Water issue

DMS_4082_IndexDhaka, 24th April 2017: Today in a seminar in parliament media center, Member of Parliament (MP) s urged to increase budget allocation for coastal protection focusing children and youth, while they were speaking in a seminar title “Climate Change Impact in Coastal Bangladesh, Protecting Children, Adolescent and Youth: A Case Study from Monpura Island” have held in Media Centre in Bangladesh Parliament Building, Dhaka. The seminar was Chaired and Moderated by Dr. Hasan Mahmud MP, Chairman, Parliamentary Standing Committee on Ministry of Environment and Forest (MoE&F), Advocate Fazle Rabbi Miah, Deputy Speaker of Bangladesh Parliament while attended the seminar as Chief Guest. Dr Hasan Mahmud said that Bangladesh is the innocent victim of climate change, those who are responsible the developed countries hardly delivering their commitment. In this situation Deputy Speaker Advocate Fazle Rabbi Miah urge all political forces of the country in a unity to save the country from these climate catastrophes.
The seminar has been organized by the office of Dr Hasan Mahmud MP, Chairman Parliamentary Standing Committee and All Party Parliamentary Forum on Climate Change in cooperation with COAST an NGO and UNICEF Bangladesh. Other guest speakers of the seminar were, Mr Edouard Beigbeder Country Representative UNICEF, Dr Ainun Nishat of BRAC University, Dr Sharmind Neelormi of Jahangirnagar University, and MPs are Jebuneesa Afroz from Barisal, Md. Tipu Sultan from Barisal, Saimum Sarwar Kamal from Coxsbazar, and Nobi Newaz from Jenidaha. Selina Chowdhury Upazila Chairman of Monpura also spoke in the seminar. There were children and youth speakers from Monpura island and Barisal, who are Sabia Mim, Shakila Nupur, Sohanur Rahman, Jobair Rahman and Sajib Uddin. Key note papers were presented by Mojibul Haque Munir of COAST, AH Towfique Ahmed of UNICEF.
Dr Hasan Mahmud said that, Water Development Board has to be reformed to protect the coastal island like Monpura and other coastal and haor areas of Bangladesh, they must innovate new technology; listen to affected women, children, youth and local population. Dr Nishat said that climate change action plan which was prepared earlier should be revised by local expert which is being happening with foreigners now. Mr Edourad Beigbeder urge for more investment toward children and youth and their voice should be heard. Dr Sharmind Neelormi said that Cyclone shelters should be equipped to facilitate women and girls. She also said that reproductive health of the women and girls has a great concern in this regard. Selina Chowdhury Upazlia Chairman of Monpura Island said her island is the worse victim in the front line of climate change; government must take action to save the island on priority basis.
Sajib Uddin a child from Monpura Island said, they are loosing all the dreams including their homestead and schools. Sabia Mim said that due to the climate change impact child marriage is increasing in the island is like a curse, Jobair Rahman a youth from Barsial said good officials should be deployed in coastal area rather than sending them in the place as punishment.
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IMG_8279_IndexDhaka, 6 March 2017. A group of 28 Rights Based Civil Society Networks, farmers, fishers and labour organizations have demanded immediate amendment to the draft Marine Fisheries Act 2016, which allows foreign fishing vessels to fish in Bangladesh territory with a license. The group formed a human chain and organized a rally today in front of the National Press Club has expressed its deep concern, as it believes; allowing foreign fishing vessels in Bangladesh territory will be suicidal for both the economy and for the security of the country. The human chain and rally titled ‘We demand amendment to the Draft marine Fisheries Act 2016: Allowing Foreign Fishing Vessels in Bangladesh Territory will be Suicidal’ was jointly organized by Online Knowledge Society,  Arpon, Uddipan, Unnayan Dhara Trust, Udayan Bangladesh, SDO, COAST Trust,  National Krishani Shova Labour Allince, National Labour Alliance, Dak Dia Jai, Docap, Dip Unnayan Society, Nolcity Model Society, Pirojpur Gono Unnayan Somity,  Pran, Prantojon, PSI, Bangladesh, Farmer Federation, Bangladesh Bhumihin Somity, Labour Resource Centre, Bangladesh Krishi Firm Labour Federation, Sonkalpa Trust, Songram, CDP and Muktir Dak.

