SDGs to be Achieved by 2030- Is CHT Proceeding in the Right Track?

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Parvedge Haider

Sustainable development is the pathway to the future we want for all. It offers a framework to generate economic growth, achieve social justice, exercise environmental stewardship and strengthen governance. Ban Ki-moon, Former Secretary-General of the United Nations.

Gender equality is more than a goal in itself. It is a precondition for meeting the challenge of reducing poverty, promoting sustainable development and building good governance. Kofi Annan, Former Secretary-General of the United Nations.

Humanitarian response, sustainable development, and sustaining peace are three sides of the same triangle. Antonio Guterres, Secretary-General of the United Nations.

The development potentials of Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT) is enormous due to its vast tourism possibilities, plenty fish in Kaptai lake, organized fruit gardens, ample of vegetation and dedicated working hands. After signing of CHT accord in 1997, various opportunities have been created to materialize this potentials. Although CHT has been identified as underdeveloped, deprived and backward areas of Bangladesh, there are significant developments in different sectors over the years. Day by day the signs of developments are reaching to the distant remote places of CHT districts. Unfortunately, the enormous potentials CHT holds, the progress of developments is not proceeding in the similar pace.    Among many factors, the illegal existence of tribal regional parties’ armed groups is the main barrier for the inclusive development of CHT. The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) were set in 2015 by the United Nations General Assembly and are intended to be achieved by the year 2030[1]. The responsible machineries of Government of Bangladesh (GOB), International Organizations (IOs) and Non-Government Organizations (NGOs) are continuing their efforts to achieve all 17 interlinked goals[2] of SDG despite numerous limitations and challenges.

Photo-1 : CHT in Bangladesh

At present, CHT districts are lagging behind in terms of basic human needs, health and nutrition, social security, access to improved water and sanitation, physical infrastructure, employment, economic and social empowerment compared to other regions of the country. The hardcore poverty rate for the CHT people is about 25 percent[3]. However, the positive attitude of GOB has been reflected in the gradual increase of budget allocation for CHT. In 1997, the development budget allocation for CHT was 44.80 crores; it has been raised to 1194 crores in 2019-20 financial year; the total budget of Ministry of CHT Affairs (MoCHTA) was Tk.735 crore in the fiscal year 2014-15[4] and then with the gradual rise in every year, it has been increased to 1,235 crore in 2020-21. Already significant steps have been taken for the development of CHT, much more will need to be done in a prioritized manner to achieve the SDGs in this region by 2030. Bangladesh aspires to achieve middle income country status by 2021, the plan also emphasizes the development priorities in the CHT and their contribution to the overall economic development of the country. Due to positive initiative of the GOB, there are General Social Safety Net Programs (SSNPs) such as allowances, food transfer, conditional grants and loans for the people of CHT areas[5]. The Ministry of Education undertook a great project by establishing the Science and Technological University in Rangamati. Some other projects have been initiated by the said ministry and the Ministries of Cultural Affairs, Agriculture, and Fisheries and Animal Resources. Unfortunately, according to Implementation Monitoring and Evaluation Department (IMED) data, Annual Development Programs (ADP) of MoCHTA are being less executed as per the allotted money and at the end of a financial year, these are hastily expended[6]. That means, despite the positive initiative of GOB, the development process of CHT has been slower. This paper will study the state of materialization process of SDGs by 2030 despite numerous challenges prevailing in CHT; at the same time, the openings and platforms created as result of CHT accord for promoting lasting peace, inclusive growth, and sustainable development process will also be assessed.

What is Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)?

