The People’s Republic of Bangladesh is a unitary country located in South Asia. Bangladesh’s public sector is highly centralized. While the Constitution and the legal framework provide for the presence of elected bodies at every level of the public sector, in practice, the vast majority of public sector functions are performed by the central government—either directly by central government ministry programs, or by central government field officials posted at the division, district (zila), or subdistrict (upazila) levels. Although elected councils exist at the zila and upazila level, de facto, these bodies mainly provide oversight over subnational administration, rather than having authoritative decision-making power over the delivery of services. Elected rural and urban local governance institutions do exist at the level closest to the people (Union Parishads, Pourashavas, and City Corporations), but in practice, their functions, administrative powers, and financial resources are quite limited.

Subnational government structure

Nature of subnational governance institutions

Functional assignments

LoGICA Assessment

LoGICA Intergovernmental Profile: Bangladesh 2023 (PDF / Excel)

Additional resources

Bangladesh Country Profile (World Observatory on Subnational Governance and Investment, OECD/UCLG)

Local government country profile: Bangladesh (UN Women)

The Local Government System in Bangladesh. (Commonwealth Local Government Forum)

Bangladesh: Reform agenda for local governance. (Tofail Ahmed, 2016)

Improving local governance and service delivery in Bangladesh: The role of local government finance. (World Bank 2021).

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Last updated: December 29, 2023