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Leather sector reform in Bangladesh

Published by: The Asia Foundation and ODI


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This paper examines the Asia Foundation’s efforts to support change in Bangladesh’s leather sector. Working closely with local partners, the Asia Foundation team has specifically supported efforts to move tanneries out of a dangerously polluted location to a modern industrial park that will improve compliance with health and environmental protection standards, and potentially lead to growth in the sector. As of the publication date, this critical relocation has already begun. This case study lays out the real-time decisions and processes which drove the strategy and implementation of this project, providing useful insights into how politically astute and flexible programs can be successfully implemented. This case has emerged from an action research process, which was led by a researcher from the Overseas Development Institute and conducted over the course of almost two years. By capturing and analysing the experiences of the programme team in Bangladesh, the paper provides practical insights for those in the development community intending to implement similar kinds of programming.

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General Information

SDGs Goal 3: Good health and well-being Goal 12: Responsible consumption, production
Published
2016
Thematic Area
Sustainability
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Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all

Since the creation of the Millennium Development Goals there have been historic achievements in reducing child mortality, improving maternal health and tackling HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria and other diseases. In 15 years, the number of people newly infected by HIV each year has dropped from 3.1 million to 2 million and over 6.2 million lives were saved from malaria. Since 1990, maternal mortality fell by 45 percent, and worldwide there has been an over 50 percent decline in preventable child deaths globally.  

Despite this incredible progress, AIDS is the leading cause of death among adolescents in sub-Saharan Africa, and 22 million people living with HIV are not accessing life-saving antiretroviral therapy. New HIV infections continue to rise in some locations and in populations that are typically excluded or marginalised.

Chronic and catastrophic disease remains one of the main factors that push households from poverty into deprivation. Non-communicable diseases (NCDs) impose a large burden on human health worldwide. Currently, 63% of all deaths worldwide stem from NCDs – chiefly cardiovascular diseases, cancers, chronic respiratory diseases and diabetes. The cumulative economic losses to low- and middle-income countries from the four diseases are estimated to surpass US$ 7 trillion by 2025. Additionally, there continues to be underinvestment in the social circumstances and environmental factors affecting health. The job on HIV and health is far from done.

Recognizing the interdependence of health and development, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) provide an ambitious, comprehensive plan of action for people, planet and prosperity and for ending the injustices that underpin poor health and development outcomes.

SDG 3 aspires to ensure health and well-being for all, including a bold commitment to end the epidemics of AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria and other communicable diseases by 2030. It also aims to achieve universal health coverage, and provide access to safe and effective medicines and vaccines for all. Supporting research and development for vaccines is an essential part of this process as well as expanding access to affordable medicines.

Promoting health and well-being is one of 17 Global Goals that make up the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. An integrated approach is crucial for progress across the multiple goals.

Learn more about the targets for Goal 3.

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Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all

Since the creation of the Millennium Development Goals there have been historic achievements in reducing child mortality, improving maternal health and tackling HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria and other diseases. In 15 years, the number of people newly infected by HIV each year has dropped from 3.1 million to 2 million and over 6.2 million lives were saved from malaria. Since 1990, maternal mortality fell by 45 percent, and worldwide there has been an over 50 percent decline in preventable child deaths globally.  

Despite this incredible progress, AIDS is the leading cause of death among adolescents in sub-Saharan Africa, and 22 million people living with HIV are not accessing life-saving antiretroviral therapy. New HIV infections continue to rise in some locations and in populations that are typically excluded or marginalised.

Chronic and catastrophic disease remains one of the main factors that push households from poverty into deprivation. Non-communicable diseases (NCDs) impose a large burden on human health worldwide. Currently, 63% of all deaths worldwide stem from NCDs – chiefly cardiovascular diseases, cancers, chronic respiratory diseases and diabetes. The cumulative economic losses to low- and middle-income countries from the four diseases are estimated to surpass US$ 7 trillion by 2025. Additionally, there continues to be underinvestment in the social circumstances and environmental factors affecting health. The job on HIV and health is far from done.

Recognizing the interdependence of health and development, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) provide an ambitious, comprehensive plan of action for people, planet and prosperity and for ending the injustices that underpin poor health and development outcomes.

