Economic justice

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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.

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Today 14 June 2018, nine civil society networking organizations on climate change coordinated by COAST Trust and EquityBD has organized a press conference at national press club and demand to give focus climate resilient Infrastructure development for climate Financing in upcoming national budget for 2018-19 fiscal year. They also criticize government for coating the traditional development budget as climate finance. They urged government to ensure adequate and additional new budget for climate resilient economy and building adaptive capacity of coastal people.

The press conference is moderated by M Rezaul Karim Chowdhury, Chief Moderator of EquityBD and key demand is read out by Syed Aminul Hoque of same organization. Among the others, Mr. Quamrul Islam Chowdhury, President-Federation Environment Journalist Forum Bangladesh, Motahar Hossain, Secretary-Climate Change Journalist Forum, Mrinal Kanti of Bangladesh Indigenous People Network on Climate Change and Badrul Alam of Bangladesh agriculture federation has spoken in the event favor of the demands.

Presenting the key demand, Syed Aminul Hoque said, this is good that government is preparing report on climate finance but observation showing on 2018-19 proposed budget for climate finance amount BDT 18,948 crore (8.82% of proposed budget) in fact color coating of climate finance on traditional development expenditure those done in previous. Following this observation, the group made four recommendation for 2018-19 new budget those are (i) Government must ensure new and additional budget as climate finance out of traditional allocation (ii) Separate between growth orient infrastructure and climate fighting infrastructure and will make allocation accordingly to save climate vulnerable people (iii) Expedite the preparation of NAP-National Adaptation Plan with mass participation and ensure budget for required adaptation finance, (iv) Ensure transparency and accountability of climate finance along with BCCTF-Bangladesh Climate Change Trust Fund.

Mr. Quamrul Islam said that the proposed climate finance is inadequate to fight climate change impact. Apart govt. suffering lack of capacity of her NIEs (National Implementing Entities) to influence the global climate financing process. He recommended to build up NIEs capacity to mobilize additional global finance that ease govt. to more support on climate finance.

Mr. Rezaul Karim opined, that government should follow her own climate change strategy plan, identify the climate hot spots for appropriate climate action and allocate budget accordingly through setting priority to develop specific climate resilient infrastructure.

Mr. Badrul Alam said that implementing climate finance activities under “Trust Fund” is questionable to mass as this has hardly impact in climate change arena. Even this year government didn’t allocate money for this fund which is a setback for implementing climate change action plans. He demand to engage the mass with the process, implementation and monitoring of trust fund. Motahar Hossain said cyclone SIDR and Aila has damaged major part of coastal embankments those we need to construct with new high to face tidal surge. Apart salinity is a new problem looming cause of mass displacement. Government should importance these issues and increase budgetary allocation.
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Today 13 June 2018, twenty right based civil society networking organizations coordinated by EquityBD has organized a human chain in front of national press club and urged government to emphasize Income Tax instead VAT (Value Added Tax) for revenue mobilization and implementing 2018-19 national budget. They also raised voice on inefficiency of bank sector and demanded to strengthen Central Bank to stop loop holes in capital flight and ensure governance in financial Sector.

The human chain is moderated by Mostafa Kamal Akand-Networking Coordinator of EquityBD and key demand is read out by Md. Ahsanul Karim of same organization. Among others Mr. BadrulAlam from Bangladesh agriculture federation, Mr. Jayed Iqbal Khan, Syed Aminul Hoque from COAST Trust and Mr. Rezaul Karim Chowdhury from EquityBD spoke in the event.

Md. Ahsanul Karim from the group has drawn the following recommendations these are (1) To increase corporate tax as direct tax rather than VAT as indirect tax and also to increase the minimum tax free income from 2,50,000 to 3,50,000 (2) Strengthen Central Bank to establish governance in Financial Sector (3) Establishing central bank control over the banks and forming a strong bank commission to save people money (4) all transaction which is more than $2000 must be through bank transfer and with TIN, (5) publication of white papers of Bangladeshi’s in Malaysia 2nd Home Program, (6) publication of white papers and report on stock exchange debacle, plundering of money from public banks, and Bangladesh Bank money heist and all above (7) shunning the path of confrontational politics and space to the free growth of democratic institutions, so that people and business man will feel sense of security and they will not try for illicit flow.

Syed Aminul Hoque from EquityBD said that revised VAT slab will increase VAT rate and increase burden for poor because they are enjoy these lower slab of VAT. Government failed collect income tax from trade and big economic activities, that’s why mounting on poor for revenue which injustice.

