Dhaka, 13 November 2018. Today ten Civil Society Organizations (CSO) demanded an effective government role to ensure the interest of Most Vulnerable Countries (MVC) in upcoming CoP 24 (Conference of the Parties 24) global climate negotiation to be held in Poland. They also opined that Bangladesh should take strong position in CoP-24 for a legally binding commitment with high emission reduction target from developed countries and big polluters to achieve global warming below 2.0 degree Celsius. These demands are raised in the national seminar titled “CoP 24 Climate Conference: Expectation from CSOs in view of Implementing Paris Agreement” held at National Press Club, Dhaka.
Rezaul Karim Chowdhury of EquityBD moderated the seminar while keynote paper is presented by Syed Aminul Hoque from same organization. Dr. Quzi Kholiquzzaman, Chairman-PKF has chaired the meeting where Dr. Hasan Mahmud MP, Chairman of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Ministry of Environment and Forest (MoEF &CC) as chief guest and Dr. S. M. Munjurul Hanan Khan, Additional Secretary – MoEF&CC participated as special guest. Among other speakers Dr. Aynun Nishat-Professor Emeritus of BRAC University, Mr. Qumrul Islam Chowdhury of FEJB (federation of Environmental Journalist), Md. Pothar Hossen of BCJF (Bangladesh Climate Journalist Forum), Mr. Gerry Fox (Team Leader-PROKAS), Md. Ziaul Hoque Mukta from CSRL (Center for Sustainable Rural Livelihood), Md. Shamsuddoha of Chief Executive-PRDI spoke in the seminar.
In the keynote presentation Syed Aminul Hoque said that the CoP 24 conference is going to adopt “Paris Rule book” to implement the Paris Agreement which is very important to save country interest especially finance, technology and capacity building support. So our govt. delegation should strong position while setting modalities in Paris Rule book that ensure easier and effective access among these support mechanism.
Dr. Quzi Kholiquzzaman said that success of climate negotiation outcome will be threatened since the politics behind the scene is stronger than temperature goal. We, therefore, have to work with own capacity based on our resource.
Dr. Hasan Mahmud stressed on govt. position for the target of high emission reduction by big polluter countries as global temperature increasing and must rise up to more than three degree centigrade if all countries fulfill their commitment on reducing taregt. But we are frustrated observing the role of developed countries and their dubious role in implementing the PA. So CSO role is imperative like previous and raise voice together indeed
Dr. Aynun Nishat opine to take CSO recommendations before government position and should importance to hear CSO opinion. This is being slower somehow but need further strengthen. He also advice government to raise voice on the issues of Capacity building in upcoming CoP.
Dr. Munjurul Hanan Khan said that, Bangladesh has been playing a good role since the climate negotiations and there have well coordination between CSOs and govt. that is our strength. This CoP we also going to prepare our position and we will included our CSO opinion.
Please download related paper [Bangla Press Release] [English Press Release] [Presentation EquityBD] [IPCC Report Bangla] [IPCC Report English]

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Dhaka, 8th November 2018. Today thirty-two civil society rights group facilitated by Equity and Justice Working Group Bangladesh (EquityBD) in cooperation with Tax and Financial Justice Asia (TAFJA) and Global Alliance for Tax Justice (GATJ) and as a part of global week of action, have organized a human chain rally in front of national press club Dhaka, where they have demanded party election manifesto with measures to contain illicit flow or capital flight, bank money embezzlement and black money. They urged to stop culture of political patronage to create “Robber Baron” in the country, and they have also urged to make the loan information of MP (Member of Parliament) public in forthcoming election. The rally was moderated by Mostafa Kamal Akanda of EquityBD, other speakers of the rally were, Md Shariful Islam Bangladesh Foundation, Mahbub Khokan Jatiya Unnayan Parishad, Feroza Begum Bachete Sheko Nari, Qader Hazari Aorpon, Sayed Aminul Haque, Ahsanul Karim and Rezaul Karim Chowdhury of EquityBD.