SDG 3 aspires to ensure health and well-being for all, including a bold commitment to end the epidemics of AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria and other communicable diseases by 2030. It also aims to achieve universal health coverage, and provide access to safe and effective medicines and vaccines for all. Supporting research and development for vaccines is an essential part of this process as well as expanding access to affordable medicines.

Promoting health and well-being is one of 17 Global Goals that make up the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. An integrated approach is crucial for progress across the multiple goals.

Learn more about the targets for Goal 3.

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The SDG Fund response

By incorporating health services and health specialists, the SDG Fund programmes tackle the health challenges and opportunities underlying intersectoral interventions. In addition, the SDG Fund, particularly through the work of the World Health Organization, promotes positive changes in national and local health policies.

For example,

  • In Guatemala, the SDG Fund programme is addressing the health damages produced by aflatoxin contamination in corn. A risk analysis report is determining the prevalence and damage to health and a pilot is being tested to be expanded to other regions in the country.
  • In Paraguay, the SDG Fund is working with the health system as part of a cross-sector approach for indigenous and vulnerable rural households, particularly female headed families, to produce nutritious and diversified food production. Health personnel is being trained on new monitoring systems to track health and nutrition status.
  • In Sri Lanka, the joint programme is addressing food insecurity by closely aligning with national policies and using national surveys for more efficient and effective investments in food security and nutrition by highlighting the gaps, opportunities and impact of current initiatives. For example, the Demographic and Health Survey (DHS) includes a detailed assessment of nutrition for children under 5 and a manual on health and nutrition for preschool is being developed to improve nutrition in schools.
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The SDG Fund response

By incorporating health services and health specialists, the SDG Fund programmes tackle the health challenges and opportunities underlying intersectoral interventions. In addition, the SDG Fund, particularly through the work of the World Health Organization, promotes positive changes in national and local health policies.

For example,

  • In Guatemala, the SDG Fund programme is addressing the health damages produced by aflatoxin contamination in corn. A risk analysis report is determining the prevalence and damage to health and a pilot is being tested to be expanded to other regions in the country.
  • In Paraguay, the SDG Fund is working with the health system as part of a cross-sector approach for indigenous and vulnerable rural households, particularly female headed families, to produce nutritious and diversified food production. Health personnel is being trained on new monitoring systems to track health and nutrition status.
  • In Sri Lanka, the joint programme is addressing food insecurity by closely aligning with national policies and using national surveys for more efficient and effective investments in food security and nutrition by highlighting the gaps, opportunities and impact of current initiatives. For example, the Demographic and Health Survey (DHS) includes a detailed assessment of nutrition for children under 5 and a manual on health and nutrition for preschool is being developed to improve nutrition in schools.
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  • By 2030, reduce the global maternal mortality ratio to less than 70 per 100,000 live births
  • By 2030, end preventable deaths of newborns and children under 5 years of age, with all countries aiming to reduce neonatal mortality to at least as low as 12 per 1,000 live births and under-5 mortality to at least as low as 25 per 1,000 live births
  • By 2030, end the epidemics of AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria and neglected tropical diseases and combat hepatitis, water-borne diseases and other communicable diseases
  • By 2030, reduce by one third premature mortality from non-communicable diseases through prevention and treatment and promote mental health and well-being
  • Strengthen the prevention and treatment of substance abuse, including narcotic drug abuse and harmful use of alcohol
  • By 2020, halve the number of global deaths and injuries from road traffic accidents
  • By 2030, ensure universal access to sexual and reproductive health-care services, including for family planning, information and education, and the integration of reproductive health into national strategies and programmes
  • Achieve universal health coverage, including financial risk protection, access to quality essential health-care services and access to safe, effective, quality and affordable essential medicines and vaccines for all
  • By 2030, substantially reduce the number of deaths and illnesses from hazardous chemicals and air, water and soil pollution and contamination
  • Strengthen the implementation of the World Health Organization Framework Convention on Tobacco Control in all countries, as appropriate
  • Support the research and development of vaccines and medicines for the communicable and noncommunicable diseases that primarily affect developing countries, provide access to affordable essential medicines and vaccines, in accordance with the Doha Declaration on the TRIPS Agreement and Public Health, which affirms the right of developing countries to use to the full the provisions in the Agreement on Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights regarding flexibilities to protect public health, and, in particular, provide access to medicines for all
  • Substantially increase health financing and the recruitment, development, training and retention of the health workforce in developing countries, especially in least developed countries and small island developing States
  • Strengthen the capacity of all countries, in particular developing countries, for early warning, risk reduction and management of national and global health risks
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  • By 2030, reduce the global maternal mortality ratio to less than 70 per 100,000 live births
  • By 2030, end preventable deaths of newborns and children under 5 years of age, with all countries aiming to reduce neonatal mortality to at least as low as 12 per 1,000 live births and under-5 mortality to at least as low as 25 per 1,000 live births
  • By 2030, end the epidemics of AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria and neglected tropical diseases and combat hepatitis, water-borne diseases and other communicable diseases
  • By 2030, reduce by one third premature mortality from non-communicable diseases through prevention and treatment and promote mental health and well-being
  • Strengthen the prevention and treatment of substance abuse, including narcotic drug abuse and harmful use of alcohol
  • By 2020, halve the number of global deaths and injuries from road traffic accidents
  • By 2030, ensure universal access to sexual and reproductive health-care services, including for family planning, information and education, and the integration of reproductive health into national strategies and programmes
  • Achieve universal health coverage, including financial risk protection, access to quality essential health-care services and access to safe, effective, quality and affordable essential medicines and vaccines for all
  • By 2030, substantially reduce the number of deaths and illnesses from hazardous chemicals and air, water and soil pollution and contamination
  • Strengthen the implementation of the World Health Organization Framework Convention on Tobacco Control in all countries, as appropriate
  • Support the research and development of vaccines and medicines for the communicable and noncommunicable diseases that primarily affect developing countries, provide access to affordable essential medicines and vaccines, in accordance with the Doha Declaration on the TRIPS Agreement and Public Health, which affirms the right of developing countries to use to the full the provisions in the Agreement on Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights regarding flexibilities to protect public health, and, in particular, provide access to medicines for all
  • Substantially increase health financing and the recruitment, development, training and retention of the health workforce in developing countries, especially in least developed countries and small island developing States
  • Strengthen the capacity of all countries, in particular developing countries, for early warning, risk reduction and management of national and global health risks
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Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns

Achieving economic growth and sustainable development requires that we urgently reduce our ecological footprint by changing the way we produce and consume goods and resources. Agriculture is the biggest user of water worldwide, and irrigation now claims close to 70 percent of all freshwater appropriated for human use.

The efficient management of our shared natural resources, and the way we dispose of toxic waste and pollutants, are important targets to achieve this goal. Encouraging industries, businesses and consumers to recycle and reduce waste is equally important, as is supporting developing countries to move towards more sustainable patterns of consumption by 2030.

A large share of the world population is still consuming far too little to meet even their basic needs. Halving per capita global food waste at the retailer and consumer levels is also important for creating more efficient production and supply chains. This can help with food security and shift us towards a more resource efficient economy.

Responsible production and consumption is one of 17 Global Goals that make up the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. An integrated approach is crucial for progress across the multiple goals.

Learn more about the targets for Goal 12.

[format] => full_html [safe_value] =>

Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns

Achieving economic growth and sustainable development requires that we urgently reduce our ecological footprint by changing the way we produce and consume goods and resources. Agriculture is the biggest user of water worldwide, and irrigation now claims close to 70 percent of all freshwater appropriated for human use.

The efficient management of our shared natural resources, and the way we dispose of toxic waste and pollutants, are important targets to achieve this goal. Encouraging industries, businesses and consumers to recycle and reduce waste is equally important, as is supporting developing countries to move towards more sustainable patterns of consumption by 2030.

A large share of the world population is still consuming far too little to meet even their basic needs. Halving per capita global food waste at the retailer and consumer levels is also important for creating more efficient production and supply chains. This can help with food security and shift us towards a more resource efficient economy.

Responsible production and consumption is one of 17 Global Goals that make up the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. An integrated approach is crucial for progress across the multiple goals.

Learn more about the targets for Goal 12.

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The SDG Fund response

The SDG Fund is collaborating with partners, including from the private sector, to promote more responsible consumption and outsourcing practices, with a particular focus on ensuring that local farmers can obtain a fairer share of the value generated across the value chain.