M Rezaul Karim Chowdhury from Equity BD said that Finance minister did not keep his commitment in respect of establishing a neutral and a strong bank commission which will assist the bank owners to plunder more public money from banks. He also said that due to reduce bank corporate tax of 2.5%, Govt. will lose about Tk.100 crore as extra revenue which will indeed make the bank owners more rich.

Md. Badrul Alam of Krishak Federation said that Government has reimbursed more than 10,000crore of as capital refilling from 2006 to 2017 to the state running banks who are suffering from capital deficits because of corruption mostly done by the different companies (Hallmarks, Mismilla Group, Crescent Leather, etc) and supported by politically appointed directors of those banks. The supported money most collecting from hard earn people as tax.

Kader Hajari of Arpan said that Govt. is heavily relying on VAT collection which is 33.7% excess target than FY 2017-18. He also mentioned that Govt. has emphasis to collect income tax from individuals rather than corporate. It is about 58.4% excess target set out for individual income tax where the corporate ta is 15.9% than the FY 2017-18. The government has not enhanced tax free income level and it will create extra burden for middle income earn people and the poor.
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Dhaka, 11 June 2018.Today in a press conference 12 local and national farmers’ organization expressed their frustration over the inadequate allocation for the agriculture in the proposed national budget for the year of 2018-19. Today from a press conference organized in the National Press Club the organizers also demanded visionary and Specific Allocation to Face the Long-Term Challenges Towards Achieving the Food Security Demanded.

The press conference titled ‘Only 2.99% allocation for the sector with 46% of labour force is really not appropriate: We Demand specific allocation and initiative to solve recent and long term crisis of the farmers of Bangladesh’ was jointly organized by Coastal Farmers’ Association, Bangladesh Fish Workers Alliance, Bangladesh Agricultural Farm Labour Federation, National Women Farmers and Workers Association, Bangladesh Adibashi Samity, Haor Farmers and Fishers Alliance, Gram Labour Resource Centre, Nolchira Pani Unnayan Somity, Dighon CIG, Kendriyo Krishak Moitree, Bangladesh Farmers’ Forum and COAST Trust.

The press conference was moderated by Mustafa Kamal Akand of COAST Trust and Md. Mujibul Haque Munir, Secretariat Coordinator of Bangladesh Farmers Forum presented the key positions of the group. Among others Abdul Majid, secretary of Bangladesh Agricultural Farm Labour Federation, Md. Shahabuddin, Secereaty of Secretary of Coastal Farmers Association, Samsuzzaman Khokon, Chief of the Gram Unnayan Sanagstha and Syed Aminul Haque, Secetary of EquityBD also spoke at the occasion.

Md. Mujibul Haque Munir said, the allocation for agriculture proves that, the proposed budget clearly does’t pay proper attention to the agriculture sector. Though the total budget has been increased by about 16%, the allocation for the ministry of agriculture has been decreased by 0.41%! In the Annual Development Plan the allocation for the ministry is only 1.1%, while about 46% of the total labour force is engaged with important sector. Agriculture sector is already experiencing negative impact of climate change, our agricultural land is decreasing by 1% each year, due rapid urbanization we are also losing land, food deficit is increasing- these challenges are going to create serious threats for Bangladesh in achieving food security, budget allocation must keep those challenges in mind, special allocation is needed to enhance our capacity to face these challenges in future. Unfortunately, the proposed budget doesn’t not seem to consider those.

Syed Aminul Haque said, by 2050 demand for food crops will be increased by 30%, but we are experiencing bellow 1 percent crop production growth during last three years. If this trend is going on, Bangladesh will be in serious threat regarding the food security, In the proposed budget there in reflection of preparation for such crisis.

Abdul Majid said, excise duty has been increased to 28% in rice import, but this will not bring any benefit for the farmers, as they have already sold their production. This initiative will benefit the middlemen. Rice collection time must be reconsidered so that marginalised farmers can be benefited.

Saiduzzaman Khokon said, farmers are not getting just price of their products, our demand was a Price Commission, the budget once again has ignored that demand.

Md. Shahabuddin said, in 2017-18 allocation for agriculture subsidy was 9000 crore taka, but 3000 crore taka was not spent. We demand to increase the allocation for subsidy as well as the proper utilization of the allocation. in many cases agriculture subsidy is going to wrong hands, who are not involved with agriculture. This has to be changed.

