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Dhaka, 14 October, 2017. On the occasion of the International Rural Women Day the National Committee on the observation of the International Rural Women Day organized a human chain today in front of the National Press Club. From the human chain rights based CSOs demanded strong legal actions against all forms of sexual violence against women at all level. They expressed their concern since in recent time incidences of sexual violence against women and girls have been increased and there is lack of exemplary actions against those incidences. They demanded speedy trial of these type of cases. It is to be noted that tomorrow is International Rural Women Day.

The organizers of the event mentioned that, this year the International Rural Women Day is being observed in 50 districts. As usual, this year this day will also be observed with different activities like human chain, rally, seminar, fair, award giving ceremonies to champions of protecting women right. Since 2000 Bangladeshi NGOs, CSOs has been observing this days with their own fund at national and local level under the banner of National Committee on Observation of the International Rural Women Day.

The human chain was moderated by the secretariat coordinator of the national committee Mustafa Kamal Akand while secretary of the national committee Ferdaus Ara Rumme, Md. Hasan Bangladesh Mass People Justice Party, Zayed Iqbal Khan of Bangladesh Krishok Federation (JI), Badrul Alam of Bangladesh Krishok Federation and Kod Banu of Bangladsh Kishani Sobha and the President of the National Committee on Observation of the International Rural Women Day Shamima Akhter also spoke at the occasion.

Ferdaus Ara Rumee said, in our country every day incidence of two rapes are taking place. Cases are filed for half of these incidences. very few of the cases can see the light of judgement due to long and complicated processes. Most of the alleged are coming out of the court using various loopholes of laws. Rate of judgement against rape cases is 3.66%, punishment has been ensured for only 0.45% cases. According to the Ain o Shalish Kendra, during the first seven months of this year total 424 rape cases have been recorded, 88 women and children have been victim of mass rape. Bangladesh Shishu Odhikar Forum says, during the first six months of this year 294 children have been raped.

Zayed Iqbal Khan said, in many cases poor parents are forced to compromise with alleged rapist getting some compensation. In most cases parents don’t want to file any case just to avoid any further harassments. On the other hand, plaintiff often lose interest on case due to negative legal harassments of the solicitor of the accused. We have to give up our tendency to blame the victim of rape, only the ill mentality of the rapist is the cause of rape.

Badrul Alam said, to raise the issues of rural women across the globe, this day is playing a significant role. To make a meaningful society we have to eliminate all sorts of discrimination between men and women. We have to guide our children on this, it must be included in our text books.

Shamima Akhter said, if we analyze the case of rapes of children, we will find that, most of the time the accused are relative of those children. Children of 13-18 years of age are being raped being seduced of marriages.
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October 03, 2017.  Cox’s Bazar. Today International Council of Voluntary Association (ICVA) organized a meeting of local, national and international NGOs with Mr. Mark Lowcoock, UN Emergency Coordinator and Under Secretary General of OCHA. The meeting was organised in the Ocean Paradise Hotel in Cox’s Bazar. Five invited local NGOs / CSOs namely Pulse, YPSA, MUKTI, PHALS and COAST submitted a joint memorandum, where they urged UN agencies to  abandon direct operation. They also demanded that,  UN agency must avoid tendency of handling the Rohingya crisis single handedly or in monopoly way via any national NGO. They said, it is needed for diversity and innovation and also for local CSOs/NGOs development. It should be noted that these five NGOs are the first responder with relief for the Rohingya refugees recently fled from Myanmar. The group also demanded ISCG (Inter Sectoral Coordination Group) should give access to the local NGO/CSOs, there should be a price coordination among all NGOs, IFRC and UN agencies as local NGOs facing the uneven competition in respect of hiring ware houses, recruiting staff, offices and others in locality. The group also said, as they are trying to develop Cox’s Bazar community responsive to human and refugee right, UN, Development Partners and INGOs must consider to work with host community too, as these community already facing the brunt of extra inflation, high price of commodities, ecological degradation, ground water fall, surface water contamination and stiff competition in employment and in natural resources. The group reminded WHS (World Humanitarian Summit), the Grand Bargain (GB) and the Development Effectiveness (DE) outcomes, where localization and accountability is the prime concern.

