Reforms; (3) Governance, Fair Election and Institutional Reform; (4) Poverty Eradication and Employment Generation; (5) Gender Equality and Empowerment of Women; (6) Environment Protection; (7) Administrative Reform and Local Government; (8) Industry and Trade Policy Measures; (9) Information and Communication Technology; (10) Education; (11) Health and Population; (12) Energy Sector; (13) Transport and Infrastructure; (14) Land Administration; (15) Urban Governance; and (16) Agricultural Growth and Rural Development. The draft policy briefs, prepared by the Task Forces, were presented at eight regional dialogues, and subsequently at a National Policy Forum organised by the CPD, in collaboration with two leading national dailies, The Daily Star and the Prothom Alo. The National Forum was inaugurated by the then President of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh Justice Shahabuddin Ahmed, and was held in Dhaka during 20-22 August 2001. The Forum provided a unique non-partisan platform to bring together representatives of political parties and members of the civil society to discuss policies and policy alternatives. More than 2,000 participants attended the 16 sessions organised as parts of the National Forum to discuss the various policy briefs prepared by the respective Task Forces.