Apart from these key demand the group has placed six demands in this regard, (i) To control banking and financial sector central bank should be independent and there should be banking reform commission, (ii) loan defaulters and those who reschedule the loan again and again, they should not be given MP nomination, (iii) Bangladeshi’s whose name came in panama and paradise papers should not be given MP nomination, (iv) There should be white paper on Bangladesh Bank reserve money hacking, share market scam, responsible person should be given punishment, (v) To stop illicit money transfer there should be a cell to compare international price market, and (vi) To eliminate corruption, national integrity strategy should be implemented in all level.
Ahsanul Karim of EquityBD said that during 1870 to 1914 in the history of United State of America’s capitalist growth there was state or political patronage to elite and rich people to accumulate wealth in primitive way, who has been named as Robber Baron in the history. Same culture is happening in our country for last 47 years, but the difference is that those US Robber Barrons have had invested those money in their own country, but in our country such Robber Baron transfer their capital in developed country like Siungapore, Malaysia, Canada and other different tax heavens. According to the GFI (Global Financial Integrity) report 2017 it is more then 9.11 billion dollars, on which we could have two Padma bridge. Sayed Aminul Haque of EquityBD said that, these Robber Barons now is being occupying our politics. But the parliaments should be filled with honest people who are not greedy and no track record of primitive accumulation.
Rezaul Karim Chowdhury of EquityBD and COAST said the country should not be like Zimbawe, Hondurus and Venezuela, that because of mismanagement of financial sector, our families will abandon their children will started mass migration. It is the poor migrant of the country send dollars while rich do illicit transfer of those. In fact there are little of private investment in last five years. He urged Prime Minister and political leaders to take action to contain illicit flow and to create confidence of the private investor and people.
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Report: Report on Participation in APRRN 7th Asia Pacific Consultation on Refugee Rights (APCRR7).

Duration: 21 to 25 October, 2018

Place: Bangkok, Thailand.

Participant: Barkat Ullah Maruf

It was a great opportunity to be able to participate in the APRRN’s 7th Asia Pacific Consultation on Refugee Rights (APCRR7) held in Bangkok, Thailand during 21 to 25 October 2018. COAST is a member of APRRN and that’s why we participate in it. Participants from all the member organizations in Asia Pacific countries as well as many refugee participants took part in this great assembly. [Click here full report]

Up to 200,000 coastal people may be forced to migrate annually to the country’s inland areas to find alternative livelihoods due to climate change induced salinity and sea level rises, according to a new study.
Researchers from International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) and the Ohio State University jointly conducted the study examining for the first time the complex relationship between flooding, soil salinity, rural livelihood and migration, along with providing some adaptation strategies.
The study, “Coastal Climate Change, Soil Salinity and Human Migration in Bangladesh” was conducted last year and was based on two different datasets collected in 2003-2011 and 2005-2010. Coauthored by IFPRI’s Valerie Mueller from IFPRI and Joyce Chen from Ohio State University, the study was released yesterday. [Click here full report] [Report Download]

Dhaka, 14th October, 2018. Today, from a press conference, speakers urged to ensure equal rights for women in family income and decision-making process. The demand came from a press conference titled ‘Ensure fair right of women to family income’ organized by the National Committee on International Rural Women’s Day Celebrations. On the eve of the International Rural Women Day (15th October), speakers also opined that, besides usual household work, women are involved in various unpaid work in agricultural, fisheries, forestry, livestock and various labor-intensive industries. However, due to the lack of financial value of these invisible labors, women are not properly recognized in the family and in the society. Therefore, women’s opinion in the decision-making process is ignored and neglected. For the overall socio-economic development of the country, the legal recognition of women’s contribution must be ensured, the press conference organizers urged.

Organizers informed that, International Rural Women’s Day will be celebrated in more than 40 districts. Like every year, the day is being celebrated this year too with various programs including rallies, seminars, human chains, fairs and awarding person contributing in different fields of rural women empowerment. They also informed that, since 2000, in Bangladesh, various voluntary and development organizations (NGOs) have been celebrating rural women’s day at local and national level with their own funding under the banner National Celebration Committee. It is to be mentioned that EquityBD works as secretariat of National Committee on International Rural Women’s Day Celebrations.

The Press Conference was moderated by Ferdous Ara Rumee, Secretariat Coordinator of the National Committee on Rural Women’s Day Celebrations, while Shamima Akhter, the President of the alliance, presented the keynote paper on the press conference. Member of the National Committee Nahid Sultana, Masuda Faruque Ratna Executive Director of Gram Bikash Sohayok Songtha, Morzina Ahmed Executive Director of Disable Welfare Society, Rehana Begum of Bangladesh Krishok Fedaration, Ivan Ahmed Kotha of Socheton Somaj Seba Hizra Songha were also spoke at the occasion.

Shamima Akhter said, women are doing more household works than men in Bangladesh, in an average women’s more than 6 hours household’s work are not getting any recognition. On the contrary, a man spends only one hour on such work. If women’s household work can be calculated in monetary, total value will be 87.2 percent of total GDP of Bangladesh. According to the article 345 of the Bangladesh Labor Act 2006, wages of women and mele should be equal, but in the case of transplanting and processing of crops, men’s daily wages is about where 300-600b taka, but women get only 350 taka. Though increasing women’s participation in agriculture seems apparently women’s empowerment, its main advantage is the long-lasting benefits of working with low wages.