Please find the memo which contains 20 demands from Bangldeshi NGOs in this regard.

Download Related Paper [Charter of Expectations from Bangladeshi NGOs in view of WHS GB and DE] [Cox’s Bazar NGO Coordination Process and Civil Society]
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Today 24 August 2017 in an Experience & knowledge sharing workshop on low carbon development, the CSO representatives have demanded of govt. policy cooperation to promote Eco-Village development to achieve the SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals). They also opine that government should adopt Eco-village development as one of their core strategies of low carbon development and to ensure the long term socio-economic development as sustainable.
The workshop titled “Evidence Based Advocacy for Low Carbon, Pro-Poor Sustainable Eco-Village Development (EVD)” is held COAST Trust conference room, Shamoli, Dhaka which is moderated by Syed Aminul Hoque from EquityBD. Dr. Atiq Rahaman of BCAS (Bangladesh Center for Advance Studies) and Mrs. Salima Jahan, Member Policy Research SREDA (Renewable Energy Development Authority, Ministry of Power & Energy) are participated as expert guest. Mr. Rezaul Karim Chowdhury from EquityBD, Mr. Santosh Patnaik of CANSA (Climate Action Network South Asia), Ms. Lykke Valentin, Project Coordinator, EVD Project, DIB-Denmark, Mr. Shailendra Yashwant Kharat, Consultant, India and Mr. Mahabub Alam of Grammeen Shakti has presented their key notes on Eco-village concept. Among others Mr. Shamsuddoha of CPRD (Centre for Participatory research & Development), Md. Jahangir Hossen of CDP (Coastal Development Partnership), Mr. Mihir Biswas of BAPA (Bangladesh Poribesh Andolon), Mr. Prodip K Roy of CSRL (Campaign for Sustainable Rural Livelihood) and Altab Hossen of Samakal are spoke and shared their experiences related with Eco-village expansion, perspective, challenges and policy development.
In key note present and experience sharing, Mr Santosh said that concept Eco-village development is affordable for communities, local ownership, co-benefit with poverty reduction and also reducing carbon emission. So fighting climate change in South Asia region, eco-village is imperative. The eco-village included the simple solution of implementing solar energy, improve stove, rain water harvesting and organic or non-pesticide agriculture through community participation in the countries.
On the issue of eco-village development, Dr. Atiq Rahaman said that we have huge opportunities to promote the issue for sustainable development in Bangladesh, Apart we also can take mutual learning each other in South Asia region developing appropriate policy, business model and technology.
Mr. Rezaul Karim Chowdhury said, Bangladesh is treated as “Climate Ground Zero” and facing huge climatic hazard causing livelihood and asset loss. The context required both mitigation and adaptation strategies and action for sustainable development in our country that support through eco-village development concept.
Mr. Mahmudul Hasan Eco-village is very relevant and commensurate with govt. “One house-One Farm” project. This project can be included the solar energy process, bio-gas and organic pesticide for agriculture that will support our poor people and families for poverty alleviation with sustainable development ultimately. So government should provide necessary support in both finance and technical through overarching and holistic approach following SDGs.
Mr. Jahangir Hossen Masum said that our country has been facing huge energy deficiency and we think it would be hard to reach with electricity by govt. by 2030. But govt. strategies are contradict with his present action as they are implementing carbon oriented power produce. In this context renewable energy is the best opportunity that will contribute expansion energy supply and alongside save the money for govt.
Mihir Biswas opined, climate change impacts negatively in our coastal areas where salinity and water crisis are severe now. Many NGOs are in exercise with new and alternative technologies but rain water harvesting is new in this area. However we have to choose suitable and sustainable technologies those are fit in our context and in case of rain water harvesting, we can take regional experience and support from them.
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Dhaka, 19th August 2017. Today Bangladeshi NGOs for WHS (World Humanitarian Summit) and COAST has organized a seminar title “Strengthening Civil Society and Promoting Localization Agenda” in the Lakshore Hotel of the city for observation of 19th August World Humanitarian Day. Speaker’s demands equitable partnership from INGOs (International non-government organization) and UN (United Nations) agencies as it is necessary for sovereign and sustainable growth of local NGOs (non-government organization) or civil society organization (CSO). The seminar was presided by Mrs. Rasheda K Chowdhury, CAMPE, special guest were, Khondokar Rakibur Rahman, Director General, NGO Affairs Beauru (NGOAB) of Prime Minister Office, and Mrs. Saheen Anam, Manusher Jonno Foundation (MJF), the seminar was moderated by Rezaul Karim Chowdhury, COAST. Other speakers of the seminar was Shova Rani Das SASUS, Rafiqul Islam DUS, AKM Jshim Uddin ADAB, Mr Ariifur Rahaman YPSA, Iqbal Ahmed PADAKHEP, Abdul Matin SOJAG, Anwar Zahid ICDA, Sonit Gomez SF, Mrinal kanti Tripura of Maleya Foundation, Edouard Weigbour UNICEF, Mark Piere SCF, Orla Murphy Plan International, Reiza Dejto Handicap International, Nipin Gangadharan ACF, Sajid Raihan Start Fund, Nayeem Wahara BRAC and MB Akhter Oxfam. Key note paper which has been prepared based on Development Effectiveness, WHS and the Grand Bargain policy outcome, by local NGOs in last four month through a process have been presented by Shawkat Ali Tutul of COAST.

