Institutional development is one of the main focus areas of the National Food Policy Capacity Strengthening Programme. Apart from assisting in the development of a sound policy framework and programming document (the National Food Policy and the associated Plan of Action), the Programme has also helped broaden food security debates to other domains and mainstream institutional mechanisms to formulate and implement related policies.
The Programme has particularly focused on strengthening the role and capacity of the Food Planning and Monitoring Unit, which is the Government agency responsible for monitoring the implementation of the National Food Policy Plan of Action and for providing food security policy advice to the Government of Bangladesh. An Institutional Assessment carried out at the beginning of 2009 identified six major areas of intervention, including structural changes, improved human resource management, and strengthened inter-ministerial collaboration (please click here for an overview of past and future activities).
Thanks to the Programme, the agency now has fully functional offices, highly skilled staff and adequate technical capacity. Furthermore, its revised structure better responds to Bangladesh’s food security challenges as each Directorate works on a specific dimension of food security: i.e. the Directorate of Food Availability deals with all issues related to domestic food supply; the Directorate of Food Access covers the physical, economic and social barriers to adequate access of food; and the Directorate on Food Utilization looks into the nutritional aspects of food security. The Directorate of Management, Information and Communication, finally, ensures an efficient information exchange between all food security stakeholders. This new organizational structure, coupled with a focus on results-based management, have allowed the agency to take a leading role in the formulation and implementation of food security policies.
Inter-sectoral collaboration is particularly fostered through the work of the Food Policy Working Group and the Thematic Teams that each draw on a broad membership from different domains related to food security. Indeed, various sectors and disciplines are represented at ministerial level in these institutions, including agriculture, rural development, women and children affairs, health, finance, commerce and disaster management.