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) or Global Goals are a collection of 17 interlinked goals designed to be a blueprint to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all. The SDGs were set in 2015 by the United Nations General Assembly and are intended to be achieved by the year 2030. The SDGs represent a transformative agenda that will transform the economies and societies of developing countries with a view to eliminating poverty by 2030. The agenda is not simply about protection from vulnerability or poverty; it is about broader economic, social, and political transformation. The 17 SDGs are as follows[7]:

  • No Poverty
  • Zero Hunger
  • Good Health and Well-being
  • Quality Education
  • Gender Equality
  • Clean Water and Sanitation
  • Affordable and Clean Energy
  • Decent Work and Economic Growth
  • Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure
  • Reducing Inequality
  • Sustainable Cities and Communities
  • Responsible Consumption and Production
  • Climate Action
  • Life Below Water
  • Life on Land
  • Peace, Justice, and Strong Institutions
  • Partnerships for the Goals

Despite numerous initiative of the GOB, comprehensive planning and adequate budget allocations, CHT districts are lagging behind in many of the major goals and targets. The presence of tribal regional parties’ armed groups, illegal tax collections almost in all the sectors, creation of insecure environment contradictory to tourism potentials, extortion and many other anti-state activities of the vested corners are causing impediments to achieve SDGs by 2030.

Goal 1: No poverty

The main theme of this goal is “End poverty in all its forms everywhere”; that means by achieving SDG 1 extreme poverty will be eliminated in CHT by 2030. It focuses eradication of extreme poverty; reduction of all poverty by half; implementation of social protection systems; ensuring equal rights to ownership, basic services, technology, and economic resources; and the building of resilience to environmental, economic and social disasters. After signing of CHT accord, although there are noteworthy progress in reducing poverty, still lags behind significantly in socioeconomic development and poverty alleviation. The poverty rate in Bandarban is comparatively more among the CHT districts. Alikadam, Thanchi, Rowangchhari, Ruma, and Naikkongchhari are among the most deprived upazilas in CHT. The incidence of poverty among the different ethnic communities also varies considerably, specially the poverty state among the Lushai, Bawm, Chak, Khyang, and Pangkhua communities are more. However, with the initiative of Bangladesh Army, the tourism projects in Sajek, Nilgiri, Rangamati, Kaptai etc areas are enormously supporting these tribal communities for availing at least away from the hard core poverty life.

Photo-2: Gradual Reduction of Poverty in CHT

Goal 2: Zero hunger

The main theme of this goal is “End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition, and promote sustainable agriculture”. SDG 2 focuses of ending hunger and improving access to food; ending all forms of malnutrition; agricultural productivity; sustainable food production systems and resilient agricultural practices; and genetic diversity of seeds, cultivated plants and farmed and domesticated animals; investments, research and technology.

Photo-3: Symbolic Photo of Food Security

There are scarcities of food in some of the areas of CHT, especially from June to August almost in every year. The nutrition status of children in the CHT is not up to the expected level. The prevalence of underweight children is higher in all three CHT districts; in Bandarban it is 33.9%, Khagrachari 35% and in Rangamati 47.4 %[8]. Historically, the tribal communities are habituated in Jhum cultivation. Due to land erosion and various environmental factors, Jhum cultivation is discouraged[9]. Now a days the tribal communities are more interested in fruit valued plantations. CHT districts are the producers of different categories of mangoes, lychee, banana and pineapple. This practice has become a life-changer for many of the tribal communities.

Photo-4 : The People of CHT are more interested in Fruits Plantation

There are scarcities of food in many of the remote places of CHT. Besides lack of production of food grains now a days in those areas, poor communication system is also an issue for their crisis. According to a sample study by this researcher, the following remote places need special attention:

