On 18th and 19th September, 2020, Dr. Cherdsak Virapat Director General, CIRDAP attended the 53rd Annual Planning Conference of Bangladesh Academy for Rural Development (BARD) in BARD Campus, Cumilla. In the conference, the chief guest was Mr. Md. Tazul Islam, Honorable Minister of Local Government, Rural Development and Cooperatives, Bangladesh. The formal ceremony was started with placing floral wreath at the mural of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. In the conference, Research session was conducted by Director Research of CIRDAP Prof. Dr. Md. Helal Uddin. Later, the DG CIRDAP planted saplings of A Rambutan Tree on the premises of BARD. Beside the Program, Dr. Virapat along with a research team of BARD and CIRDAP team members visited a nearby village for observing drinking water supply system and usage of Tube well.

In the conference, DG Dr. Virapat made a speech as a Guest of Honor. At first Dr. Virapat expressed his sincere thanks to BARD for the invitation of the 53rd Annual Conference of BARD and also its commitment to strong cooperation and partnership and for the steadfast support to CIRDAP. He said, “The CIRDAP vision is to be a Centre of Excellence and Multi-level platform for cooperation in knowledge transfer and capacity building for developing countries in integrated rural affairs for sustainable development in Asia and the Pacific Region and mission is to provide technical support and promote innovative best practices on sustainable Integrated Rural Development amongst member countries in Asia-Pacific”.

DG CIRDAP also said as an autonomous institution, BARD strives for research and training of local people as well as practitioners on rural development and it is also the Link Institute of CIRDAP in Bangladesh. The collaboration on research and development between CIRDAP and BARD has been established since the last four decades.

In his speech, Dr. Virapat focused on some current major challenges for rural development such as impacts of Covid-19 pandemic, population growth, land degradation, water resource shortage, food insecurity and contamination, access to clean drinking water, increase frequency and magnitudes of natural hazards, climate change vulnerability etc. He urged all the attendees that everyone should be prepared for their impacts and to know how to response and to mitigate them.
Lastly, with fruitful collaborations of CIRDAP with BARD and other partner organizations in the region and in the world, Dr. Virapat hoped that CIRDAP and BARD will continue to explore opportunities and implement regional training and projects to strengthen collaboration and coordination for integrated rural development.

In the afternoon session of the conference, Director Research of CIRDAP, Dr. Helal chaired business session 2 of APC – Working Paper Presentation of Research – where Mr. Milon Kanti Bhattacharjee, Director (Research), BARD, presented the research activities of BARD. Mr. Md. Shahjahan, Director General of BARD and Dr. Md. Shafiqul Islam, APC Convener and Director (Administration) BARD joined the session. Many participants from different Government and Non-government organizations took part in the session with their valuable comments on the research activities of the Research Division of BARD.