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During the Year 2001-2002, the urgency of an effective and completely non-political coordinating agency with a view to working collectively for protection of interests and development of the NGOs was badly felt when the then Association/apex body of the NGOs in Bangladesh lost its credibility and capacity of representing the sector. The derailment of the apex body from its core objective of protection of the interests of the NGO sector and harassments on the NGOs by different agencies caused an acute sense of uncertainty and concern among the NGOs.

The then authorities had unilaterally decided to frame a new law concerning the NGOs, which was detrimental to the interest of the sector. It was apprehended that if the new law is enacted the effectiveness and unique characteristic of the NGO activities would be threatened as well as the entire sector affected badly. In this context, a National Convention of the NGOs was organized on 26 July 2002 in order to discuss ways and means of protecting the interests of the NGOs. In this Convention, attended by 2200 small and big NGO representatives from across the country, a 22-member National NGO Coordination Committee was formed for the purpose of protecting the interests of the NGO sector. The main objectives were to: (a) establish communication and discussion with the Government for stopping the harassment on the NGOs and create a congenial working environment for dealing with various other related issues; (b) explore the avenues for mobilization of financial and other supports for social programs of the small NGOs, expansion of their working jurisdictions and strengthening mutual cooperation and coordination among the NGOs and (c) strengthen reciprocal cooperation between the Government and the NGOs in development activities. In the aftermath, a full-fledged ‘Federation of NGOs in Bangladesh (FNB)’ was formed replacing the “National NGO Coordination Committee” through holding the 2nd National Convention of the NGOs on 23 February 2003 in presence of officials/executives representing 1,850 NGOs from across the country. With the approval of the draft Constitution and decision for registration of the Federation in another meeting attended by 205 NGO representatives held on 19 April the same year, the Federation started functioning as the coordinating federation of the NGOs.