  • In Rangamati District, Baghaichari Upazilla, Sajek Union, the people of following villages/paras come across huge scarcities of food every year-
  • Udolchari-Located 30 to 35 km North of Sajek Parjatan- Number of families, 12.
  • Notun Jopui and Puraton Jopui- Located 20 to 25 km North of Sajek Parjatan- Number of families, 11.
  • Tang Tang Para- Located 20 km North of Sajek Parjatan- Number of families, 15.
  • Tosui Para- Located 15 to 16 km North of Sajek Parjatan- Number of families, 12.
  • Rannya Para- Located 10 to 12 km North of Sajek Parjatan- Number of families, 11.
  • Hajjya Para- Located 10 to 11 km North East of Sajek Parjatan- Number of families, 14.
  • Bolpia Adam and Dab Adam- Located 08 to 09 km North of Sajek Parjatan- Number of families, 30.
  • Komlapur Para- Located 17 to 18 km North of Sajek Parjatan- Number of families, 19.
  • Long Toan Para- Located 10 to 12 km North of Sajek Parjatan- Number of families, 12.
  • Tarum Para- Located 09 to 10 km North of Sajek Parjatan- Number of families, 12.
  • In Bandarban District, the people of following villages/paras come across huge scarcities of food every year-
  • Roangchari Upazilla- Aungjai Para, Bang Chari Tripura Para, Bang Chari Punorbashon Para, Rounni Joydhor Tong Para, Fosao Para, Alekhkhong Para Murong Bazar, Bagan Para 07 Number Ward, Duluchari Upor Para and Niche Para, Gongkhan Khiyang Para, Dochori, Buri Mro Para, Bagher Khumi Para, Marki Mro Para, Baroitoli Para, Abu Mro Para and Krong Lai Khiyang Para.
  • Bandarban Sadar Upazilla- Sairong Bom Para, Girishe Wa Para, Thangkriee Marma Para, Roaza Para, Buri Upor and Niche Para and Gong Prue Aaga Para(Marma and Khiyang Community),
  • Ruma Upazilla- Porua Marma Para,Soigong Para, Sanaikrue Marma Para, Notun Para Pransa UP, Manlaigro Para, Alechu Marma Para and Thoaibuthong Para.
  • Thanchi Upazilla- Thiburi Karbari Para, Narikel Para, Mogotkree Mro and Marma Para, Bhaibon Para, Galegga Marma Para, Yanghegri Marma Para and Baro Madok.
  • Lama Upazilla- Prongo Para, Tongbushey Marma Para and Lapaigoi Marma Para.
  • Alikadam Upazilla- Thandajhiri Para, 22 Kilo Para, Moniram Para and Dukha Commander Mro Para.
  • Naikhongchari Upazilla- Banoful Para and Waga Para.

Goal 3: Good health and well-being for people

The aim of goal 3 is to ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages. It emphases reduction of maternal mortality; ending all preventable deaths under 5 years of age; fight communicable diseases; ensure reduction of mortality from non-communicable diseases and promote mental health; prevent and treat substance abuse; reduce road injuries and deaths; grant universal access to sexual and reproductive care, family planning and education; achieve universal health coverage; and reduce illnesses and deaths from hazardous chemicals and pollution. In the remote places of CHT, the rates of maternal and infant mortality remain high and both women and children tend to be anemic. Women experiencing complications during pregnancy and childbirth die due to the lack of available health care staff or services at health facilities as well as lack of transportation to reach an appropriate health facility. However, the basic healthcare state at the district and upazilla sadar level are good. Besides the efforts of district civil surgeon office, there are commendable initiatives of Bangladesh Army, various NGOs and different IOs for ensuring basic healthcare of the general people. Unfortunately, despite having required infrastructures in all the CHT districts, sometimes patients need to evacuate to Chittagong or Dhaka for better treatment. The main reasons of such situation is like other parts of Bangladesh; specialist doctors are not interested to stay in CHT, there are inadequate maintenance of medical equipment according to the requirement of health-hygiene factors and there are scarcities of those equipment & operators.

Photo-5: Bangladesh Army Doctors are treating the Tribal Patients of CHT

Goal 4: Quality education

The aim of goal 4 is to ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all. It emphases free primary and secondary education; equal access to quality pre-primary education; affordable technical, vocational and higher education; increased number of people with relevant skills for financial success; elimination of all discrimination in education; universal literacy and numeracy; and education for sustainable development. In CHT, the literacy rate in Bandarban is 35.9%, Rangamati 49.7% and in Khagrachari it is 46.1%. The access to primary schools remains difficult in many paras of CHT. Among the tribal communities, Khumi, Mro, and Khyang have the highest proportion of population with lack of education[10].

