Dhaka, Sept 19 (UNB) - Indian High Commission in Dhaka on Thursday hosted a reception to celebrate the 55th Indian Technical and Economic Cooperation (ITEC) Day.
Information Minister Dr Hasan Mahmud attended the reception held at the High Commission of India as the chief guest.
Speaking on the occasion, High Commissioner Riva Ganguly Das underscored the importance of such programmes in strengthening the capacity of officials of Bangladesh working in various ministries and departments.
She said such programmes will further enhance the already excellent bilateral cooperation that exists between the two countries.
ITEC, a flagship programme of the government of India was instituted in 1964 as part of India’s Development Assistance Programme within the framework of the Indian Technical and Economic Cooperation offering developing countries the benefit of India’s development experience and appropriate technologies, according to Indian High Commission in Dhaka.
Every year, over 10,000 training slots are offered to 161 partner countries for training courses in various areas like accounts, audit, management, SME, rural development, parliamentary affairs. Bangladesh is India’s foremost and valued partner under the ITEC Cooperation.
Over 4,000 young Bangladeshi professionals have undergone such specialised short and medium term courses in India under the ITEC programme since 2007.
These training programmes provide an opportunity to share best practices with the brightest brains and India equally benefits from the developmental experiences of Bangladesh.
Around 300 ITEC alumni from all walks of life, besides distinguished guests, attended the programme.
A short cultural programme organised by Nrittya Chhanda and Bir Srestha Noor Mohammad Public College, Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB), Dhaka was also presented on the occasion.
Dhaka, Sept 19 (UNB) - United Nations agencies have expanded distributions of gas stoves and LPG in the host community of Cox’s Bazar, jointly targeting the most vulnerable people in the district.
The International Organization for Migration (IOM) distributed the LPG to 14,000 people who are also participating in the World Food Programme’s livelihoods programme, said a joint media release on Thursday.
The distributions are part of the comprehensive SAFE Plus programme, a joint initiative between IOM, WFP, and the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) which has been running since 2018.
SAFE Plus aims to curb deforestation in the region whilst simultaneously restoring deforested areas.
“The LPG distribution is an exciting programme that reduces fuel costs for Bangladeshis while reducing deforestation,” said Manuel Pereira – Deputy Chief of Mission.
“Thousands of Bangladeshis have benefitted from LPG and we continue to build on its successes. IOM is in Bangladesh for the long haul, and we look forward to reaching more host community members through this initiative,” he said.
Along with the distribution of LPG to stop trees being cut down for firewood, almost 80 hectares of land has been reforested around Cox’s Bazar so far.
Indigenous species are being planted to help restore the damaged environment and help conserve the endangered species in the region. A mixed vegetation approach will be used in this restoration initiative which includes planting of long rooted grass, leguminous seeds, tree seedlings, and bamboo.
“The LPG initiative and the reforestation programme are linked and were developed in coordination to benefit all of the people in this area,” said Peter Agnew, FAO’s Emergency Response Coordinator in Cox’s Bazar.
“The reforestation work, being done with the Forest Department both in and outside of the camps, is key to preventing landslides, floods and the loss of precious topsoil. The tree cover is also vital to the recharging groundwater sources; a priority in the already water scarce environment.”
WFP livelihoods participants received the stoves because the programme targets the most vulnerable in Cox’s Bazar.
Through the programme, people receive a cash grant at the end of a two-year training to start their own business.
Throughout the two-year programme people receive a monthly allowance as they participate in training in entrepreneurship and basic skills such as numeracy, literacy, and negotiation.
“Around 20,000 people in the host community are currently taking part in the livelihoods programme and past graduates have launched many successful businesses in the host community,” said Peter Guest, Emergency Coordinator with WFP.
Dhaka, Sept 19 (UNB) - Chinese Ambassador to Bangladesh Li Jiming has said China stands ready to “mediate and promote” Rohingya repatriation in an “active manner” to help find a solution as soon as possible.
“As a Chinese saying goes, neighbours are just like family members who stand by each other. If the two neighbours and friends are in need of help, China won’t shy away from it,” he said here on Thursday.
Bangladesh is now hosting over 1.1 million Rohingyas and most of them entered Cox’s Bazar since August 25, 2017.
Ambassador Jiming has recently visited Rohingya camps in Cox’s Bazar what it says demonstrates the “strong determination” of China to uphold peace and stability and promote development and prosperity in the region.