Ferdous Ara Rumee said, along with household activities, rural women are involved with different kinds of activities like farming, fisheries and livestock. But since women’s invisible works like these don’t have any monetary value, they don’t have rights to make their own decision, they can’t take petrification in the family level decision naming process. To ensure true women empowerment, to ensure women’s rights in family and state level, invisible efforts of women must be recognized legally.

Nahid Sultana said, women are now not recognized as farmers even after making huge contributions to agriculture. Due to lack of recognition as farmer, they do not get any benefit from government initiatives taken for farmers. When these facilities are ensured, the contribution of women in agriculture will be increased.

Morzina Ahmed said, women’s labor is not considered as a source of household income in rural agriculture, rather it is considered a source of reduction in overall expenditure in crop production. Because if a worker is employed, he will have to be paid, and it is not possible to make work by that labour at the will of the family. In this way, even women are playing a vital role in family income, there is no recognized of their contribution.

Masuda Faruque Ratna said, through the change of law, women’s work, women’s unpaid labor should be recognized. . This recognition will increase women’s social status as well as it will ensure their economic independence and justice.
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Bali, 9th October 2018: As the signatory of Grand Bargain Principles (an UN led discourse of WHS) World Bank is urged to promote localization i.e. partnering with the local organizations in Cox’s Bazar, in the Rohingya refugee responses in Bangladesh.

Mr. Rezaul Karim Chowdhury, Executive Director of COAST Trust and Co-Chair of CCNF (Cox’s Bazar CSO-NGO Forum) made this urge in his speech during the session titled ‘Meet with EDs of World Bank’. He announces 3 concrete proposals for the World Bank for the Rohingya refugee response in Cox’s Bazar and those are:
1. To prepare a Rohingya pooled fund in view of GB commitment to promote local NGOs and Community who are leading the response.
2. To support GOB in view of UNHCR solidarity paper to support and assist the government of Bangladesh in macro-economic level, and
3. To consider support GOB for area development approach in Cox’s Bazar to promote economic, social and human development potentialities in the long run.

Mr. Hasan, Dean of EDs of World Bank, Ms. Aparna, ED responsible for Bangladesh were also present in the meeting that took place on 9th October 2018 in Bali, Indonesia.

In his speech, Mr. Rezaul Karim Chowdhury thanked the WB president Dr. Jim for announcing half a billion USD for Rohingya response. He also mentioned that we had an opportunity to meet Dr. Jim along with UNSG and hand over a memorandum in this relation.

Mr. Reza raised question in his speech that why WB should not prepare a plan for localization so that local NGOs / CSOs and local communities would lead a humanitarian and development efforts through a ‘Whole of Society Approach’ (WOSA) as WB is one of the signatories of GB (Grand Bargain). He stressed on reducing the fund management cost through a pragmatic reduction of the internationalized response approach.

Mr. Reza also said, the Government of Bangladesh deserves more macro-economic level solidarity support and Cox’s Bazar requires more area development support during the refugee response. Otherwise, this will create vulnerability in the long run for the local people as well as the national economy.

Dean of EDs Mr. Hasan said in response that partnering with local NGOs is a reality of political economy.

Ms Aparna the ED responsible for Bangladesh accepted the notion of Mr. Reza and said that partnering with local NGOs is a smart partnership.

While explaining the Grand Bargain, Mr. Reza said, WB is the distinguished signatory of GB commitments where there are 10 workstreams with 51 indicators. Important feature is stream 2 i.e. localization, that means giving the steering of humanitarian response to the local actors e.g. local government and local NGOs. It also means, the reduction of transaction cost through effective coordination and continuous striving, accountability to the local community and affected population, and finally, use of local knowledge and local resources. [Click here for video link]