For example,

  • The SDG Fund is working with the UNDP Goodwill Ambassadors, the Roca Brothers chefs, who are leading a conversation on how chefs can make a difference in reaching the Sustainable Development Goals. At the UN ECOSOC Chamber they gathered with key representatives of the food, nutrition, and development world to discuss how the food industry can contribute to achieve the SDGs and make food accessible for everyone everywhere. They are already working on the ground in some specific projects, including in Nigeria.
  • In Peru, the SDG Fund is contributing to establish an inclusive value chain in the production of quinoa and other Andean grains, so that the increased demand in the international market can convert into economic and social improvements of currently vulnerable producers.
  • In Fiji, the SDG Fund is promoting organic agriculture, a production system that sustains the health of soils, ecosystems and people. Organic agriculture combines tradition, innovation and science to benefit the shared environment and promote fair relationships and a good quality of life for all involved. The programme is working with the tourism industry to ensure that organic production satisfies a growing demand in the industry.
  • In Bolivia, the SDG Fund joint programme is supporting four municipalities to establish sustainable agricultural production systems which will increase the incomes of the poorest families and improve the nutritional state of boys, girls and mothers.
[format] => full_html [safe_value] =>

The SDG Fund response

The SDG Fund is collaborating with partners, including from the private sector, to promote more responsible consumption and outsourcing practices, with a particular focus on ensuring that local farmers can obtain a fairer share of the value generated across the value chain.

For example,

  • The SDG Fund is working with the UNDP Goodwill Ambassadors, the Roca Brothers chefs, who are leading a conversation on how chefs can make a difference in reaching the Sustainable Development Goals. At the UN ECOSOC Chamber they gathered with key representatives of the food, nutrition, and development world to discuss how the food industry can contribute to achieve the SDGs and make food accessible for everyone everywhere. They are already working on the ground in some specific projects, including in Nigeria.
  • In Peru, the SDG Fund is contributing to establish an inclusive value chain in the production of quinoa and other Andean grains, so that the increased demand in the international market can convert into economic and social improvements of currently vulnerable producers.
  • In Fiji, the SDG Fund is promoting organic agriculture, a production system that sustains the health of soils, ecosystems and people. Organic agriculture combines tradition, innovation and science to benefit the shared environment and promote fair relationships and a good quality of life for all involved. The programme is working with the tourism industry to ensure that organic production satisfies a growing demand in the industry.
  • In Bolivia, the SDG Fund joint programme is supporting four municipalities to establish sustainable agricultural production systems which will increase the incomes of the poorest families and improve the nutritional state of boys, girls and mothers.
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  • Implement the 10-year framework of programmes on sustainable consumption and production, all countries taking action, with developed countries taking the lead, taking into account the development and capabilities of developing countries
  • By 2030, achieve the sustainable management and efficient use of natural resources
  • By 2030, halve per capita global food waste at the retail and consumer levels and reduce food losses along production and supply chains, including post-harvest losses
  • By 2020, achieve the environmentally sound management of chemicals and all wastes throughout their life cycle, in accordance with agreed international frameworks, and significantly reduce their release to air, water and soil in order to minimize their adverse impacts on human health and the environment
  • By 2030, substantially reduce waste generation through prevention, reduction, recycling and reuse
  • Encourage companies, especially large and transnational companies, to adopt sustainable practices and to integrate sustainability information into their reporting cycle
  • Promote public procurement practices that are sustainable, in accordance with national policies and priorities
  • By 2030, ensure that people everywhere have the relevant information and awareness for sustainable development and lifestyles in harmony with nature
  • Support developing countries to strengthen their scientific and technological capacity to move towards more sustainable patterns of consumption and production
  • Develop and implement tools to monitor sustainable development impacts for sustainable tourism that creates jobs and promotes local culture and products
  • Rationalize inefficient fossil-fuel subsidies that encourage wasteful consumption by removing market distortions, in accordance with national circumstances, including by restructuring taxation and phasing out those harmful subsidies, where they exist, to reflect their environmental impacts, taking fully into account the specific needs and conditions of developing countries and minimizing the possible adverse impacts on their development in a manner that protects the poor and the affected communities
[format] => full_html [safe_value] =>
  • Implement the 10-year framework of programmes on sustainable consumption and production, all countries taking action, with developed countries taking the lead, taking into account the development and capabilities of developing countries
  • By 2030, achieve the sustainable management and efficient use of natural resources
  • By 2030, halve per capita global food waste at the retail and consumer levels and reduce food losses along production and supply chains, including post-harvest losses
  • By 2020, achieve the environmentally sound management of chemicals and all wastes throughout their life cycle, in accordance with agreed international frameworks, and significantly reduce their release to air, water and soil in order to minimize their adverse impacts on human health and the environment
  • By 2030, substantially reduce waste generation through prevention, reduction, recycling and reuse
  • Encourage companies, especially large and transnational companies, to adopt sustainable practices and to integrate sustainability information into their reporting cycle
  • Promote public procurement practices that are sustainable, in accordance with national policies and priorities
  • By 2030, ensure that people everywhere have the relevant information and awareness for sustainable development and lifestyles in harmony with nature
  • Support developing countries to strengthen their scientific and technological capacity to move towards more sustainable patterns of consumption and production
  • Develop and implement tools to monitor sustainable development impacts for sustainable tourism that creates jobs and promotes local culture and products
  • Rationalize inefficient fossil-fuel subsidies that encourage wasteful consumption by removing market distortions, in accordance with national circumstances, including by restructuring taxation and phasing out those harmful subsidies, where they exist, to reflect their environmental impacts, taking fully into account the specific needs and conditions of developing countries and minimizing the possible adverse impacts on their development in a manner that protects the poor and the affected communities
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The concept of long term sustainability of development programmes is constantly evolving.