The Chinese envoy said he visited Rohingya camps in Cox’s Bazar from September 15 to 17, accompanied by officials from the Ministries of Foreign Affairs and Disaster Management and Relief of Bangladesh and United Nations High Commission for Refugees.
The visit is the “latest embodiment” of China, as a good neighbour and friend of Bangladesh and Myanmar, making efforts on “mediating and facilitating repatriation” to resolve the Rohingya issue, said the Chinese Embassy in Dhaka.
In August 2017, violence broke out in Rakhine State, leading to large influx of Rohingyas into Bangladesh to seek shelter.
As a responsible partner, China has been playing an important role in mediating between Bangladesh and Myanmar and facilitating the repatriation process as well as handling the crisis, said the Embassy.
In November 2017, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi visited Bangladesh and met Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and then Foreign Minister AH Mahmood Ali of Bangladesh, proposing the three-phased solution to the problem, namely “cessation of violence, repatriation and development”, which has been welcomed by Bangladesh.
In June and September of 2018, Wang Yi held two rounds of informal meetings involving China, Bangladesh and Myanmar, during which an important consensus came to solve the problem properly.
In the recent two years, the Embassy says, China has been mediating between Bangladesh and Myanmar on various occasions, and trying its best to bring the two countries together in finding the way out.
The Chinese government has provided 2,000 tents, 3,000 blankets and 20 million RMB worth of rice to Bangladesh to help the Rohingyas.
During his trip, Ambassador Jiming went to camps in Teknaf and Ukhia upzilas in Cox’s Bazar, including the one on “zero line” along the Bangladesh-Myanmar border, visited the terrestrial and waterside transit centers built by the Bangladeshi government, and walked into the houses of Rohingyas to listen to their concerns and demands.
The Ambassador said the Rakhine State issue is a long-standing one with complicated dimensions of history, ethnicity, and religion.
“It’s China’s firm belief that dialogue and negotiation between Bangladesh and Myanmar are the only way forward, while the international community should play a constructive role as per the wishes of the two countries,” he said.
Dhaka, Sept 19 (UNB) - Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen on Thursday said all the stakeholders should work together to achieve the anticipated outcomes in terms of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as there is a long way to go despite some progress.
“We’re hopeful that we’re on the right track, and will overcome our challenges as we did in the past in order to successfully accomplish the SDGs in cooperation with UN and all other stakeholders,” he said.
Dr Momen said the good news is that they have launched SDG tracker that can be used for comprehensive target setting and monitoring progress of each SDG along with the indicators.
The Foreign Minister was addressing a conference titled “SDGs and Bangladesh: Partnership with United Nations in achieving the SDGs in Bangladesh” at Bangabandhu International Conference Centre in the city.
State Minister for Foreign Affairs M Shahriar Alam, UN Resident Coordinator Mia Seppo, Member (Senior Secretary), General Economics Division, Planning Commission Dr Shamsul Alam and UNFPA Regional Director, Asia Pacific Bjorn Andersson, among others, spoke at the inaugural session of the conference.
Dr Momen said although they are progressing in every dimension, they still have a long way to go. “Vulnerability to the climate change poses a great threat to us.”
He said the government has developed the Bangladesh Climate Change Strategy and Action Plan (BCCSAP) funded by its own money.
Currently, several projects for mitigating the climate change effect and developing resilience against the threat has been implemented by the government in coordination with the UN and other development partners.
“Ending poverty, ensuring health facilities for all, reducing child and maternity death, reducing inequality in all spheres of national life, ensuring quality education, ensuring environmental well-being are some of the major challenges we need to overcome,” Dr Momen said.
He said the UN Country Team (UNCT), comprised of 23 different UN organisations collectively supports the government’s efforts to achieve the SDGs.
“UN’s cooperation in the attainment of MDGs is genuinely praiseworthy and I personally thank them for this. They’re also working closely with the government to formulate the UN Sustainable Development Cooperation Framework aligned with the 8th Five Year Plan,” said Dr Momen hoping that this cooperation will continue in the foreseeable future.
He further said, “Once our famous Bangladeshi poet Rabindranath Tagore wrote and I quote, (Don’t be frightened seeing the cloud, as the sun is shining behind).”
Shahriar said SDGs will require much greater, long-term and assured global resources and support for sustainable development in developing countries like Bangladesh.
“I hope our friends in the UN system will continue their support and cooperation in our efforts,” he said.
