Dhaka, Mar 31 (UNB) - Bhutanese Prime Minister Lotay Tshering on Sunday expressed deep shock and sorrow at the loss of lives in the devastating FR Tower fire at Banani in the city.
The Bhutanese premier offered this condolence in a message sent to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.
Twenty-six people were killed and at least 100 injured in Thursday’s inferno at the 22-storey FR Tower.
Dhaka, Mar 30 (UNB) - Bangladesh has announced 26 PCRS components for the United Nations peacekeeping operations to meet their requirement.
State Minister for Foreign Affairs M Shahriar Alam made the announcement while sharing Bangladesh’s Peacekeeping Capability Readiness System (PCRS) at the 2019 United Nations Peacekeeping Ministerial held at UN headquarters in New York on Friday.
The pledged 26 PCRS components to UN include 9 components from Army,6 from Navy, 3 from Air force and 8 from Police.
Bangladesh is one of the largest contributors to UN peacekeeping operations and it first deployed uniformed personnel to serve with the Organization in 1988 when they were deployed to help monitor the armistice between Iran and Iraq.
Over the past three decades, according to the UN, the contributions of these brave men and women in the countries in which they serve have been immense.
In addition, Bangladesh has also pledged a unit for operational-level Unmanned Aerial Surveillance (UAS) in partnership with the United States.
“We’ve also demonstrated our commitment by contributing to the norms setting part of the peacekeeping including through our active participation in Action forPeacekeeping Agenda and in other parallel processes like C-34,” said the State Minister.
Mentioning the atrocity crimes committed against civilians during our Liberation War in 1971, the Sate Minister said, “We endorsed the Kigali Principles on Protection of Civilians (PoC). We’ve incorporated a strong and comprehensive PoC component in our peacekeeping training with in-builtdemonstration and tabletop exercises.”
Shahriar mentioned Bangladesh’s ‘zero tolerance’ policy to sexual exploitation and abuse in the UNPeacekeeping and reaffirmed Bangladesh’s commitment for increasing the number of femalepeacekeepers to achieve the target set by the UN.
The State Minister saidBangladesh has been supportive to the women, peace and securityagenda of the UN since leading the adoption of the Security Council resolution 1325.
“We’re currently developing a national action plan to empower women in playing their natural role as peacemakers,” he said.
The State Minister stressed on the importance of adequate resources and critical enablers to ensurethe safety and security and also the performances of the peacekeepers. He enumerated Bangladesh’srecent supplies of modern vehicles and other peacekeeping equipments in several UN Mission.
Shahriar highlighted Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s commitment to UN’s Peacekeeping Operation which comes from the Foreign policy guidelines as enshrined in the Constitutionand the vision of our Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman for a peaceful world.
Building on the ongoing efforts to strengthen peacekeeping operations through the Secretary General’s Action for Peacekeeping initiative (A4P) and the previous peacekeeping ministerials and summits in New York (2014), the Leaders’ Summit on Peacekeeping in New York (2015) and the Paris(2016), London (2016), and Vancouver (2017), ‘The 2019 United Nations Peacekeeping Ministerial’ hasbeen convened at the UNHQs.
The Bangladesh delegation to the Peacekeeping Ministerial is composed of senior officials from Bangladesh’s armed forces, Bangladesh’s police and Ministry of Foreign Affairs, according to Permanent Mission of Bangladesh to the United Nations.
Dhaka, Mar 29 (UNB) - Bangladesh has said the international community must support the vulnerable developing countries to climate change with financial resources and appropriate technologies in support of their adaptation efforts.
“The big emitters must go for rapid mitigation of GHGs, and the pledges to mobilize US$ 100 billion annually by 2020 and an ambitious replenishment for the Green Climate Fund in 2019 must be materialized,” said State Minister for Foreign Affairs M Shahriar Alam on Friday in New York.
He made the call at the high-level meeting on "Protection of the Global Climate for Present and Future Generations of Humankind in the Context of the Economic, Social and Environmental Dimensions of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development Trusteeship Council, at UNHQs.