Mothahar Hossain said, just price of the farmers production must be ensured. Special attecntion in regard in the budget is needed.
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Dhaka, 24 May 2018.Today in a press conference 12 local and national farmers’ organization strongly recommended special allocation in the upcoming budget to build permanent embankment to save coastal agricultural land. From a press conference organized today in the National Press Club, they also demanded National price commission to ensure just price of their agricultural products. The press conference titled ‘We Demand Fair Price Commission for Agriculture Production: Permanent Embankment is Must to Save Coastal Agricultural Land’ was jointly organized by Coastal Farmers’ Association, Bangladesh Fish Workers Alliance, Bangladesh Agricultural Farm Labour Federation, National Women Farmers Association, Bangladesh Adibashi Samity, Haor Farmers and Fishers Alliance, Gram Labour Resource Centre, Nolchira Pani Unnayan Somity, Dighon CIG, Kendriyo Krishak Moitree, Bangladesh Farmers’ Forum and COAST Trust.

The press conference was moderated by Mustafa Kamal Akand of COAST Trust and Md. Mujibul Haque Munir, Secretariat Coordinator of Bangladesh Farmers Forum presented the key positions of the group. Among others Abdul Majid, secretary of Bangladesh Agricultural Farm Labour Federation, Md. Shahabuddin, Secereaty of Coastal Farmers Association, Samsuzzaman Khokon, Chief of the Gram Unnayan Sanagstha also spoke at the occasion.

Md. Mujibul Haque Munir said, 46% of our labour resource are engaged with the agriculture sector, our food security depends on this sector, so at least 20% of total national budget should be allocated for agriculture sector. But even though the size of the national budget is increasing every year, budget for agriculture sector is not increasing proportionately. The national budget of 2017-18 was increased about 30% compared to the budget of 2016-17, but allocation for agriculture was reduced by 0.81%. In the budget of fiscal year 2016-17, allocation for agriculture was 4.01% of the total budget, but in 2017-18 it was reduced to 3.4%. In the Annual Development Plan allocation for the Ministry of Agriculture was only 1.2% of total ADP! One big change in this trend must take place to save out farmers and to save our agriculture.

Abdul Majid said, farmers must control the seed, they must have the seed sovereignty. We have to reduce our dependency on multinational seed companies. We can easily do to that we can make Bangladesh seed sufficient by ensuring capacity building if the Bangladesh Agricultural Development Centre (BADC). We demand special allocation for this public institution.

Md. Shahabuddin said, farmers of Bhola had to spent about 600 taka to produce each 100 Kgs of rice, but the price was just 400 to 450! ensure just price of the farmers’ product, we need to reform the current paddy collection system of the government. Farmers have to sell their rice as soon as they get it from the field, government must start the collection considering that time. But, the process usually starts at a time when farmers already sell their product. Thus, the middlemen are getting the benefits of the government process. We demand national price commission which will supervise the overall process and will ensure just price.

Saiduzzaman Khokon said, in many cases agriculture subsidy is going to wrong hands, who are not involved with agriculture. This has to be changed. In all budget and plan of agriculture participation of farmers must be ensured.

Mustafa Kamal Akanda said, each year we are losing 1% of our agricultural land, about 1 million people are becoming homeless due to river erosion. We demand social allocation to build permanent embankment to save the coastal agricultural land.

The organizers also demanded special initiatives to enhance the jute production, to restrict use of GMO seeds, and control use of agricultural land for other purposes.
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Dhaka, 17 Feb 2018: In a national seminar on “LDC Graduation and Sustainable Development Approach
Bangladesh Perspective” held at CIRDAP auditorium Dhaka, civil societies recommended government to take preparation sustainable graduating from LDCs (Least Development Countries). They also urged to adopt appropriate measures in tackling the current inequality in this regard.

The seminar is organized by EquityBD and LDC Watch jointly and participated by, Rd. Quiz Khaliquzzaman Ahmed, Chairman PKSF as the Chair of the seminar, Dr. Shamsul Alam, Senior Secretary of GED and member of planning commission as special guest, Md. Anwar Hossain, Additional Secretary of ERD and Md. Hafizur Rahman, Deputy Secretary and Director of WTO Cell were in the panel of speakers. Mr. Gauri Pradhan of Nepal, the International Coordinator of LDC Watch was also present in the seminar. Rezaul Karim Chowdhury, the Chief Moderator of EquityBD has moderated the seminar while Syed Aminul Hoque presented the keynote paper.

In the keynote paper presented by the Deputy Director of COAST Trust, Syed Aminul Hoque raised the official recommendations of EquityBD and LDC Watch for Bangladesh including (1) Increase domestic resource mobilization through stopping of tax dodging and illicit financial outflow that would support the government to increase her own investment capacity. (2) Expedite pro-poor budgetary allocation for health and education to develop skilled human asset to face the challenges of LDC graduation. (3) Focus climate resilient critical infrastructure to save coastal people and asset. (4) Effective governance to improve development effectiveness.