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Dhaka, 25th August 2018. Today a group of civil society right activists led by CCNF (Cox’s Bazar CSO and NGO Forum) and COAST Trust organized a human chain in front of National Press Club, Dhaka on the eve of the anniversary of 25th August 2017 Rohingya influx in Bangladesh titled “Myanmar Junta must be held accountable for Rohingya genocide and Ensure transparency and accounts of all relief fund”. The human chain rally is moderated by Mostafa Kamal Akhanda of COAST. Other speakers are Badrul Alam and Zayed Iqbal Khan of Bangladesh Krishok Federation, Subol Sarkar Bangladesh Bhumihin Samity, Barkat Ullah Maruf of COAST and Rezaul Karim Chowhdury of CCNF and COAST.
On behalf of the group Barkat Ullah Maruf of COAST explains the position paper and places five point demands as follows; (i) Myanmar junta must be brought to the International Criminal Court for justice, otherwise such ethnic cleansing and genocide like Rwanda will occur again and again in the history. (ii) UN agencies and INGOs (International non-government organization) must emphasize the justice rather than providing relief. Specially India, China and Russia must play an effective role in this regard. (iii) Rohingya refugees have the right for Human Dignity as they will be living here for longer time. At any cost present approach of sheltering in the camp area have to be changed for their human dignity, education and other rights. The Whole of Society Approach (WOSA) must be followed in addressing the refugee issue, (iv) Relief should not be a business for some national and international agencies. So, all agencies must publish their relief accounts with transparency of how much they spent for input, operation and management cost. All these accounts must be examined by public audit. (v) Bangladesh should strengthen its diplomatic effort and take multilateral approach rather than the bilateral one so that Myanmar is able to dilly-dally and hypocritical approach.
Badrul Alam of Bangladesh Krishok Federation said, the Rohingya refugee issue is a one the imposed problem on Bangladesh like climate change one, where Bangladesh is an innocent victim.
Mostafa Kamal Akanda of COAST said that the global interest on Rohingya issues is fading away and one day the INGOs and UN agencies will be fled away. Bangladesh government will be remaining alone to take responsibilities. So, from now on, Bangladesh government should take full accounts of UN agencies and INGOs with full public transparency.
Subol Sarkar of Bhumihin Somity said that, UN agencies and INGOs spend money in a lavish way. We do not need around 1,500 expatriates for this Rohingya response.
Rezaul Karim Chowdhury of CCNF and COAST said that, Bangladesh is respectful to the human right and this is why our Honorable Prime Minister opened the boarder for the Rohingya refugees. We are proud for that. But it should not be considered as our weakness. we have billion-dollar business with India, China and Russia. Especially with India and Russia we have proven relation since they have helped us during our liberation war in 1971. They should leverage with sincere efforts to put pressure on Myanmar government to take back the Rohingyas with dignity. They must give Bangladesh a space to take a breath to develop from a least developed to a middle income country.
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Dhaka, 19th August 2018. Today Local NGO alliance named Bangladeshi NGOs for WHS (World Humanitarian Summit), Coxsbazar CSO NGO Forum (CCNF) and COAST with the support of Oxfam have organized a press conference held at National Press Club Dhaka in observance of 19th August World Humanitarian Day title “We Demand Road Map on Localization in Humanitarian and Development Work, System of Compensation in Accidents for Local Partner Workers”. Speakers in the press conference demanded equality in partnership from UN agencies and INGOs (International NGOs) rather than practice of treating as sub – contractors. They also demand a system of accidental compensation of local NGO workers while they work in partnership projects of UN agency and INGOs, like as the system UN and INGOs have already in place. It should be noted that a local NGO name Mukti’s staff Rezina Akhter have had died on 15 July 2018 in a road accident in Coxsbazar Teknaf road while she is going for work in Rohingya camp. Since 2008 with the call from UN, NGOs are observing 19th August World Humanitarian Day worldwide especially to pay tribute to the workers who have sacrifice life during humanitarian work in any part of the world.
The press conference was moderated by Rezaul Karim Chowhdury of COAST and CCNF, other guest speakers were Emranul Hague Chowdhury Chairman Credit and Development Forum (CDF); Rafiqul Islam Director Federation of NGOs in Bangladesh (FNB); Kawsar Ahmed Konok, Coordinator Association of Development Agencies in Bangladesh (ADAB); Masuda Faruque Ratna Executive Director, Gram Bikash Kendra (GBK); Mizanur Rahman, Humanitarian Program Manager Oxfam; Shawkat Ali Tutul from COAST and Bangladeshi NGOs for WHS; Md Shahidul Islam Voice of South Bangladesh; and Faruque Ahmed Trinomul Unnayan Sangsta of Moymonsingh.
Shawkat Ali Tutul of COAST has presented four point demands form UN and INGOs as they have already signed Grand Bargain commitment (May 2016), Charter for Change (2015) and Principle of Partnership (2006). The expectations are, (i) UN agencies and INGOs should declare a road map that they will roll back from field operation and will give leadership to the local NGOs, (ii) They should also take long term institution development planning to support local NGOs to develop themselves as sovereign and accountable organization, (iii) UN agencies and INGOs should stop staff poaching from local NGOs as they are working for sustainable development of the country by local NGOs, all NGOs and UN agencies should prepare common frame work of salary and facilities of all development workers in the countries. Local NGOs should be given compensation while their staff will be hired by UN agencies and INGOs and (iv) UN agencies and INGOs should keep system provision to compensate local NGO staff while they face accident or die during humanitarian work.
Please Download Related Paper
Press Release [Bangla] [English]
World Humanitarian Day 2018 Position Paper [Bangla] [English]
18 Expectations and Demands from Bangladeshi NGOs [Bangla] [English]
10 Point Demand Towards a Sustainable Approach [Bangla] [English]
Presentation on whole-of-society [Download]
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Today 21 July 2018, in a seminar, right based civil society organizations and experts demanded the government to develop an appropriate and pro poor policy to realize the untapped resources in the Bay of Bengal in the context of poverty reduction and achieving the SDGs (Sustainable Development Goal). They also demand to ensure coastal fishers’ access to the fishging in the Bay of Bengal that is going to be government planning. The seminar is held at CIRDAP auditorium titled “Blue Economy of Bangladesh: Context, Poverty Reduction and SDGs” organized by COAST Trust.
Dr. Qazi Kholiquzzaman Ahmad- Economist & Chairman-PKSF chaired the seminar while Md. KM Abdus Salam, Director General of NGO Affairs Bureau participated as the chief guest and Mr. Rezaul Karim Chowdhury, Executive Director of COAST Trust moderated the proceedings. Keynotes are presented by Dr. Lailufar Yasmin (Professor of International Relation, Dhaka University), Dr. Md. Moshiur Rahman (Professor of Fisheries and Marine Resource Technology Discipline, Khulna University) and Mr. Salehin Sarfaraz (Coordinator, Partnership & Advocacy, COAST Trust). Among others, Dr. Sayedur Rahman Chowdhury (Professor of Institute of Marine Sciences and fisheries, Chittagong University), Dr. AKM Aminul Hoque (Director-Marine Department of Fisheries) and Mr. Pankaj Hazaarika-Director BIMSTEC (Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation) spoke as expert in the seminar while civil society representatives raised their opinion and recommendations.