Shahriar said Bangladesh is of the firm view that climate change and sustainable development are interlinked and addressing climate change should be at the heart of the international development discourse.
“We must redouble our efforts for sustainable development. Simultaneously, the decisions of the Cop 24, namely Paris Rulebook, must be adhered to by all the stakeholders,” he said.
Bangladesh is one of the 10 most climate vulnerable countries in the world and the impacts of climate change will put severe stress on Bangladesh's limited land.
The State Minister said they look forward to the September Climate Summit to having more focused actions particularly on climate finance and climate justice which are essential for meeting the long-term goals of the Paris Agreement and the 2030 Agenda.
He mentioned the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development is contingent upon their success in halting global climate change and reduce disaster risks.
“It is high time that we renew our efforts to implement the Paris Agreement and the Sendai Framework to their true letter and spirit,” said the State Minister.
Shahriar said rapid meltdown of the glaciers will dry up our rivers which are basically the catchments of the Himalayan glaciers. “This will impact the fertility of our land leading to desertification.”
He said climate change and sea level rise induced salinity and other disasters are harming our rice and other crop production significantly.
Just 1-degree centigrade increase of global temperature and further sea level rise will result into inundation of a large area of Bangladesh and thus displacement of 40 million people by the end of this century, he said adding that 2 percent of GDP is regularly lost due to natural calamities and environmental degradation.
Hence, the State Minister said, climate change poses an existential threat to over 160 million people in Bangladesh, although it had hardly contributed to the deterioration of the environment.
“Our Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina reiterated her Government’s commitment to the Paris Agreement at different international fora with the utterance that, Bangladesh will never exceed the average per capita emission of the developing world,” he said.
Tackling climate change is directly linked with sustainable development and resilience building.
In line with this perspective, he said, Bangladesh is carrying forward its efforts for sustainable development with specific plans for ‘Carbon budgeting’, ‘de-carbonization of manufacturing pathways’ and low-carbon industrialization.
“Considering multidimensional vulnerabilities posed by climate change and disasters, our Government has recently adopted Delta Plan 2100, which will provide Bangladesh with the sustainable development pathway for the next 100 years.”
The State Minister said Bangladesh is committed to implement its Nationally Determined Contributions in the framework of the Paris Agreement.
“We have mainstreamed climate actions and disaster management in our national planning and sustainable development strategy. Over 1 percent of our GDP is being used to combat climate change,” he said.
The State Minister said Bangladesh is at a critical juncture of its development when it is on the path of graduation from the LDC category.
“In addition to all the challenges we are facing because of climate change, we have been hosting 1.1 million Rohingyas forcibly displaced from the neighbouring Myanmar," he said.
He also said, “This phenomenon is not only impacting our land and environment severely but also our development and adaptation efforts.”
Dhaka, Mar 29 (UNB) - United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Friday said peacekeeping missions are working flat out and need to be made “stronger and safer.”
State Minister for Foreign Affairs M Shahriar Alam attended the event representing Bangladesh.
Addressing a major ministerial pledging conference at UN Headquarters in New York, the UN chief stressed that “critical” gaps must be bridged, so they can deliver better, on behalf of the people they serve.
“Across the decades, our peacekeeping operations have helped countries from Liberia and Sierra Leone to Timor Leste and Cambodia, transition from conflict to peace”, he said at the third key UN Peacekeeping Ministerial meeting, to reaffirm and strengthen commitments to ‘blue helmets’ and others who work in peacekeeping missions across the world.
“But,” he continued, “As conflicts become more complex and high-risk, our operations must keep pace.”
After moment of silence for the 27 UN peacekeepers lost who lost their lives in 2018 and for “all who have died in the service of peace”, he stressed that making missions stronger and safer is a key element of his Action for Peacekeeping (A4P) initiative, along with refocusing peacekeeping with more realistic expectations, and mobilizing greater support for political solutions, according to UN News.
The UN chief thanked the more than 150 governments that have signed the Statement of Shared Commitments so far which, among other things, encompassed advancing political solutions and improving peacekeepers’ safety and security.