In his speech Dr. Quazi Khaliquzzaman Ahmed said, the most important issue of this graduation is the dignity of our nation. We deserve this status and it is not anyone’s kindness for us. We have achieved this based on our hard work and performance. We might lose some facilities and advantages that LDCs enjoy in the world’s economic activities. But, we need to look ahead as we can do better by ourselves. Dr. Shamsul Alam, the Senior Secretary of Bangladesh Government said, Quality Education could be the key focus to face the upcoming challenge for Bangladesh while graduating the LDC status as the current way of Education is not meeting the need of Development challenges. We really are not looking for ODA anymore as an LDC when Bangladesh is expecting to be an investing country after this graduation.

Md. Hafizur Rahman, Director of the WTO cell under the Ministry of Commerce said, as a LDC we are not fully enjoying the Special and Differential Preference neither from the Developed Countries like USA, Russia etc. nor from some Developing Countries like India and China. We are looking forward to the greater opportunities as a middle income country.

Rezaul Karim Chowdhury, the Chief Moderator of EquityBD said, biggest challenge toward the sustainability in LDC graduation are climate disaster and inequalities, we need to develop climate resilient infrastructure.
Mr. Anwar Hossain, Additional Secretary of External Resource Division of Bangladesh Government said, while we will be graduating we might loss some LDC facilities but there are opportunities for us too, we have to develop our competitiveness through quality education.
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NGO participants from Bangladesh were thankful to the Govt Delegation for not signing in the e-commerce rules though there was big push from the proponents. A group of 70 countries, chaired by Australia, Japan and Singapore, agreed today to start exploratory work toward future negotiations on electronic commerce rules.

The experts said that, E-commerce talks in the WTO have repeatedly stalled and the Buenos Aires conference did not deliver a breakthrough on this issue either. Members even failed to extend a nearly two-decade-old agreement barring the implementation of customs duties on electronic transmissions.

The World Trade Organization’s 11th ministerial is expected to close without the issuance of a ministerial declaration after the U.S. and India clash over language on development i.e. whether to include a reference to the Doha Development Agenda.

The 11th Ministerial of WTO starts with a criticism that, over 60 civil society delegates to the conference, who had been accredited by the WTO, were banned from participation by the Argentinian government. Two of them were deported after arriving at the airport. NGO participants in their joint statement mention that in view of the important public policy issues that are being discussed at such international conferences, the citizens of the world need ways to ensure that their problems and concerns are appropriately listened to and taken into consideration.

Our World Is Not For Sale Network, who brings together 250 organizations from 50 countries in the global North and South, called on government delegates to change existing WTO rules that are constraining policy space for job creation and development and to reject the wrong agenda to expand the failed model of the WTO to new issues.
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Dhaka, 30 November 2017. Today CSO (Civil Society Organizations) representatives and right based activist has demanded for Domestic Protection Policy for SME (Small & Medium Enterprises) before introducing E-Commerce in Bangladesh. They made this demand in national seminar title “E-Commerce & Domestic Protection: Issue of WTO Ministerial Conference 2017” that held at National Press Club, Dhaka. They also demand to declare government position on E-Commerce issue in upcoming WTO ministerial conference.
The seminar is moderated by Aminul Hoque of EquityBD and key note presented by Barkatullah Maruf form same organization. Mr. Abu Naser, Director-FBCCI, Md. Fazlul Karim, Director-DCCI, Mr. Asjadul Kibria, Member-Bangladesh Economic Association, Dr. Mesbahuddin Ahamed-Jatyo Sramik Jote, Mr. Abul Hossen, Convenor-Labour Movement Forum, Salauddin Bablu, Chief Reporter- SA TV and Mr. Badrul Alam, Bangladesh Krishak Forum spoke in the seminar.
In the key note presentation, Mr. Maruf said that the proposal and intention developed countries on e-commerce issue is to transform the mandate of discussion of 1998 non-binding rules into mandate of bilateral negotiation and legally binding options. The proponents of the proposal are 5 giant data companies Google, Apple, Facebook, Amazon and Microsoft of USA, Japan Canada, EU an few developing countries. African union and LDC are strongly opposing the proposal as it ruins the right of the consumers throughout the world along with the security of personal data. So Bangladesh govt. must take position for our own safeguard and also need to prepare to save small business entrepreneurs and save people.
Asjadul Kibria said that WTO didn’t able to set-a side the Doha Round discussion on especially Trade & Investment, Rules of Origin and Meaningful trade facilities those are very important for LDCs (Least Developed Countries) and need to decide. Than come to the e-commerce and in that case, Bangladesh has needed strong preparation indeed in WTO to face the imbalance situation further.
Dr. Mesbah uddin said that Ecommerce has been running based on disruptive technologies and rapidly evolving in developing countries like Bangladesh due to lack of competitiveness and market failure, but governments don’t have any effective mechanism or institution in regulating this sector for preventing market failures and protecting the consumer. Private car service “Uber” is one of the examples at present who might be a cause of local unemployment and become headache for government in future.
Mr. Abu Naser said that growing inequality is one of the major concern in Bangladesh which exacerbate in WTO deal through E-Commerce. We expect, government will think it very cautiously and discuss with us along with other stakeholder to prepare for upcoming ministerial conference.
Md. Fazlul Karim said that E-commerce is a premature action and initiatives for Bangladesh where governments will not be able to control unfair trade practices, such as predatory pricing, tax dodging. Thus domestic enterprises will lose their opportunity and capacities in competition. So govt. should not go with E-Commerce until development of adequate legal structure for domestic protection regarding digital trade, Internet governance and cyber-security.
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Dhaka, 25th October, 2017. Today in a dialogue held in a hotel in the capital global CSOs expressed their concerns as spaces for CSOs is shrinking in the global development processes. On the other hand, Bangladeshi CSOs urged an effective and enabling environment as equal level development partnership. They placed these concerns and urges from the event titled, “Bangladeshi CSO Dialogue with GPEDC, Realizing Enhancing Development Cooperation and the SDGs : Bangladesh Perspectives.” The seminar was jointly organized by the CSO Partnership for Development Effectiveness (CPDE) group in Bangladesh and COAST Trust. The dialogue was chaired by Dr. Qazi Kholiquzzaman, Chairman, PKSF, the Honorable State Minister for the Ministry of Finance and Planning Mr. Muhammad Abdul Mannan MP was present as the Chief Guest and of the event was moderated by Rezaul Karim Chowdhury, Executive Director, COAST Trust. The Development Effectiveness Wing (DEW) of the Economic Relation Division (ERD) supported the dialogue.

