Training courses on Leadership for mid-level political leaders in collaboration with National Democratic Institute (NDI), Dhaka in different regions of Bangladesh (Dhaka, Chittagong, Sylhet, Rajshahi and Khulna divisions of Bangladesh (2005- 2008)

Short courses on Leadership negotiations skills for young graduates, and mid-career professional serving in the government, state-owned enterprises and corporate and NGO sectors, and members of political parties, modeled for special interests in governance, management and leadership were conducted supported by British Government (Foreign and Commonwealth Office, 2006- 2008)

Dimensions of security, governance and development
*By Mr. Mamun Rashid

When we talk about security, we are implying the three aspects of it: Security of people, investments and assets. Security of people includes people working in a particular territory or district; working at a particular location for a particular employer and also people travelling from other locations to live and work in a certain locality for a certain reason. Security of investments ensure the laws of the land while maintaining the environment of conducting business and determining ease or difficulty of doing business in a particular area. Security of assets protects both physical, information based assets and knowledge based assets, where asset value is determined by material and emotional utility, while helping to retain and improve the confidence of the communities, governments, and entrepreneurs.

The dimensions of governance include the governing of people, business and social activities. Governing people means educating people on law and order; implementing the same law and order upon them- partially, diligently, and consistently while allocating resources to perform this governance effectively. The governance of business activities ensures consistency which impacts security of investment and assets   and as result fosters competition, encourages entrepreneurship, and rewards investors in legitimate ways.

Development broadly covers the area of Human development such as Education, Heath and Access to opportunities. Development of skills such as competencies for jobs, readiness for conducting economic transactions and use of automation in everyday life also falls within the boundary of development. It also oversees the progress in economic parameters and decides whether progress is sustainable.

Development and Security – how are they linked?

Obviously, Security and Development are closely linked. Administrative efforts(Rule of law and related) are important to ensure security, but it is the development that is the strongest and the most effective security blanket, that makes population part of the system, strong stakeholder in ensuring that effort to change the system is gradual and not disruptive.

UN (2005) admits no development without security and no security without development, and both depend on respect for human rights and rules of law. In this regard, the vicious cycle is lack of development leading to conflict leading to lack of development. Researchers in Nigeria indentified food sufficiency, water supply, power supply, good roads, good schools, good hospitals, functional infrastructure, decent housing, effective public transportation system etc. as genuine indicators for national security. It can be seen that countries that record high levels of terrorism tend to be under-developed though development indicators do not significantly correlate with levels of terrorism globally. (Global Terrorism Index Report, 2014)

The above puts a lot of weight on ‘Development’. The age old debate about Growth vs Distribution becomes almost invalid as without inclusive growth the aspiration or effectiveness of development is almost nil.

State fragility, radicalism and militancy in the region

During the last decade and so, the world has observed a steady rise in terrorism and radicalism. Many fragile states have lost law and order and have fallen into chaos. Terrorist organizations such as ISIS, Al-Qaeda etc. have used the Islamic faith to persuade and bring more people to their cause and to execute their ruthless acts. The primary cause of terrorism is the religious conflict instigated by these organizations both in Southeast Asia and many other parts of the worlds. But their beliefs are founded on ridiculous misunderstanding of Islamic teachings. Statistics show a lot of people in countries such as Malaysia, Pakistan and Nigeria have shown support to ISIS while the majority was hesitant to pick sides (Spring 2015 Global Attitudes Survey).ISIS has so far been successful in its attempt to recruit more people by spreading its radical beliefs. Several attacks have been carried out by militants during the past year, resulting in massive casualties. There have been shootings all over Europe, bombing and shooting in many Asian countries and the most recent of such events is the targeted killing in the diplomatic zone of Dhaka.

Impact of Terrorism on Development

The global economic impact of violence was $13.6 trillion PPP in 2015. This figure is equivalent to 13.3% of world GDP or $1,876 PPP for every person in the world; approximately 11 time the size of global FDI, which was 1.23 trillion in 2014.  The direct cost of violence in 2015 is 30 times the amount spent on official development assistance (ODA) in 2014. A ten per cent decrease in the economic impact of violence would produce a peace dividend of $1.36 trillion PPP. (Source: Global Peace Index 2016- Institute for Economics and Peace)

How to fight terrorism?

