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LGRD and Cooperatives Adviser Anwarul Iqbal has called on the member countries of the Centre on Integrated Rural Development for Asia and the Pacific (Cirdap) to create a common fund to scale up training, research and project activities within the organisation, says a press release.

The call was made yesterday while presenting the country statement of Bangladesh at the ministerial retreat of rural development ministers of 14 countries of the Asia-Pacific region which is going on in New Delhi, the Indian capital.

The meeting is focusing on the issue of information and communication technology (ICT) and gender equality and empowerment in rural development programmes.

The adviser said the LGRD and cooperatives ministry is taking the lead in establishing institutional network along with other government and non-government institutions for implementing rural development policies.

Various projects are now underway for overall rural development and especially to create employment opportunities for vulnerable rural women and for their skill development programmes to empower them. Moreover, the government has taken necessary steps to strengthen the local government systems in order to make quick response to the needs and priorities of the local people.

Bangladesh has made significant progress in ICT sector and is planned to improve social welfare through integration into rural development activities, including agricultural, rural planning and the fisheries industry, he added.

The adviser further said the government of Bangladesh is looking forward to hold the 17th Governing Council meeting and the 2nd ministerial meeting of Cirdap in Dhaka in 2009.

The ministerial retreat will conclude today by adopting 'New Delhi Declaration'.

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