Photo-6: Primary Education in CHT

Besides the contributions of GOB, different NGOs and IOs are working at the macro levels for improving the state of basic education among all the communities of CHT. There are huge allocations of government funds through Hill District Councils (HDCs). Despite all above efforts, the state of basic and primary education is not improving in CHT for the following reasons:

  • Massive corruption in the HDCs’ recruitment process of the primary school teachers.
  • In the remote areas, there is an illegal system of proxy teachers. That means, the originally appointed teacher hands over responsibility to another individual who is likely to be unqualified; but the salary is being collected by the originally appointed teachers. The proxy teacher is being paid by the originally appointed teachers and he gets involved in some other business.
  • There is hardly any check and balance in the primary schools at the remote places. That means, there are adequate educational infrastructures in those places, but barely any good use of those.
  • It is also true, there shortages of schools in some of the extreme remote places of CHT.

Goal 5: Gender equality

The objective of goal 5 is to achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls. It focuses ending all forms of discrimination against all women and girls everywhere; ending violence and exploitation of women and girls; eliminating harmful practices such as child, early and forced marriage and female genital mutilation; increasing value of unpaid care and promoting shared domestic responsibilities; ensuring full participation of women in leadership and decision-making; and ensuring access to universal reproductive rights and health.

In the CHT, women receive almost no support from agricultural extension, credit, marketing, or other institutional services, and are largely absent from community decision-making processes. Women have little access to information and few linkages with outside communities; they bear the burden arising from the strenuous socio-political situation but their voices remain largely unheard. There are only 13 headwomen against 372 headmen while there are 415 women Karbaris against 4,263 male Karbaris in three circles[11], while in the Chittagong Hill Tracts Regional Council (CHTRC) only 3 out of 25 positions for members are reserved for women. Girls’ education has a low priority, one-third of girls overall are not consulted on matrimonial issues, and almost none in the Mro communities. Only one-fifth of women in the CHT can inherit property, and virtually none in the Mro and Khyang communities[12]. But the reality is, women work very hard growing food, raising and caring for livestock, collecting firewood, and fetching water, while carrying out all the daily household work. Women also carry their products to the nearest market for selling. They also make handicraft objects from bamboo and cane.

Photo-7: Tribal Woman is Preparing Handicrafts

Despite the poor state of gender equality in CHT, strong protesting voices of Hill Women Federation (HWF) and other similar minded women rights parties are missing at the national and regional level. They are being wrongly and sometimes purposefully exploited by the interested corners. Although the tribal regional parties’ activists are strongly against the inter-community/religion marriage, there are hundreds of examples of these type of marriages; educated tribal girls understand their rights and many a times they opt their own way ignoring the red eyes of tribal regional parties’ armed groups.

Goal 6: Clean water and sanitation

The objective of goal 6 is to ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all. It focuses to ensure safe and affordable drinking water; end open defecation and provide access to sanitation and hygiene, improve water quality, wastewater treatment and safe reuse, increase water-use efficiency and ensure freshwater supplies, implement Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM), protect and restore water-related ecosystems.

Photo-8: Tribal Child is Collecting Water in a Remote Place of CHT

Despite recent efforts of GOB, access to safe drinking water and sanitation remain poor in CHT. In Bandarban less than half of households have access to improved drinking water sources or improved sanitation. Access to improved sanitation is even lower in Khagrachari (27%) and Rangamati (33%)[13].

Goal 7: Affordable and clean energy

The aim of goal 7 is to ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all. It emphases to confirm an universal access to modern energy; increase global percentage of renewable energy; double the improvement in energy efficiency; promote access to research, technology and investments in clean energy; and expand and upgrade energy services.

Photo- 9: Sajek Ruilui para School with Solar Energy

The energy access to people of CHT is not up to an expected level; access to solar energy is also very low. In Bandarban, only 28 % of households have access to electricity, and a further 5% to solar power; in Khagrachari, the state is 33% and 2% respectively. In Rangamati, the access of electricity is 42% and solar users are 6%.