The rally was moderated by Mustafa Kamal Akand of COAST Trust, among others Subal Sarkar of Bangladesh Bhumihin Somity, Mihir Biswas of Bangladesh Paribesh Bachao Andolon, Engineer Foyez Ahmed of Sommilito Sromik Federation, Zayed Iqbal Khan of Bangladesh Krishak Federtaion and Rezaul Karim Chowdhury of EquityBD spoke at the occasion.

Subal Sarkar said, according to the international law Bangladesh is not bound to open its sea to foreign fishing vessels since it doesn’t have surplus fishing resources. The then undemocratic government passed the Marine Fisheries Ordinance in 1983 allowing license to foreign vessels. We demand the current democratic government to revise the Draft act in this regard. Engineer Foyez Ahmed said, there have been no survey on the resources of the Bay of Bangel during last 18 years. Without having proper survey, without knowing about the actual amount of resources, it will be very serious threat to our native fishermen if we allow foreign vessel into our territory. They will catch maximum fish as they have comparatively modern equipment and technologies.  Mihir Biswas said, about half a million people are directly dependent on the Bangladesh area of the Bay of Bengal. Most of them are using traditional and undated gears or methods of fishing, marginalized fishers are being lagging behind of the mechanized boat owners. If the foreign vessels come, they will add more sufferings to the lives of the marginalized fishers. Zayed Iqbal Khan said, “our government should give priority to our people. The marine resources are yet to be enough for our people, so why should we not allow foreign fishing vessels?”

Rezaul karim Chowdhury said, we thank our Prime Minister for ensuring our rights to about 110000 square kilometers of sea. But, we think that, there is conspiracy to foil that victory. Some vested quarters are trying to invade our sea areas in the name of fishing. It will be tough for us to ensure security of our coastal areas if we allow foreign fishing vessels. Using modern technologies and equipment they will take most of our fish, it will also make our sea vulnerable in terms of national security. Our Navy must be modernized to establish sovereignty of our sea territory.