In his key note presentation the local NGO group given 15 demands which contains following major demands, (i) INGOs and UN agencies must come out from direct operation, rather they should facilitate local NGOs to grow, they must not raise fund in local level, they should prepare partnership policies and code of conduct, (ii) INGOs should not go for formation of new network, they must explore existing network first for work, (iii) INGOs and UN agencies should not import non local NGOs in a locality where there are capable local NGO and leadership are exist, (iv) local NGOs must come forward with self-esteem and accountability to local community.

Arifur Rahman of YPSA said there should not be any effort to formation of new network which is not sustainable. AKM Jashim Uddin of ADAB said that there are a lot of researches in international level that local organization can do the job with low cost. Abdul Matin Sojag said that Bangladeshi NGOs has more than enough capacity to manage humanitarian crisis. Sajid Raihan of Start Fund said they consider that there are little alternative other than support to local NGOs. Nayeem Wahara BRAC said that struggle for localization by local NGOs in Bangladesh is not new. MB Akhter of Oxfam said that local leadership and local capacity is the best answer for development. Mr Edouard the Country Director UNICEF said that capacity and financial management is a challenge in respect of localization. Mrs. Orla Murphy of Plan International underscores the need of promoting local organization, as they are the fast and first responder in humanitarian crisis.

Khonodkar Rakibur Rahman Director General NGOAB said that they are ready to assist local NGOs to grow. Rasheda K Chowdhury CAMPE and the Chair of the seminar said that local NGO has to stand with their self-esteem and self-accountability. Rezaul Karim Chowdhury the moderator the seminar said the campaign will continue to develop knowledge and thereby self-initiative of the local NGOs.
Please Download [English] [Bangla] [Presentation] [Our Common Space, our Complementary Roles: Equitable Partnership for Sovereign and Accountable Civil Society Growth]
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IMG_2043_IndexRight Groups on Bangladesh SDG (Sustainable Development Goal) VNR (Voluntary National Reporting) in UN HLPF (United Nation High Level Political Forum)
Dhaka, 8th July 2017. Today twenty one right based civil society, farmers and labors organizations and networks in a press conference held at National Press Club Dhaka said that strengthening democratic institutions like inclusive election, decentralized local government, freedom of information and assembly is fundamental to achieve sustained SDG and peace in Bangladesh. They have organized the press conference on the eve of Government of Bangladesh is going present SDG VNR in upcoming UN HLFP which will be held in New York during 10 to 19th July 2017. The press conference title “Inequality is the priority to act immediately: Global community must endorse its obligation of global partnership to assist countries fighting poverty, inequality and climate change” was moderated by Rezaul Karim Chowdhury of EquityBD, other speakers are AHM Bazlur Rahman of BNNRC, Rafiqul Islam of DUS, Aminul Rasul Babul of Unnayan Dhara Trust, Badrul Alam and Jayed Iqbal Khan of BKF, Mostafa Kamal Akhanda of COAST and Syed Aminul Haque of EquityBD.
The group includes, ARPAN, BAFLF BKS, BKF, BNNRC, CDP, CLEAN, COAST, DDJ, EquityBD, GCAP, JSJ, NRDS, OKSociety, PRAN, SDO, SANGRAM, SDG Watch Bangladesh, SUPRO, Uddipon, and Voice of South Bangladesh.
On behalf of the group Syed Aminul Haque of EquityBD elaborated five points demands and concern in this regard which are (i) Regional disparities and inequalities should have priority concern, (ii) Eliminate loopholes in resource losses from our countries : act against illicit flows, (iii) Take a balance approach in respect of infrastructure for Growth and Protection : people need to be protected from climate fall out, (iv) Bangladesh is innocent victim of climate change : international communities have obligation to take responsibilities of climate displacement, and (vi) Strengthening democratic institutions should be the key for achieving SDG.