Goal 8: Decent work and economic growth

The aim of goal 8 is to promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all. It focuses to achieve higher productivity with diversification and upgraded technology along with innovation, entrepreneurship, and the growth of small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

Photo- 10: Decent work and economic growth State in CHT

Although the general people of CHT are mostly involved with timber business, this sector doesn’t have much contribution to overall economic growth. At present, CHT people are more interested in various fruit gardens. As there are huge tourism potentialities in all three CHT districts, people are getting involved and interested in different form of tourism business; at present there are hundreds of hotels, resorts, hired transports and restaurants for fulfilling the demands of tourists. Despite its potentialities, tourism sector is being developed in a disorganized manner.

Goal 9: Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure

The aim of SDG 9 is to build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization, and foster innovation. This goal includes striving for resilience (engineering and construction) and urban resilience. In all three CHT districts, there is only one garment factories, ‘Lumbini Garments’ in Bandarban. Although around 60 to 70 thousand tribal people are working in different garment factories in Chittagong, Gazipur and Dhaka, there is hardly any economy generating industries in CHT. The lands allotted by Bangladesh Small and Cottage Industry Corporation (BSCIC) is almost vacant. Earlier, there was an excuse of low powered electricity, presently the power is adequate; even though people are not getting interested for building any industry or infrastructure due to fear of tribal regional parties’ armed groups. As there are plenty of fruits in CHT, it was possible to establish some juice factories besides different industries.

Photo- 11: Requirement of Activating BSCIC and Need to Establish EPZs in CHT

Goal 10: Reducing inequalities

The aim of SDG 10 is to reduce income inequality. It focuses to reduce income inequalities; promote universal social, economic and political inclusion; ensure equal opportunities and end discrimination; adopt fiscal and social policies that promote equality; improve regulation of global financial markets and institutions; enhance representation of financial institutions; and responsible and well-managed migration policies.

Photo- 12: Inequalities in CHT

Like other parts of Bangladesh, there are inequalities within different communities staying in CHT. The life style of the people staying in the remote places of CHT are not similar to the people staying in upazillas and district sadar areas. Quality education is also creating these inequalities.

Goal 11: Sustainable cities and communities

The aim of SDG 11 is to make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable. It focuses to measure the proportion of urban population living in slums or informal settlements.

Photo- 13: Poor Living Standard of the Bengalis in the Cluster Village at Babuchara

In CHT, the Bengalis staying in the cluster villages are the worst sufferer. These people are away from their basic needs. The rate of leaving school at the primary level are more among the children staying in cluster villages. Due inadequate education and scarcity of basic living, many of the youths are adopting various illegal trades including drugs.

Goal 12: Responsible consumption and production

The aim of SDG 12 is to ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns. It emphases to achieve the sustainable management and efficient use of natural resources; reducing by half the per capita global food waste at the retail and consumer levels; achieving the environmentally sound management of chemicals and all wastes throughout their life cycle; reducing waste generation through prevention, reduction, recycling and reuse; encourage companies to adopt sustainable practices; promote public procurement practices that are sustainable and ensure that people everywhere have the relevant information and awareness for sustainable development.

Photo- 14: Illegal Stone Extraction from Bandarban

In CHT, the management of natural resources needs improvement. There are allegations of extraction of natural stones in different places of Bandarban. As timber business is the main life line of the people of CHT, massive extraction of trees from the reserve forests have been occurred over the years.

Goal 13: Climate action

The aim of SDG 13 is to take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts by regulating emissions and promoting developments in renewable energy. It focuses strengthening resilience and adaptive capacity to climate-related disasters; integrate climate change measures into policies and planning; build knowledge and capacity to meet climate change.

Photo- 15: Landslide and Flood in CHT

There are incidents of landslides almost every year in CHT. It is happening due to unplanned urbanization and jhum cultivation. Although the incidents of flood are not massive in number, it happens almost each after alternative years.