On behalf of the organizers some specific demands have been placed such as: 1) immediate amendment to the draft Marine Fisheries Act 2016,  2) Ban on new license to fishing trawlers before any survey to learn about the resources, 3) Ensure that fishing trawlers are fishing within their limit, even though large trawlers are not allowed within 40 meters of deep areas,  sometimes large trawlers come even to the areas of small scale fishers, 4) Fishing license must be given to actual local fishing people, 4) All fishing boats must be registered, 5) Navy or coast guard must be modernized.
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DMS_0618_IndexDhaka, 19th February 2017. Today a seminar title “Protecting Bangladesh Coast from Climate Catastrophes: Actions Prior to Next Monsoon” jointly organized by Office of the Dr Hasan Mahmud, Chairman, Parliamentary Standing Committee on Ministry of Environment and Forest in cooperation with COAST Trust, speakers emphasized the protection of coastal land and people could be done from country’s own resources, and in this regard Water Development Board has to be restructured and must coordinate with other government ministries. The seminar was chaired by Dr Hasan Mahmud, moderated by Rezaul Karim Chowdhury of COAST Trust. Special Guest of the seminar was Mr Abduallah Al Islam MP Deputy Minister, other speakers are Dr Ainun Nishat Professor of Emirates BRAC University; Mr. Ponchanon Biswas MP; Mrs Zebunnesa Afroz MP, Mr Ponkaz Nath MP; Mr Shiekh Nurul Haque MP and Mr. Didarul Islam MP. Mr Mujibul Haque Munir of COAST Trust gave the key note presentation.
Mr Mujibul Haque Munir in his key note presentation, apart from the long term impact of climate change in Bangladeshi coastal area, he presented the gloomy experiences of embankment construction with emergency allocation which has given after cyclone Roanu i.e. after last moon soon. He said about discrepancies of original plan and actual work, hardly 50 % of the work has done so far, although there are lot of concern on quality. He express worries, if this sorry state will prevail then again coastal population will suffer tidal surge and related crisis again in next monsoon. Apart from long term solutions, he proposed (i) full transparency and accountability of the Water Development Board (WDB) officials to the local community and to local governments, (ii) there should be coordination of Local Government Engineering Department (LGED), Relief Ministry in this regard and (iii) there should be especial allocation to the Upazila Parishad for emergency work in next monsoon.
Mr Didarul Islam MP of Sitakundu, Mrs Zebunnesa MP of Barisal, Mr Pankaz Nath MP of Mehediganj, Mr Shiekh Nurul Haque MP of Koira, Mr Ponchanon Biswas of Khulna also narrated sorry state of their constituency which in fact still unprotected from river erosion and tidal surge, people are worried for incoming monsoon. They have emphasized sluice gate reactivation, canal revaccinations and dredging, river management in their area, drinking water crisis acute in their area too. They also said that presence of WDB officials in the field are found minimum.
Dr Ainun Nishat has said that, embankment height in coastal area have to be increased up to 7 meter, participation of local community, transparency and accountability to them should must in WDB work. He criticized the present preparation of Delta plan as proposed by donors. Dr Hasan Mahmud Chairman, Parliamentary Standing Committee said that, political leaders should come forward in suggesting that how the government can do their coastal protection work with country’s own local resource mobilization. He also said that the World Bank should not come forward with the proposal of giving loan to Bangladesh in this regard. He emphasized that, WDB has to restructure and there must be coordination with LGED, Relief Ministry and Shipping Ministry for protecting Bangladesh coast.
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IndexDhaka, 19th August 2016. Today all local national and international non-government organization (NGO) along with UN organizations has observed the 19th August World Humanitarian Day as declared by United Nation, through a seminar held in CIRDAP auditorium, Dhaka. Speakers in the seminar emphasized the capacity development of first humanitarian responder i.e. capacity of the local NGOs and community organizations should be considered as priority and urgent. The seminar title “ WHS (World Humanitarian Summit) Outcomes : Experiences of Recent Disaster Response in Bangladesh” were jointly organized by Action Aid, BRAC, Christian Aid, COAST, Concern Worldwide, Concern Universal, Dun Church Aid, Disaster Forum, DSK, International Federation of Red Crescent, Islamic Relief, Muslim Aid, Oxfam, Plan International, Practical Action, NIRAPAD, Save the Children, SKS Foundation, Tear Fund, International Organization of Migration (IoM) , United Nation Resident Coordinator (UNRC) , Wave foundation and World Vision.
The seminar was moderated by Rezaul Karim Chowdhury of COAST, chief guest was Md Shaha Kamal, Secretary, Ministry of Disaster Management and Relief, special guests are Dr Mahbuba Nasreen from Dhaka University, Mr. Badi Akhter from Oxfam, Mr. Nayeem Warha from BRAC, Mr Asif Munier from IoM, Kazi Sahidur Rahaman from UNRC, Mr Shakeb Nabi from Christian Aid, Ms. Hasina Inam from DCA, Ms. Hasin Jahan from Practical Action and Mr. Rafiqul Alam from Dwip Unnayan Sangsta Hatiya. Mr Adit Saah durjoy of Red Crescent, Mr Shawkat Ali Tutul of COAST given the key note presentation.
Mr Shawkat Ali Tutul of COAST in his key note presentation highlighted major outcome of the WHS which are charter for change i.e. commitment to increase funding to local NGOs by international NGOs, lunching of NEAR (Network for Empowering Aid Response) an allianceof southern NGOs, Platform of Disaster Displacement i.e. an state lead initiative to recognize the climate induced displacement where Germany is the chair and Bangladesh is the vice chair. Mr. Nayeem Gowhar Warha emphasized the localization and accountability as major outcome of the WHS; he mentioned that food security of some of some remotest district like Bandarban and Sunamganj should get priority. Mr. Badi Akhter of Oxfam given emphasize on integration of climate adaptation in humanitarian response, he urged for involvement of women right organizations in this regard. Mr Asif Munier of IoM urged for integration of migration, refugee issues and displacement in humanitarian responses.
Dr Mahbuba Nasreen of Dhaka University said that the country has now more resources to invest in humanitarianism and the priority should be to develope capacity of the community and local NGOs in this regard. Md Shaha Kamal Secretary of the Ministry said that INGOs should involve in monitoring while they should fund for implementation by local NGOs.