The State Minister said the United Nations has been playing a major role in the socioeconomic development of Bangladesh since its independence, which they achieved under the leadership of the Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman in 1971.
He expressed his heartfelt thanks to the UN organisations operating in Bangladesh for their contribution in poverty eradication, health, food and nutrition security, education, eradicating inequality, and promoting gender equality.
“We’ve our political commitments and policy support for successful implementation of the SDGs,” he said adding that they are mobilising resources, enhancing capabilities and empowering people with this end.
He said they are also engaged in partnership with a wide range of international actors, private sectors and responsible civil society.
“Many innovation and development solutions have already been developed. But many more need to be done,” he said.
Mia Seppo described the conference as important dialogue on the global goals in Dhaka ahead of the 74th UNGA in New York.
“Bangladesh has been on an impressive development journey since its independence in 1971. This is a journey of resilience tested in periods of poverty and famine, as well as institutional turmoil,” she said.
The UNRC said it is a journey of considerable advances in economic, political, and social development: in areas of poverty reduction, climate change, maternal and child health and disaster resilience.
There were four substantive themes: Poverty, Inclusive Economic Growth, Decent Work; Social Protection and ‘Leaving No One Behind’; Good Governance, Rule of Law, Human Rights, Participation and Climate Change, Environment, Urbanization.
PKSF Chairman Dr Qazi Kholiquzzaman Ahmad also spoke on the occasion.
The conference concluded with a panel discussion on partnership with the United Nations in achieving SDGs in Bangladesh.
Director General (UN), MoFA Nahida Sobhan, UNRC Mia Seppo, USAID Mission Director Derrick S Brown, Distinguished Fellow, CPD Prof Dr Mustafizur Rahman and Principal Coordinator (SDGs), Prime Minister’s Office Md Abul Kalam Azad joined the session as panelists.
The panel discussion was moderated by Md Shahidul Haque, Foreign Secretary (Senior Secretary), Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the United Nations hosted the special conference to highlight the UN’s contributions to sustainable development and the implementation of the SDGs in Bangladesh.
The conference took stock of the achievements made and of the requirements for tackling remaining challenges.
It also represented an opportunity to prepare for the upcoming UN SDG Summit, UN Climate Action Summit and UN High-Level Meeting on Universal Health.
Dhaka, Sep 19 (UNB) – US Ambassador Earl Miller on Thursday said his country is committed to supporting Bangladesh in its efforts to tackle money laundering, terrorism financing, and strengthening the rule of law.
“We share a common goal of preventing terrorism by identifying and choking off financial support for terrorists and their organisations,” he said while inaugurating a workshop - ‘Investigating and Prosecuting Financial Crimes’ - at a city hotel.
The function was jointly organised by Bangladesh Financial Intelligence Unit (BFIU), the United States Department of Justice’s National Advocacy Center, and the Los Angeles and Miami Divisions of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. BFIU chief Abu Hena Mohammad Razee Hassan also spoke at the programme.
Officials from the Ministry of Law, Justice, and Parliamentary Affairs, BFIU, Anti-Corruption Commission, National Board of Revenue, Criminal Investigation Department, Department of Narcotics Control, Attorney General’s Office, and Customs Intelligence and Investigation Directorate participated in the workshop.
Ambassador Miller said the US Embassy, through the Department of Justice’s Office of Prosecutorial Development, Assistance and Training (OPDAT) and the State Department, has partnered with Bangladeshi colleagues to provide programmes like this since 2005.
He said stopping the flow of money to terrorists takes a regional and international effort.
“So it’s fitting we hold this workshop, in Bangladesh, the co-chair of the Asia Pacific Group for Money Laundering for the 2018-2020 term,” he said.
Miller said the US and Bangladesh have been working together to build strong legal institutions that respect the rule of law and are, in turn, respected by fellow citizens. “It’s what they expect, it’s what they deserve,” he said.
He, however, said it is not enough to adopt strong laws prohibiting money laundering and terrorism financing. “The laws must be enforced by trained investigators, prosecutors, and analysts such as you,” the ambassador said.
He mentioned that through joint training like this – practical, hands on – prosecutors, investigators, and regulators get to know each other and the unique and crucial role each can play.
“This is critical,” Miller said, “because terrorists are becoming more sophisticated all the time.”
He noted that working in a smarter way and combining the knowledge and skills are a must.
“We gain through collecting and analysing financial intelligence, especially when we combine it with other intelligence, [and it] enables us to focus in a precise manner on real threats to our society,” he added.