AHM Bazlur Rahman of BNNRC said that there are lack of coordination among agencies which is causing wastage of development budget, he also said that Bangladeshi coastal area have to be protected first otherwise Dhaka will not be saved. Rafiqul Islam of DUS said that 40 % of coastal area are fully unprotected, on the other hand cyclone increases four fold, he also said to gain food self-sufficiency coastal land have to be protected first. Aminur Rasul Babul of Unnayan Dhara Trust said that, government must show tangible actions that they are sincere to stop illicit flow, as Bangladesh is one of the top countries where illicit flow is high; he also said that confrontational politics is responsible in this regard.
Rezaul Karim Chowdhury of EquityBD and the moderator of the press conference said that, government of Bangladesh should not show or express self-complacent attitude especially in international forums, and the government must tell the truth to the international community that without international cooperation Bangladesh alone cannot stop the illicit flow and it is the developed countries who are responsible of climate catastrophes in here so they have obligations to take responsibilities.
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IMG_1824_Index_1Dhaka, 20 June 2017. Today in a seminar held at CIRDAP auditorium titled “Climate Change: Bangladesh and Bay of Bengal Regional Cooperation” civil society leaders, policy makers and experts urged to strengthen cooperation in the Bay of Bengal region or BIMSTEC (Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi Sectoral Technical Economic Cooperation) regional cooperation to tackle climate change problem and also to use natural resources for common public good. The seminar was organized by an NGO (non-government organization) COAST Trust (Coastal Association for Social Transformation) with the assistance from American Centre Dhaka.

The seminar was Chaired by Dr. Qazi Kholiquzzaman Ahmed, Chairman, PKSF (Palli Karma Sahayak Foundation), Chief Guest was Dr. Hasan Mahmud, MP (Member of Parliament), Chairman Parliamentary Standing Committee on MoE&F (Ministry of Environment and Forest) and Chairman, All Party Parliamentary Forum on Climate Change; Special Guests were Mr. Domang, First Secretary, Royal Bhutan Embessy; Mr. Sanjay Vahsist, Director, Climate Action Network South Asia (CANSA), Dr. Kevin Adkin, Climate Change Adaptation Advisor, US Embassy; Mr. Kelly R Ryan Cultural Affairs Officer American Centre Dhaka; Mr. Sojib Ahmed from High Commission of India ; Mr. AHM Bazlur Raham from BNNRC (Bangladesh NGO Network for Radio and Communication). The seminar was moderated by Mr. Rezaul Karim Chowdhury from COAST; key note presentation was given by Dr. Haseeb Md. Irfanullah, IUCN and Mr. Syed Aminul Haque of COAST.

In key note presentation, Sayed Aminul Haque of COAST summarized the presentation from six writers from IMG_1906_Indexsix Bay of Bengal region countries, i.e., in respect of bio diversity management, mangrove management, solid waste management, surface water management, local level adaptation planning and in respect of community adaptations in Bay of Bengal countries like Bhutan, Mayanmar, Thailand, Sri Lanka, Nepal and Bangladesh has good examples in respect of tackling climate change problem. Dr. Haseeb Md. Irfanullah from IUCN, gave examples of adaptation technologies and cited that Bangladesh has now become a capital of learning on community level adaptation. He also said that this is a knowledge based monitoring and learning process in the long run and that Bangladesh has to live with the spirit of adaptation.