CSO leaders from various countries and some Steering Committee Members of the GPEDC (Global Partnership on Effective Development Cooperation) participated in the meeting. Bangladeshi CSOs like representatives of ADAB, FNB, CAMPE, CDF, BNNRC, Citizen’s Platform 4 SDGs also participated in the event. Among others Mizanur Rahman, Deputy Secretary, Development Effectiveness Wing of ERD, Maria Theresa, Vice Chair of CPDE, Nabine Gbossa, Head of Division, Global Partnerships & Policies, OECD, Marcela Martinez from El Salvador, Ashekur Rahman, UNDP Urban Specialist, Ms Janet from Canadian Govt., Mr Udo from German Govt also spoke at the occasion. Bangaleshi CSOs reptesnettaives including Anisatul Fatema Yousuf, Director, Dialogue & Communication, Center for Policy Dialogue (CPD), Dr Tofail local govt specialist, Mr Jashim from ADAB and CDF, Mr Tapan from CAMPE, Mr. Morshed from POPI, Mr. Ahmed Swapan from VOICE placed their comments during the dialogue.

Rezaual Karim Chowdhury placed the welcome speech and he also presented the historical journey of the aid effectiveess to development effectiveness. He presented the glimpse of the various process like the International Conference on Financing for Development, Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness, High Level Forums on Aid Effectiveness, The Global Partnership for Effective Development Cooperation etc. He said, climate change and Rohingya refugees will be two major development challenges for Bangladesh while Bangladesh embarking to achieve SDGs.

Mizanur Rahman said, Government is very much committed to ensure CSO participation in development efforts.

Maria Theresa said, There are many important roles of CSOs in development. In development discourses we are experiencing many discourses, but commitments are not fulfilling. CSOs have to do their homework to be engaged with government processes. Nabine Gbossa expressed worries that CSO space are shrinking. Janet and Udo mentioned that , CSO has to be given equal level treatment as like as state actor and private sector

Ahmed Swapan Mahmud said, Govt., INGOs and UN organizations must give equal level treatment to CSO s development partnership, in view of WHS and Grand Bargain policy outcome. Mr Jashim said, UN agencies and INGOs should not be involved in direct operation at the field level as their transaction cost is very high, rather they should do partnership with local CSOs.

Dr. Qazi Kholiquzzaman said, CSOs engagement in any development process is very much vital in ensuring sustainability and effectivity. Government should create spaces for the CSOs and CSOs should involve and accountable to mass people in all sorts of development efforts as much as possible.

Muhammad Abdul Mannan MP said, Government is very keen to ensure engagement of CSOs in development process, we believe it is very much important to realize the SDGs. To achieve the SDGs international communities have also huge responsibilities on 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.
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