Accountability and Responsiveness in Managing Covid-19 in Bangladesh
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This Working Paper reports on a scoping study on the mechanisms and processes through which the Bangladeshi government listened to citizens’ needs and citizens held government accountable for its policy responses to the Covid-19 pandemic. Based on an extensive review of selected literature; online and official data; and key informant interviews with 20 officials, media, and civil society actors, the paper explores the official and governmental mechanisms as well as non-state and informal mechanisms through which government listened to citizens’ concerns and answered for its actions. The paper first explains the rationale for the scoping study, situating accountability and responsiveness within the broader assessment of the governance of the pandemic. It then sets out the political context within which accountability and responsiveness mechanisms have been operating in Bangladesh: the political dominance of the Awami League has narrowed the space for critique, dissent, and independent civil society and media for nearly 15 years, but strong pressures to earn ‘performance legitimacy’ to some extent counteract the closure of civic space.