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IndexDhaka 19th July 2014. Today eighteen rights based civil society and coastal organizations organized a human chain and rally in front of the National Press Club and criticized government’s silence on the recent coastal catastrophes due to monsoon tidal flood and demanded immediate steps to protect coastal people and urged to think of the long term solutions. They also urged for Prime Minister attention in this regard.

Mostafa Kamal Akanda of EquityBD and COAST moderated the speech session after rally while the other speakers were AHM Bazlur Rahman of BNNRC, Aminur Rasul Babul of Unnayan Dhara Trust, Mohamed Yasin of Coastal Protection Movement, Subol Das of Bangladesh Bhumihin Somity, Zayed Iqbal Khan of Bangladesh Krishok Federation, and Sawkat Ali Tutul and Rezaul Karim Chowdhury of EquityBD and COAST.
Eighteen organization who have participated in the rally are Online Knowledge Society, United People Trust, Unnayan Dhara Trust, Coastal Protection Movement, EquityBD, Kishani Shova, Charfassion Shorif Para Ekota Songho, Coastal Development Partnership, Bodwip Forum, Bangladesh Krishok Federation, Bangladesh Bhumihin Somity, Bangladesh NGO Network for Radio and Communication (BNNRC), CMAS, Sirajganj Flood Forum, Swapnapuri, Suraakha O Agragoti Foundation, Saikat Unnayan Sangsta, and Humanity Watch.

On behalf of the group Sawkat Ali Tutul of COAST Trust read out eight point of specific demands: (i) Emergency allocation for the fiscal year of 2014-15 for immediate maintenance of embankments, (ii) Develop fast and transparent tender process of Water Development Board (WDB) and reduce system loss, (iii) Deployment of army and use their expertise in critical places as necessary, (iv) Device transparent and people’s participation in the work of WDB, (v) Keeping information disclosure and complain response mechanism in the work of WDB in the local level, (vi) Establishing local level accountability of WDB and other embankment related bodies, and above all (vii) Considering the protection of coastal people and land as the priority issues in the National Climate Adaptation Plan.

AHM Bazlur Rahman of BNNRC said in his speech that government’s silence on this issue is a human right violation while coastal people has the right to live as the country’s citizen. He added, if we keep losing the coastal land this way the country’s food security will be threatened.

Aminur Rasul of Unnayan Dhara Trust said that the population density of Dhaka is already 54 thousand per sqkm and if coastal people losing their land into the river keep coming to the city for employment, it will cause a social disaster as the city will not be able to accommodate more people.

Rezaul Karim Chowdhury of COAST and EquityBD said that, government and donors has spent around taka 2 thousand crore in the name of climate trust and resilience funds, but money is hardly allocated or spent for protecting coastal lands and people. He demand immediate and long term steps in this regard.

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index_photoToday 3rd May 2013, in India, NGO Forum on ADB (Bangladesh Chapter, a CSO network on campaign & advocacy) and with his other international allies have conduct a mass rally protesting ADB aggression on the poor people and their livelihood in name so called development in South Asia and demand to stop ADB activities just now.

