A view of the Sadarghat boat terminal, Dhaka, Bangladesh. © Shutterstock

  • Total value of UN-Habitat investments (2008-2013): US$ 42,509,311.
  • Total number of UN-Habitat projects (2008-2013): 3 projects
  • Main donors: Department For International Development (DFID), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and BASF Social Foundation.

Bangladesh with a population of about 158,570,535 (July 2011) is one of the most densely populated and the fastest urbanizing countries of the world.

General information
Since independence in 1971, its the population of Bangladesh grew at about six per cent each year. The annual national population growth rate is about 1.5% while the urban population growth rate is about 3%. The number of urban centers has increased five-fold in less than twenty years. Almost 60% of GDP in Bangladesh is contributed from urban sector. The fast pace of unplanned and uncontrolled urban development is creating enormous challenges to sustainable development of the country.

Of an urban population of 45 million people in 2010 (28.5% of total population), an estimated 9.4 million people, or 21.3 per cent, are absolute poor, 7.7 per cent, or 3.4 million people, are extreme poor with consumption levels of around 1,805 Kcal per day or less. Urban migration is largely a result of better employment opportunities, especially the readymade garments sector, and educational opportunities. Push factors are also important. While most people migrate for economic reasons, more than 26 per cent do so for environment and climate related reasons such as natural disasters, river erosion and re-current flooding.

UN-Habitat projects in Bangladesh

A Public Space Inventory for Khulna

A public space inventory for Khulna was prepared and a participatory design has been developed for the improvement of Khulna Solar Park.

Duration: Up-to 01/12/2017

Value: $100000

Donor: Mojang

Implementing Partners: Khulna City Corporation and Khulna University


Rehabilitation of Solar Park, Khulna

Khulna is the third largest industrial city of Bangladesh. With a rapidly growing population, there is an increasing demand for recreational facilities in the city. UN-Habitat will provide technical and financial support to revitalize and up-grade the centrally located Solar Park, providing participatory design tools as well as the methodology for  engaging communities around the park. The project will also encourage Khulna City Corporation to develop a city-wide strategy for upgrading existing public spaces. A Minecraft workshop held in 2015 produced several innovative proposals for the space. Implementation will start in 2016.

Duration: 2015 – ongoing

Value: $80000

Donor: Mojang

Implementing Partners: Khulna City Corporation and Khulna University


Local Partnerships for Urban Poverty Alleviation project (LUPAP) 

Realizing the importance of the urban sector UNDP in partnership with UN-Habitat launched the Local Partnerships for Urban Poverty Alleviation project (LUPAP) in 2000. LUPAP had been designed on the premise of empowering the urban poor to be responsible for their own development. Community empowerment and capacity building process focused on community decision- making and action, through communities to prepare Community Action Plans (CAP) identifying their needs and prioritizing them, provision of basic services and community infrastructure through Community Contracts with financial support from a project community development fund and technical support from town teams and local government, Apprenticeship programs, support to group businesses and other direct poverty alleviation activities supported by a poverty alleviation fund, Community empowerment through community-organized savings and credit programs and Capacity of local government and elected representatives developed by project supported training.

Project Expansion (2008)

Based on the success of LPUPAP, DFID made a financial commitment to expand the project to 30 cities and towns, to improve the livelihoods and living conditions of three million urban poor and extremely poor people, especially women and girls. The result was the design of the Urban Partnerships for Poverty Reduction project (UPPR) which started implementation in 2008 under the highly successful platform and approach to urban poverty reduction. The project will continue till March 2015.

DFID (UKAid), UNDP, the Government of Bangladesh and the beneficiary communities provide project funds, totaling about USD 120 million. UN-Habitat is responsible for community mobilization through People’s Process and improving settlements through the Settlement Improvement Fund with a budget of about USD 47.3 million. Other implementing partners are UNDP, the Local Government Engineering Department (LGED), Local Government Division, Ministry of Local Government, Rural Development and Cooperatives, Government of Bangladesh.


The project continues to follow a community empowerment approach in which groups of slum households are mobilized and supported to identify and prioritize issues they face, decide on actions to address them, and undertake these actions themselves, in collaboration with local government and non-government service providers. Community Action Planning process includes and integrates interventions through Community Contracts in physical infrastructure improvement, livelihoods support such as apprenticeship, business start-up grants, vocational training, urban food production activities, child educational stipends, savings-and-credit operations, improvement of security of tenure, and social interventions to address early marriage, dowry, domestic violence and drug abuse.


Cumulatively, by the end of 2013, UPPR has covered over 3.4 million people in 816,200 households. They were mobilized into 24,953 primary groups in 2,588 CDCs where 98 per cent are female members. Among the households 81 per cent are extreme poor and poor. Some 388,900 households formed and joined 26,100 savings and credit groups. These groups have collectively saved a total of USD 6.8 million. Cumulative loans USD 13.7 million has been disbursed to group members. During past four years, UN-HABITAT has processed 3,718 community contracts with a budget of USD 36.8 million. 214,000 households have improved drinking water, 441,500 households are benefiting from 624 kilometers of footpath and 249 kilometers of drainage. 183,000 households benefited from improved latrines. These numbers probable places UPPR among of the largest organized urban community based programs.


Md. Akhtaruzzaman
Habitat Program Manager
Urban Development Directorate
83, Segun Bagicha
Dhaka 1000
+88-0171 406 6289
+88-0153 459 7445