Goal 14: Life below water

The aim of SDG 14 is to conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development. It focuses to reduce marine pollution; protect and restore ecosystems; reduce ocean acidification; sustainable fishing; conserve coastal and marine areas; end subsidies contributing to overfishing; increase the economic benefits from sustainable use of marine resources.

Photo- 16: Diversified Use of Kaptai Lake

Kaptai Lake is located in the heart of CHT. Hundreds of people are living on the fish of this lake. Besides the Hydro-Electricity Project, this lake has become a communication hub for getting access in the remote places. During dry seasons, some of the places of this lake are being utilized for cultivation.

Goal 15: Life on land

The aim of SDG 15 is to protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, and halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss. Due to massive urbanization, managing terrestrial ecosystems and forests become challenging in CHT. Moreover, long tradition of Jhum cultivation had been causing desertification in many places. Fortunately, people are getting conscious day by day and gradually they are preferring environment-friendly cultivation.

Goal 16: Peace, justice and strong institutions

The aim of SDG 16 is to promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels. It focuses to reduce violence; protect children from abuse, exploitation, trafficking and violence; promote the rule of law and ensure equal access to justice; combat organized crime and illicit financial and arms flows, substantially reduce corruption and bribery; develop effective, accountable and transparent institutions; ensure responsive, inclusive and representative decision-making; strengthen the participation in global governance; provide universal legal identity; ensure public access to information and protect fundamental freedoms.

Photo- 17: Violence in CHT

In CHT, due to the presence of Tribal Regional Parties’ armed groups violence in different forms are prevailing. Although an accord has been signed between the GOB and Parbattya Chattogram Jano Sanghoti Samity(PCJSS) in 1997 and tribal armed groups are supposed to leave all their illegal weapons, it did not happen that way; now four different tribal regional parties’ armed groups are trying the create the overall security situation unstable. Security forces deployed in CHT are relentlessly working to promote the rule of law and ensure equal access to justice; combat organized crime and illicit financial and arms flows.

Goal 17: Partnerships for the goals

The aim of SDG 17 is to strengthen the means of implementation and revitalize the global partnership for sustainable development. It focuses to develop multi-stakeholder partnerships to share knowledge, expertise, technology, and financial support for the overall success of SDGs.

In CHT, besides the enormous contribution of government machineries, IOs and NGOs are also participating in various development process. Unfortunately, the development projects being planned and executed by the IOs are not permanent infrastructure oriented. Moreover, various individual and society development projects are biased to some particular tribal communities, Bengalis are always ignored, although there are almost 50% Bengali populations in CHT.

United Nations Development Program (UNDP) initiated project ‘Strengthening Inclusive Development (SID)’ has already been implemented in all 121 Unions of 26 Upazilas in three Hill Districts of Rangamati, Khagrachari and Bandarban.  Its main focus is inclusiveness of all communities in the area, and it will have a stronger impact on ecosystems, social development, and development of institutions.

How to Address all the Challenges for Achieving SDGs by 2030?

Since the inception of insurgency in Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT), there were situational variants in the overall security environment. After signing of CHT accord, the security situation has turned to a new dimension. Despite enormous potentialities in CHT, there are number of challenges for achieving all the SDGs by 2030. Although there are number of challenges, these are directly or indirectly related to the presence of Tribal Regional Parties’ armed groups. One stable security situation can attract tourism and diversified investments in different economic sectors. Ultimately it could create more job opportunities that would fascinate the armed group activists to remain in the right path.

The Government might politically address the present situation of CHT. Normally the leftist parties in Bangladesh support the ideology and activities of PCJSS and UPDF without understanding much about the future consequences. UPDF’s demand of autonomy and the overall far-reaching intention of the tribal regional parties are to create a separate ‘Jummaland’-this aspect needs to be clearly understood by those interested corners. The government might take an effort to instill patriotism within the leaders of tribal regional parties. They must feel that they are Bangladeshi. The influential tribal leaders might be employed in the central responsibility to generate feelings for the whole country, Bangladesh.

