The Access to Information (a2i) Programme of the Prime Minister’s Office organized a policy dialogue on ‘South-South and Triangular Cooperation for Public Service Innovation’ on 27th March 2016 at Karabi Hall of Prime Minister’s Office. The Hon’ble Prime Minister’s International Affairs Adviser Dr. Gowher Rizvi attended the event as chief guest while Country Director of UNDP Bangladesh Ms. Pauline Tamesis, Deputy Director of the Democracy and Governance Office of USAID Bangladesh Mr. Jason Smith and Senior Inter-Regional Adviser of UNDESA Mr. Richard Kerby were present as special guests.

The policy dialogue explored South-South and Triangular Cooperation opportunities created by a2i to implement the government’s Digital Bangladesh Vision 2021 agenda. These opportunities include 4,500+ Digital Centres at the grassroots serving millions of underserved citizens; Multimedia Classrooms in 27,000 schools improving education for millions of students; the National Portal connecting 42,000 offices of the government featuring unprecedented transparency; Service Process Simplification to reduce citizens’ time, cost and number of visits to government offices; 1,000 Innovation Teams and Service Innovation Fund supporting hundreds of innovations within the government and private sector. The achievements of Digital Bangladesh were recognized through prestigious World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) awards given to Bangladesh in 2014 and 2015.

Lessons from the Digital Bangladesh experience may also be of interest to Southern countries facing similar challenges. South-South and Triangular partnerships are potent facilitators for transfer of knowledge and expertise in this regard. a2i is already supporting the Government of Maldives to build Digital Maldives through Access to Information Programme, Maldives. At the same time, a2i is learning from other countries to glean useful lessons for Bangladesh.

The Ambassadors, Deputy Ambassadors and Honorary Consuls of different countries and representatives from Development Partners joined the Policy Dialogue. Ambassador of European Union (EU) H.E Pierre Mayaudon, Ambassador of Republic of Korea H.E AHN Seong-doo, High Commissioner of Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka H.E Yasoja Gunasekera, High Commissioner of Republic of Maldives H.E Dr. Mohamed Asim, Representative of United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) Edouard Beigbeder, Country Director of ILO Srinivas Reddy, Charge d’Affaires of Palestine H.E. Mr.Yousef S Y Ramadan, Charge d’Affaires of Libya H.E Mahmud MM Sallabi, Deputy Head of Mission of Arab Republic of Egypt H.E Amhed Zaki, Deputy Country Director of KOICA Bangladesh Choi Junho, Senior Advisor of IFRC Asia Pacific Regional Office Dr. Shammi Ahmed, Senior Public Sector Specialist of World Bank Syed Khaled Ahsan, Principal Country Specialist of Asian Development Bank (ADB) Mohammed Parvez Imdad and Executive Director of Partners in Population and Development (PPD) Dr. Joe Thomas joined the dialogue among others.