Mr. Sanjay Vahsist from CANSA said that cooperation in respect of agriculture technologies, water security and energy management should receive priority as agendas in the region for cooperation. There should be long term planning and cross boarder coordinated action. Dr. Qazi Kholiquzzaman, the Chair of the seminar said that SAARC has already three important declarations in this regard, these are Dhaka, Thimpu and Kathmandu declaration on climate change, but they have little practical ramifications; countries have to give importance on these. Dr. Hasan Mahmud said as the region and the countries would like to get rid of fossil fuel based energy production, the region, especially countries like India, Bangladesh, Nepal and Bhutan have enormous opportunity on joint project for hydro electricity production, which is a necessity for economic growth and poverty alleviation of the region.
Please download related paper [Bangla press] [English press] [Summary Presentation on different writers of BIMSTEC Country by Syed Aminul Hoque of COAST] [Presentation on Climate Change Adaptation by Haseeb Md. Irfanullah of IUCN Bangladesh] [Climate change in the Bay of Bengal Region “Exploring Sectoral Cooperation for Sustainable Development”]
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IMG_1617_Index15 June 2017. Today in a human chain, 30 right based CSOs have called to government to develop appropriate national protection policy for saving state’s asset and valuable information before any contracting or agreement with profiteering E-Commerce Giant like Alibaba (China) and Amazon.com (US Company). They have also criticize and protested on current initiatives of government Postal & Telecom Division with Alibaba and Amazon.com on so-called e-commencing and concerned that this contracting without any protection policy would be wider of information out flow and resource repatriate rather making profit. They urged govt. to cancel the MoU (Memorandum of Understanding) immediately and develop policy for greater interest of state. Regarding the issue of E-Commerce, they have put forward some specific demands are; i. Any bi-lateral agreement or contract related to e-commerce by govt. or state departments will have to make the public, ii. Government must consider the people’s rights and national security issues especially human & information security before going to agreement with e-commerce activities and iii. Govt. will initiate CSO discourse on this issue through participation of expert, academician, media and mass people to build national consensus and developing appropriate protection policies.
The human chain titled “Civil Society called to Develop National Protection Policy before any Contracting with Amazon and Alibaba” is leaded by EquityBD and moderated by Mustafa Kamal Akanda of EquityBD, where spoke by many other representatives among more than 30 participated civil society organization and individuals.
Among the speakers, Syed Aminul Hoque of EquityBD said that Bangladesh is very premature country and we have less, in fact no capacity to face long term negative impact of such e-commerce or online business. Such context, MNCs (Multinational Companies) will get chance to establish their monopolistic business that ultimately looser our country’s economy through tax evasion, resource repatriation and our people & consumers. He urged government to understand the e-commerce issues taking time and develop appropriate protection policies.
Abdul Kader Hajari (Executive Director-Arapn) said that e-commerce is not our issue, this is rich countries like USA, EU and Chinese issue because they have developed hi-tech business. Our issue is sustainable development and reducing poverty. So that we need to create industrialization, create employment but so called e-commerce process will hinder these development issues and increase poverty indeed. Our government should avoid and go with very carefully but that not happen at present.
Nurul Amin (Secretary Jatio Sramik Jote) said that government is facing huge challenges to crate employment whereas e-commerce will facilitate the reverse. Introducing e-commerce will contribute of losing existing job and create new unemployment. We already observe threat for our small scale mass-transport system (e.g. auto rickshaw, CNG etc.) due to giving approval for “Uber” (An online global transport company) to do business in Dhaka and other cities. He demand to review the agreement with Uber. Mr. Subal Sraka of Landless Somiti opined to strengthen govt. institutional capacity to introduce e-commerce by own initiative rather invite foreign profiteering companies that may benefit us.
Moderator said that Bangladesh has a vision to reduce poverty and achieve sustainable development by 2030 that would be impossible if e-commerce facilitates through profiteering MNCs. He opined and call government to save peoples’ rights through saving information and people’s asset.
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IMG_1469_IndexOn 06 June 2017. Today in a press conference, 14 rights based citizens’ and farmers organizations protested the inadequate allocation for agriculture in proposed national budget for 2017-18 fiscal year. They demanded at least 20% of the total budget for this sector to ensure food security and climate resilience agriculture. The proposed budget for agriculture is very insufficient and it’s reflecting the government strategic failure in case of long term climate resilient sustainable agriculture to ensure national food security, they opined. The farmers organizations placed some specific demands in this regard, such as: i) Budget allocation for agriculture must be increased specially to fight climate change impacts that ensure sustainable food security, ii) Subsidies will have to increase with effective manner and commensurate with current context of global competitiveness and to save marginal farmers, iii) Government must take necessary initiative to ensure fair price of agriculture product through formation of national Price Commission, iv) Impose ban on so-called hi-breed and GMO (Genetically Modified Organism) seeds and v) Introduce agriculture education for farmers that can facilitate them to practical knowledge for climate adaptive agriculture.