There might be announcement from the home ministry for all the armed group activists to surrender their weapon and get general amnesty. The persons who all will surrender might be offered with job as per their qualifications. Total number of armed group members will not be more than 1500. So it will not be difficult for the government to rehabilitate these 1500 people. It is to be noted that GOB (Government of Bangladesh) already did the same offer for the robbers of Sundarbans and Moheshkhali in the recent past.

GOB has already decided to establish more hundred EPZs in all over Bangladesh by 2030. The biggest EPZ is being established at Mirershorai and Sonagazi due to its closer distance from Chittagong Sea Port. The same service could be provided from the hill districts if GOB plans to establish two to three EPZs in CHT. The armed activists operating in different tribal regional parties receive very poor amount of salary from their respective parties. Most of these people are really frustrated. They would flee away from those armed groups if they would have other safe alternatives. If GOB creates job opportunities for those frustrated people, there is a strong possibility that gradually those armed group activists will opt for a safe life considering the future of their next generation.

The enormous natural beauty of CHT could be more exploited by creating different tourism venues. Already basing on the tourist spots like ‘Sajek’ and ‘Nilgiri’, huge job opportunities have been created for the general tribal and Bengalis. Besides the hotels and resorts, there are businesses of departmental stores and tourist transportations in Khagrachari. Now the ministry of tourism might develop the existing tourism spots and at the same time explore new possibilities of tourism venues. All these efforts will also assist to create the tribal-Bengali relationship easier.

Considering the enormous development potentialities of CHT, SDGs are very much achievable by 2030. GOB has shown the emblem of it many a times. In 1970, there was only 50 KMs of road in CHT, whereas in 2020, it is 1500 KMs; construction of 317 KMs border parallel road is going on full swing; in 1980’s there was only 11 schools in CHT, now this number has reached to 479; literacy rate has been raised from 2% to 45%; some of the tribal communities children are getting their primary level education in their own community language; as many as 28 hospitals and community clinics have been established in CHT over the years; approximately ten thousand families and 2700 small scale organizations are getting solar powered electricity; almost whole areas of CHT have been brought within mobile connection network by utilizing more than 200 towers[14]. So, it needs coordinated efforts to achieve the rest; only government alone cannot do it. All the machineries of government, IOs, NGOs and other stake holders should work for a common goal and objective. Country interest comes first; it’s not ‘I’or ‘us’, it is ‘We’ and ‘Ours’; that means all tribal communities and Bengali inhabitants of CHT should strive for a common interest as a team for achieving all SDGs by 2030 or even before stipulated schedule.


[1] The Sustainable Development Agenda, .
[2] THE 17 GOALS, .
[3] Khokon Suiten Murmu, Budget allocations must target different indigenous populations specifically, .
[4] Mahfuz Kabir, Don’t forget the CHT, .
[5] BARKAT-E-KHUDA, Social Safety Net Programs in Bangladesh: A Review.
[6] Mahfuz Kabir, Don’t forget the CHT, .
[7] THE 17 GOALS, .
[8] Achieving the Sustainable Development Goals in Chittagong Hill Tracts – Challenges and Opportunities, ICIMOD Working Paper 2016/12, MoCHTA.
[9] Jhum, .
[10] Achieving the Sustainable Development Goals in Chittagong Hill Tracts – Challenges and Opportunities, ICIMOD Working Paper 2016/12, MoCHTA.
[11] National Consultation on Women’s Participation in Customary Institutes of CHT held,Bangladesh Nari Progoti Sangho, .
[12] Parvedge Haider, Bangladesh er Upojati Somprodayer Prothgoto Ayine Narir Odhikar Bisleshon, .
[13] Achieving the Sustainable Development Goals in Chittagong Hill Tracts – Challenges and Opportunities, ICIMOD Working Paper 2016/12, MoCHTA.
[14] CHT Development Documentary, .
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