The participants from the rally has also condemned the ADB for intend of grabbing the natural resources especially water, forest, coal in South Asia. The ADB is now being a cause of eviction of poor farmers from their land and intensification of poverty. Thus ADB is doing anti-poor role and favoring the MNCs which is unacceptable.

The rally has conducted during the ADB AGM that taking place in Delhi (2-5 May 2013) where the mass protest has demonstrated and demanded to stop undue intervention and also quit ADB from South Asia. The rally is participated by the Indian CSO network like Peoples Forum of India, All India Forest Movement, JSAPMDD-Philippine and also participated by thousand of other local activist from different part of India.

Lidy Nacpil from JSAPMDD has said that the ADB is using public money in leveraging the private sector in South Asian countries which is unethical and now coming with the new climate finance support so called as intending the business. Mostly this business must grab the natural resource which would be the water in South Asian countries is main target. So we have aware on this ADB bad intension and protest locally, nationally and internationally.

Willy D Costa from People Forum India has treated ADB as a great hypocrite and promoting corruption among the government bodies to achieve his hidden target. So getting out ADB from Asia is only solution.

Aminul Hoque from EquityBD Bangladesh has said the ADB has taken immunity as because of his wrong policy and anti poor role in the countries and damaging the environment and natural system. So we have to raise voice against ADB’s so called immunity and for its cancellation across the south Asia.

Among the other participants, activist from Nepal, president of Indian Hawker federation and activist and CSO representatives from different part of India has spoke in the demonstration.

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Dhaka, 13th February 2012. Today in a seminar organized by EquityBD and Campaign for Sustainable Rural Livelihood (CSRL), two network of right based civil societies, urged Water Development Board must be reform to accommodate people participation in all level of project cycle as climate change adaptation have to be appropriate and low cost. The seminar title “Infrastructure Development and People Participation in Climate Change Planning” was moderated by Rezaul Karim Chowdhury of EquityBD, among other key speakers of the seminar were, ex Minister KM Jahangir, Member of Parliament Sohrab Ali Sana and AKM Fazlul Haque, they are also member of parliamentary standing committee related to ministry on water resource and ministry on environment and forest; Monisha Biswas of CSRL, Zakir Hossain of Transparency International Bangladesh, Jahangir Hossain Masum of CDP. Three case studies and paper were presented by Sayed Aminul Haque of EquityBD, Hasan Mehedi of Humanity Watch, and Dr. Khurshid Alam an expert consultant on Water Development Board study.

Dr Khurshid in his presentation urged to take social approach integrated to technical approach, Water Board have to be oriented to work with people rather then working for people, he urged water board must not follow top down one size fit all embankment, there must be separate board for coastal development and haor development, he also urged to utilize labor contracting group and canal maintenance group, as he mentioned that it will reduce implementation cost too.

KM Jahagir the ex Minister as he is from coastal area and experienced he proposed three steps, i.e., in respect of embankment construction it should be considered to save the soul, not to take cost effectively, there must be cost audit on each of the estimate of water board, and he also urged from local level participation. Sohrab Ali Sana and AKM Fazlul Haque the two MP has also echoed the same voice to ensure people participation from project preparation to project implementation on top of bureaucrats domination.

Zakir Hossain of TIB proposed that there must be change in public procurement policy so that there should be local level participation. He observed that there are hardly any environmental impact assessment in already disbursed projects under trust and resilience funds, where water development board has got around 33 % of the allocation which is around taka 2500 millions.

Monisha Biswas of CSRL draw attention to give importance to women and child issue in all infrastructure planning. Niamat Ullah from Bhola urged to give usufruct right to all the settlers in embankment land in coastal areas, they should be trained how to maintain the embankment lands and also how to generate income from those lands, so that they will also be maintainer and protector of the embankment. Hasan Mehedi and Zahangir Masum give importance to follow Tidal River Management in river management planning.

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