The press conference titled “Effective budgetary allocation must be ensured for climate resilient agriculture” was moderated by Mustafa Kamal Akand, Assistant Director of COAST Trust and key note was presented by Syed Aminul Hoque, Secretary of EquityBD. Among others Mr. Badrul Alam, President Bangladesh Krishak Federation, Zayed Iqbal Khan, president of Bangladesh Krishak Federation (Ji) also spoke at the press conference.

Syed Aminul Hoque said, there are clear confusion between the sympathy to the agriculture shown by the Finance Minister and the allocation he has made for the sector. The budget speech recognizes that, our economy depends on agriculture and 45% of our population depend on this sector for their livelihood. For the livelihood of 45% of the population, only 3.4% of the total budget has been allocated. In ADB it is only 1.2%! This type of inadequate allocation is suicidal for our food security. Reducing subsidies makes our marginal farmers vulnerable and falling into hardship condition to survive in global competition. He demanded effective policies for fair access to subsidies for the marginal farmers.

Mr. Badrul Alam said, our population is increasing and the agriculture growth rate is decreasing. Government is talking about increasing production by providing good quality seeds to the farmers. But allocation for the BADC does not reflect such plan of the government. Badrul Alam Said, the budget speech opts for imposing tax on rice import to ensure fair price for the farmers. But this is not enough, to ensure fair price the process and iliy of rice collection form farmers must be changed. Rice must be collected when it is with farmers hand. A national fair Price Commission is must to ensure just oroce of farmers’ production. Zayed Iqbal Khan Said, to save our agriculture we need to save the land. In every year about 10 lakh people are losing their almost everything due to river erosion. We demand special allocation in proposed national budget for protection of farmers from river erosion, tidal surge and sea level rise.
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IMG_1104_IndexToday 31 May 2017, a group of 30 Rights Based Civil Society Network protested the government initiative to review the BCCSAP-2009 (Bangladesh Climate Change Strategy and Action Plan-2009) by engaging foreign expert. Besides, they also demanded review of the BCCSAP-2009 by appointing local consultants (those are internationally recognized) with following inclusive process.
The press conference titled “BCCSAP-2009 Review: Must be done by local consultants and Inclusive Process” was moderated by Rezaul Karim Chowdhury of EquityBD, Syed Aminul Hoque from the same organization presented the key notes on behalf of the networks. Among others, Mr. Mizanur Rahaman Bijoy of Network on Climate Change Bangladesh, Aminur Rasul Babul of Unnayan Dhara Trust, Mr. Prodip K Roy of Center for Sustainable Rural Live livelihood and Motaher Hossen of Bangladesh Climate Journalist forum spoke at the event.
In the key note presentation, Syed Aminul Hoque said, as a condition of donor financial support, so called foreign experts are being involved in this review process, those have no experience on country’s climate context, peoples’ demand and future government strategies in this regard. So, we are worried that, it will hamper the country’s interest, if they are involved with this review process. Aminul Hoque also placed a few demands to make the government review proposal effective and country interest bearing. Those are; i. BCCSAP Review must be done following inclusive process with mass participation, ii. Review should focus coastal vulnerability and their survival strategy that means adaptation should be focused as priority, iii. Mitigation action must be limited in reviewed BCCSAP considering the reality of GHG (Green House Gas) emission and by no means will force or create pressure for vulnerable people and iv. The reviewed BCCSAP will be consistence with country’s other long term development policies like 7th Five year Plan and SDG (Sustainable Development Goal) targets.

