Friday, 15 January 2016

Article - Team CPD, Bangladesh

Post-Rana Plaza Monitoring: A Civil Society Initiative

Team CPD


The Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD) is a Think Tank based in Bangladesh. CPD undertook a programme titled ‘Post-Rana Plaza Monitoring: A Civil Society Initiative’ following the collapse of a building (Rana Plaza) on 24 April, 2013 that housed five garment factories. This tragedy claimed more than 1,130 lives of Ready Made Garment (RMG) workers and fatally injured thousands more. Immediately after the incident, promises of financial and other forms of support for the victims, and also for the RMG sector poured from the government, RMG manufacturers, international buyers and development partners. However, once the immediate concerns were addressed, the pace of delivery of commitments started to lose momentum.
CPD stepped in and decided to follow up on the actual delivery status of those commitments in partnership with 14 civil society organisations and a few eminent persons in Bangladesh.

Process of Monitoring Exercise

A monitoring  exercise was carried out rigorously for two consecutive years from May 2013 to April 2015. As a result several deliverables were planned keeping in mind the various audiences. Some of the key ones were:

  • Preparing 3 in-depth reports based on field-level investigations and interviews of all stakeholders including the victims, RMG workers, factory owners, policy makers and buyers of RMG
  • Organising 4 national-level dialogues
  • Conducting  special sessions with development partners to discuss their responsibilities on this
  • Organising  expert group meetings with relevant stakeholders
  • Launching a  dedicated page on its website
  • Publishing  articles at home and abroad
  • Producing a video.

External Support

Resources from Think Tanks played an important role in materialising the initiative. TTI support provided CPD the confidence to undertake this challenging task even though it was not designed in CPD’s annual work plan.


The response to CPD’s initiative was overwhelming. The reports were accessed online across the world. Dialogues were widely attended and covered by media. Several organisations and individuals were inspired to extend their assistance to the victims as they learned about the victims’ struggle through CPD’s dialogues. CPD has been included in the advisory boards of some of the key bodies engaged in the area of physical and social compliance of the industry.
The initiative was able to establish accountability on the part of key actors including the government and major buyers who were responsible for follow up actions. The initiative put forward concrete suggestions as to what should be done to address the gaps in the implementation of the planned actions. The initiative was also able to engage key stakeholders including major buyers of apparels from Bangladesh to discuss possible modalities concerning distribution of value along the value chain to incentivise investment by entrepreneurs towards better compliance in the apparels sector of the country.
Whilst there were a number of initiatives concerning various areas following the tragedy, a key distinctive feature of the CPD initiative was that it was driven by a dedicated group of partner organisations and over a sustained period of time.
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