The SDG Fund definition involves:

  1. Inclusion and participation in programme initiatives within the vision of a Human Rights-based approach
  2. Economic use of resources in programme implementation
  3. Sustainability of programme achievements after termination of activities
  4. Mainstreaming environment and climate change in development programmes

For our programmes integrating sustainability requires an analysis of the governance architecture and the different stages of the programme cycle. At the national level, this could include the formulation of national policies, long term and multi-year development plans, sectoral budgetary allocation processes, and regulatory processes. At the level of projects on the ground, climate change adaptation considerations might need to be factored within specific elements of the project cycle.

As an example, a key element to mainstreaming climate change is the use of a climate lens. The following criteria are essential elements to be observed:

  • The extent to which the policy, plan, or project under consideration could be vulnerable to risks arising from climate variability and change
  • The extent to which climate change risks have already been taken into consideration
  • The extent to which the policy, plan, or project could inadvertently lead to increased vulnerability and maladaptation or miss important opportunities arising from climate change

The following publications offer useful guidance for introducing environmental sustainability and climate change sensitivity into development programmes:

See also this list of references from the UNFCCC on how to mainstream climate change into development programming.

[summary] => [format] => full_html [safe_value] =>

The concept of long term sustainability of development programmes is constantly evolving.

The SDG Fund definition involves:

  1. Inclusion and participation in programme initiatives within the vision of a Human Rights-based approach
  2. Economic use of resources in programme implementation
  3. Sustainability of programme achievements after termination of activities
  4. Mainstreaming environment and climate change in development programmes

For our programmes integrating sustainability requires an analysis of the governance architecture and the different stages of the programme cycle. At the national level, this could include the formulation of national policies, long term and multi-year development plans, sectoral budgetary allocation processes, and regulatory processes. At the level of projects on the ground, climate change adaptation considerations might need to be factored within specific elements of the project cycle.

As an example, a key element to mainstreaming climate change is the use of a climate lens. The following criteria are essential elements to be observed:

  • The extent to which the policy, plan, or project under consideration could be vulnerable to risks arising from climate variability and change
  • The extent to which climate change risks have already been taken into consideration
  • The extent to which the policy, plan, or project could inadvertently lead to increased vulnerability and maladaptation or miss important opportunities arising from climate change

The following publications offer useful guidance for introducing environmental sustainability and climate change sensitivity into development programmes:

See also this list of references from the UNFCCC on how to mainstream climate change into development programming.

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Working closely with local partners, the Asia Foundation team has specifically supported efforts to move tanneries out of a dangerously polluted location to a modern industrial park that will improve compliance with health and environmental protection standards, and potentially lead to growth in the sector. As of the publication date, this critical relocation has already begun. This case study lays out the real-time decisions and processes which drove the strategy and implementation of this project, providing useful insights into how politically astute and flexible programs can be successfully implemented. This case has emerged from an action research process, which was led by a researcher from the Overseas Development Institute and conducted over the course of almost two years. By capturing and analysing the experiences of the programme team in Bangladesh, the paper provides practical insights for those in the development community intending to implement similar kinds of programming. 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