Mizanur Rahaman Bijoy said, BCCSAP is a state document and it was declared as a living document during its development. So, our government will have to own this and it must be reviewed with the participation of climate vulnerable people, political leaders and CSOs. Hiring so called foreign experts is not an appropriate strategy in this regard.
Aminur Rasul said, there are needs to ensure necessary coordination among the ministries to make an effective review of our BCCSAP, because this is an important document for international assistance and all ministries somehow have responsibility and will have to implement program related with climate change at present and future.
Prodip.K. Roy said, we have done PRSP (Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper) by foreign consultant, but didn’t get good result. In case of developing planning document like BCCSAP, we should not go for such mistake again that will damage us and our interest.
Rezaul Karim Chowdhury of EquityBD said that we have enough internationally recognized Bangladeshi consultants those are able to do it very effectively. He urge to government to facilitate country driven process for BCCSAP review.
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IMG_0938_IndexDhaka, 21 May 2017. Today 14 rights based citizens’ and farmers’ organizations demanded 20% of the upcoming national budget for agriculture. They also opined that, reducing agriculture subsidy based on the prescription of the WTO, IMF and others will be suicidal towards achieving self-reliance on food and in ensuring food security. They also placed 7 specific demands to consider in the upcoming budget form a press conference held in the National Press Club today. Some key demands are i) Allocation for agriculture should be at least 20% of the total budget. ii) Subsidy for agriculture must be increased, effective utilization of that subsidy must be ensured. iii). National Price Commission is a must to ensure just price for farmers. iv). Ban of import of harmful foreign seeds and promotion of local seeds, and v) Special attention to bring back the golden era of jute.

The press conference titled, “We demand 20% of the budget for agriculture: Reducing Subsidy for Agriculture will be Suicidal for National Food Security” was moderated by Mustafa Kamal Akand, Assistant Director of COAST Trust. Among others Syed Aminul Haque, Secretary of EquityBD, Badrul Alam, President Bangladesh Krishak Federation, Sajeda Begum, President of Kendriy Krishak Moitri, Zayed Iqbal Khan, president of Bangladesh Krishak Federation (Ji) also spoke at the occasion. On behalf of the organizers, Md Mujibul Haque Munir, Assistant Director of COAST Trust presented the group’s position paper.

In the position paper, Md. Mujibul Haque Said, more than 50% of the total populations of Bangladesh depend on agriculture for livelihood, about 45% of total labour force are engaged in this sector. But the growth rate of agriculture is declining almost every year. In 2010, the growth rate was 6.5% and it is 2,6% in 2016. Rapid shrinkage of agricultural land (1% per year) and rapid urbanization (12% in each year) are making the sector vulnerable. So, to make Bangladesh self-reliance in food allocation for agriculture must be increased proportionately. But allocation for agriculture in the national budget is declining on a regular basis. Allocation for agriculture in current budget is only 4.30% of the total budget. Last year budget for the agriculture ministry was 5.12%. So, agriculture gets 0.82% lower allocation compared to the previous year budget. This trend must be changed. About 20% of the total budget should be allocated for agriculture.

Syed Aminul Haque said, WTO, IMF and other international agencies are forcing to reduce the subsidy in agriculture. According to WTO Nairobi decision developing countries will remove subsidies within 2023, Least Developed Countries (LDCs) and net food-importing countries will do that within 2030. It means countries like Bangladesh has to stop all its supports towards agriculture. Exporting rice is a very dangerous decision for Bangladesh. If rice is considered as an export item, Bangladesh will not be allowed to provide subsidy even in rice cultivation which will be very much suicidal for us.

Badrul Alam Said, we demand Just Price Commission to ensure just and fair price of the farmers’ production. Farmers are not getting just price of the products due to faulty market mechanism. Middlemen are capturing all the benefits of the hard work of marginal farmers. The time of the paddy collection from farmers must be changed.

Zayed Iqbal Khan Said, to save our agriculture we need to save the land. In every year about 10 lakh people are losing their almost everything due to river erosion. We demand special allocation for the protection of farmers from river erosion, tidal surge and sea level rise.

Sajeda Begum said, Bangladesh is one of the most vulnerable countries due to climate change. Our farmers must be provided capacity building support so that they can face the challenges of climate change.
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Bhore dak Somokal
Amadar_Samoy Dhaka Express