The keynote presenters have addressed two important issues of foreign policy and government’s poverty reduction approach through Blue Economy. Their recommendations include, i. Bangladesh is seen as a central cohesive source as the economic hub connecting Asian states. So, we have to be cautious to design the Blue Economy strategies in case of trade, resource capturing and geo-political perspectives; ii. Government should emphasize on coastal poverty dimensions where fishers are the major part of the poverty. So, create opportunities and access for the coastal population especially for the fishers. Government must ensure access for the fishers to the fishing sphere of the Bay of Bengal by developing an appropriate policy and action plan. This will contribute to the growth and reducing socio-economic inequality.

Dr. Sayedur Rahaman said that government has policy but there are considerable gaps between policy assumption and real base data. This need to remove those gaps and prepare special plan connecting policy and information. He expresses concern of declining trend of fish in the Bay of Bengal and plan for alternative livelihood of coastal fishers.

Dr. Aminul Hoque said that multi-stakeholder engagement is required in the process of the Blue Economy strategy. We have to consider the alternative livelihood of coastal fishers and good to know that the government has taken project with World Bank for this. His proposed to initiate cage aquaculture in estuaries of Bay of Bengal during the ban period of Hilsha fishing for the benefit of coastal communities.

Md KM Abdus Salam said that coastal fishers should be rescued from the high interest loans if we really want to develop their livelihood. He requests the NGOs to work on this issue. Mr. Pankaj Hazaarika opine that, Bangladesh can take lead initiate effective cooperation among the BIMSTEC in view of implementing Blue Economy issues.

Dr. Qazi Kholiquzzaman Ahmad said in his speech, we are revising our BCCSAP (Bangladesh Climate Change Strategy and Action Plan) where the Blue Economy issues will be addressed. He also opines to set priorities for Blue Economy activities with required pro poor infrastructure development and institutional capacity building. Relation to this issue, he asks to open all public water bodies for the benefit of genuine fisher communities.
Mr. Nurul Islam, Chairman, Fisherman Association, Bhola, proposed government to save the fish breeding zones like Sundarban Mangrove forest in the estuaries of Meghna and Halda rivers. He also demands to take protecting measures for the coastal fishers and their resources from the pirates.

Please download related paper [Bangla Press] [English Press] [Position Paper] [Presentation_ Dr Lailufar Yasmin ] [ Presentation Dr. Mashiur Rahman] [ Presentation COAST]
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