“We are already seeing results”, said Guterres, pointing to a “significant reduction” last year in the number of peacekeepers killed, citing as examples the “more agile and more proactive” missions in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and the Central African Republic (CAR); and “for the first time ever”, verified military units on standby, which can be deployed in less than 60 days.
The Secretary-General also highlighted some “critical” gaps in UN missions that must be bridged, such as the urgent need in the Mali mission (MINUSMA), for armored personnel carriers and in CAR (MINUSCA) for 24/7 evacuation helicopters that can operate from remote areas.
Elsewhere, armed utility helicopters are needed; intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance units; quick reaction forces, and airborne medical evacuation teams.
He urged everyone to contribute, with the assurance that “they will be utilized effectively and efficiently”.
Guterres also pushed for triangular partnerships and joint contingents, in which one group of governments provides equipment and training, and another provides troops and police; training to address safety and security challenges; and better equipment and local engagement.
“Women peacekeepers and civilian staff are essential”, he also stressed, flagging that the UN has “almost doubled the number of female staff officers and observers” since the November 2017 ministerial meeting in Vancouver.
However, he noted that so far this year, women account for only four per cent of military peacekeepers, indicating that he would present a new strategy to the Security Council next month to increase the numbers of female uniformed personnel.
“Only our continued strong partnership can help us advance lasting peace and protection for those we serve”, concluded the Secretary-General.
‘Proud to be at the helm of peacekeeping'
Taking the podium, UN peacekeeping chief Jean-Pierre Lacroix said that the more than 110 Member State participants gathered in New York, demonstrated “the deep and widespread commitment to peacekeeping, by Governments across the world”.
He highlighted four priority areas to focus on “how we are fulfilling” A4P commitments, pointing first to the investment being made by the UN in solutions and developing regional peace process strategies.
Citing several examples, such as partnering with the African Union in CAR on the February peace agreement, Lacroix said that “real progress” was being made.
“We cannot achieve lasting peace without our partners” he stressed, appealing for support to political solutions and peace agreement implementation.
Explaining that missions are being reconfigured to be more mobile and proactive, he said there were critical shortfalls, including a lack of helicopters, and other key resources that must be addressed.
Thirdly, he pointed to the link between peacekeepers’ performance and their security, which includes “a renewed commitment” to implementing the concrete recommendations of A4P on improving the security of ‘blue helmets’.
Finally, he outlined the UN’s strong commitment to increasing the number of women peacekeepers and ensuring women’s full and meaningful participation in political processes.
“Increasing the number of women soldiers and police deployed to peacekeeping mission is an operational imperative”, Lacroix underscored, applauding those that have recruited, trained and nominated of female peacekeepers.
The UN peacekeeping chief concluded by thanking the Member States for their “unwavering support”, saying “I am proud to be at the helm of peacekeeping, pride which is mirrored in each and every one of the women and men serving.”
Dhaka, Mar 29 (UNB)– US Ambassador Earl Miller visited Rajshahi to promote his country’s educational and cultural exchanges, economic engagement, and law enforcement cooperation in the region.
During his March 27-29 visit, he inaugurated the new American Corner at Varendra University – one of four in Bangladesh that function as extensions of the American Center in Dhaka.
Miller visited the Varendra Research Museum to see work funded by three grants, totaling $193,000, for architectural and exhibition restoration and preservation through Ambassadors Fund for Cultural Preservation.
He discussed US-funded ‘American English Radio Program’ and met youth leaders working on another US-funded programme to reduce violence among their peers.
Miller also awarded certificates to students participating in the State Department-funded English Access Microscholarship Program, which provides two-year English study and leadership skills to Bangladeshi students aged 13-17.
The ambassador visited the Bangladesh Police Academy and reviewed US-funded programming which has helped train 13,770 law enforcement professionals. He also observed the first Bangladeshi trainer-led emergency first aid course using a new US curriculum.
Miller also met Americans living and working in Rajshahi, and emphasised the role expatriates play in strengthening ties between the US and Bangladesh.
He ended his trip by visiting historic sites, including the Puthia Palace and Rajshahi College.