Contrary to the popular belief, leaders of ISIS and other terrorist organizations are often highly educated. Recent Dhaka attack shows people from educated backgrounds being radicalized. So taking this prospect into consideration, meaningful education against violence might be the answer. Spreading the idea of meaningful change will strengthen the fight against radicalism.

Technology proves to be double edged sword in the fight against terrorism. Communication and Propaganda spreads through Internet. A brilliant example of this is the Dabiq magazine of ISIS. Although through better understanding of technology by law enforcement agencies, tracking criminals can become possible and much easier. Through better surveillance security can be assured.

Overcoming security threats

Promoting security is a substantial part of societal progress. There is a need to ensure a clear separation between military and humanitarian actors in line with the core principals of humanitarian action, particularly neutrality and independence. However, the importance in some instances of civil-military cooperation in the pursuit of security and development remains. A comprehensive approach to international and national security must transcend the traditional emphasis on military power and armed competition.

The existence of nuclear weapons and the destructive potential inherent in the velocity and the intensity if modern conventional warfare have given rise to a new understanding of the requirements for security among nations. In the nuclear age, nations can no longer obtain security at each other’s expense. They must seek common security through cooperation, agreements, and mutual restraint. Interdependence has become a compelling fact, forcing nations to reconsider their approach to security.

The Game of Prioritization

While the idea of justice and governance is quite extensively debated and established in both western and eastern philosophies, it is generally perceived very cynically by world population now a days . They think that the establishment tries to make them believe it is a moral issue, while in effect actually defines it as a tool for the privileged to protect their accumulated privileges. The level of governance standard in any state/society strongly depends upon the critical mass that is available in that sphere and any external/exogenous effort to improve that becomes not only futile, but many times lead to the strengthening perception that the system is grossly rigged. Prioritizing governance can sometimes impact local business in a negative manner such as Transportation and Hospitality business in Gulshan and surrounding area. Forced security measures might establish fear of law instead of rule of law.

Prioritizing on security and governance raises some concerns regarding development. Areas of the country needing immediate attention might be deprioritized due to increased resource utilization in security measures. Lack of government measures regarding the flood in the southern region of the country is an example of this. Another concern is the focus on higher security. Increased security and surveillance can blur the line between a secured state and a police state. Unchecked power of law enforcement agencies is likely to result in abuse and harassment of the general people. Though Security is a global concern, it affects the third world countries more as it may deprioritize Governance and Development.


Technological advancements: both breakthrough advancements and incremental advancements are going to create enormous opportunities. The seven most impactful technologies of the coming future are – artificial intelligence, augmented reality, block-chain, drones, robots, virtual reality and 3D printing. Industry 4.04 (4th industrial revolution is going to make a revolutionary change on how we make and sell products, as well as how we buy and use products of the future.

Rapid urbanization has resulted in one-and-half million people joining the urban population every week. The world population is rising by 145 every minute. At the present rate, we will be burning all fossil fuels in another half century. There have been shifts in economic power. Bangladesh is projected to move up to 23rd position in the PPP based GDP ranking.

In summary, we can agree that development is required to ensure security, but to ensure inclusive growth in a very quick time is the big question for which I really do not have any answer. This is indeed a worrisome matter. Looking at history we will see that unique situations like of now were rectified by the emergence of new generations. The truth is evident from the cases of fall of Roman republic, Arabia pre and post Mohammad, advent of renaissance in mediaeval Europe and then in the case of Europe before and after two world wars. This is indeed a grim perspective. It will be difficult for all of us to accept the new order from the generation change. It can be suspected that security issue will continue to trouble us and the policy prescription will tend to put more emphasis on administrative efforts rather than development initiatives.

There is no readymade policy directive to solve this problem. One thing is clear that we need to speed up inclusive growth process. For that, Governance process needs to be far simplistic and nimble, and at the same time transparent and credible. Although how such a model can he achieved is not yet certain.

*Mr. Mamun Rashid is banker, economic analyst & educationist. The article is the excerpt of a key note paper presented at a seminar by center for governance studies.

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