Dhaka, Sept 13 (UNB) - Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen has invited German and French companies to invest more in Bangladesh, particularly in Special Economic Zones (SEZs) and High-tech Parks being developed by the government.
They are being encouraged to take advantage of the country’s strategic location, demographic dividend, special incentive package for foreign direct investment (FDI) and a huge domestic market.
Apart from RMG sector, the Foreign Minister particularly highlighted ICT and agro-based industries as potential sectors for further investment and trade.
Dr Momen made the call when a cross-sectoral delegation from German Asia-Pacific Business Association (OAV), headed by Peter Clasen, Managing Partner, WILHEM G CLASEN GmbH & Co KG, called on him on Thursday afternoon.
Foreign Minister Momen is slated to visit France and Germany next month where he will, among others, meet his counterparts and business leaders, the Foreign Ministry said.
In France, he will attend an Economic Forum to be organised by the French Senate.
OAV, with around 500 member companies, is a renowned German Platform for exchanging knowledge and experience across different industries, and offer members, operating in or in cooperation with Asia, practical and comprehensive services.
Earlier in the day, new French Ambassador to Bangladesh Jean-Marin SCHUH paid a courtesy call on the Foreign Minister at his office.
In both meetings, Foreign Minister Momen highlighted Bangladesh’s tremendous socio-economic developments, particularly during the last one decade in light of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s Vision 2021 and Vision 2041 that envisages the transformation of Bangladesh into ‘Sonar Bangla’ or Golden Bengal as dreamt by Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.
The Foreign Minister expressed his deep appreciation for German technology and asked for greater cooperation in knowledge, innovation and technology transfer.
He also highlighted Bangladesh’s E-passport project being implemented in cooperation with German company Veridos GmbH and a Joint Development Agreement in the power generation and distribution sector in Bangladesh initiated with Siemens AG.
German Ambassador to Bangladesh Peter Fahrenholtz was also present in the meeting.
During the meeting with the French Ambassador, Dr Momen expressed satisfaction over the excellent bilateral relations between the two countries and touched upon various bilateral trade and investment issues, including the Bangabandhu Satellite which was built by French company Thales Alenia Space.
Dhaka, Sept 12 (UNB) - United Nation’s trade chief has said climate change poses an “existential threat to commodity-dependent developing countries” and highlighted the need to diversify economies and exports.
The UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD)’s Commodities and Development Report 2019, maintains that diversification could be either “horizontal”, meaning venturing into new goods and sectors to reduce dependence on a narrow range of commodities – or vertical, which involves increasing a commodity’s value.
“The climate crisis…will result in the collapse of some economies if decisive action is not taken now,” UNCTAD Secretary-General Mukhisa Kituyi stressed on Wednesday.
“Now more than ever before, these countries need to assess their diversification potential and reduce their commodity dependence, which for decades has kept them exposed to volatile markets and climate change.”
According to the report, a successful diversification strategy will mostly likely involve a combination of horizontal policies, such education and health investments, and targeted measures to promote promising sectors.
The climate crisis puts commodity-dependent developing countries most at risk because their economies depend on sectors which are highly exposed to extreme weather events, UN News said quoting the report.
Small Island Developing States (SIDS) are among the worst affected, as are crop and fisheries production, which historically exist in low-latitude regions – where most commodity-dependent developing countries are located.
The report underscores that the high risk faced by these countries reinforces their need to adapt, diversify and modernise their economies.
But the report maintains that tackling climate change presents some opportunities to these countries, such as boosting production of alternatives to cattle meat and milk.
Besides, according to the report, the quest for climate mitigation and adaptation has spurred investments in technological innovations that could benefit these countries; for example, solar photovoltaic cells, which could bolster energy security and support commodity sectors in remote areas not connected to national power grids.
Bringing Paris Agreement home
The report echoes experts’ warnings that commitments made by countries to mitigate climate change under the Paris Agreement are not ambitious enough but must instead be quadrupled to limit global temperature rise to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels.
For this, stronger political will and greater mobilisation of financial and human resources are necessary.
The report underlines that climate-related funding, which is currently only a fraction of actual requirements, needs to be substantially scaled up given the high cost of climate mitigation and adaptation.
In addition, greening fiscal policies can help ensure that taxes, subsidies and similar policy instruments assist in implementing action plans that would also work toward achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Climate actions need to be strengthened, including by building technical and regulatory capacities for institutions to implement more effective policies, and the report suggests reforming fossil fuel subsidies to further green fiscal policies.
Finally, developed countries need to meet their commitment under the Paris Agreement to transfer environmentally friendly technologies to developing countries to help them effectively participate in global efforts to mitigate and adapt.
Dhaka, Sept 11 (UNB) - The Inter Sector Coordination Group (ISCG) partners – UN agencies working in support of the government of Bangladesh -- are assisting thousands in the host community and Rohingya refugee camps who have been impacted by severe rain and winds that have continued to batter Cox’s Bazar since Saturday.
While no injuries have been reported in the camps, the past 48 hours have seen 15 landslides, 25 wind/rainstorms, and five flooding incidents, causing temporary displacement of 14,801 individuals from 4,543 households, partial damage to 427 shelters and complete destruction of 66 shelters.
An estimated 16,190 individuals from 4,842 households have been affected by the flooding, said UNHCR on Wednesday.
In Teknaf, two Bangladeshi children have reportedly been killed and 10 people have been injured following a landslide, it said.
Cox’s Bazar district experiences some of the highest annual rainfall in Bangladesh, where landslides, floods, winds and waterlogging commonly occur.
“The rain and wind are endangering lives and causing hardship on the ground and our teams are working around the clock to provide emergency services, repairs and relocations. While we are responding to the immediate effects of the rains, we remain focused on long-term disaster management and risk mitigation," said IOM Bangladesh Deputy Chief of Mission Manuel Pereira.
On Tuesday, approximately 4,000 households were displaced due to the rainfall in Camp 26 alone in the Teknaf, which was worst affected. Some were relocated on an emergency basis to 15 designated safe havens/communal facilities to ensure their immediate safety, while others moved with extended family.
UNHCR protection staff and partners are working to ensure that all refugees are safely accounted for and are reuniting separated family members.
Shelter, food and access to clean drinking water are being provided.
“We are working closely with partners and the government authorities to assist affected families. We also acknowledge the efforts of refugees themselves as well as the host community, who are at the centre of the response”, said Marin
Din Kajdomcaj, UNHCR Head of Office in Cox’s Bazar.
“We have trained some 3,000 refugees so they can respond to emergencies and reduce the risks faced by the community in disasters,” he said.
In the past couple of days, humanitarian agencies have distributed shelter kits, hot meals, and high-energy biscuits to families impacted by the storms. “WFP is well prepared for emergency situations such as this and we have assisted 12,500 people with extra food distributions including 6,000 hot meals and 6,500 boxes of high-energy biscuits.”
Only 38 percent of the response is funded, compromising essential services and the health and wellbeing of both the Rohingya and host community population,” said Nicole Epting, ISCG Senior Coordinator.
ISCG partners – the UN and NGOs – are continuing to monitor weather and assist affected communities as needed.
With rains expected to continue, engineers are concerned about worsening damage to paths, bridges and drainage systems if conditions do not improve.
Dhaka, Sept 11 (UNB) - World leaders, including a delegation from Bangladesh, will participate in the UN Climate Action Summit 2019 on September 23 in response to the UN Secretary-General’s call.
The UN chief’s call came as global emissions are reaching record levels and show no sign of peaking, said the UN Information Centre in Dhaka.
The last four years were the four hottest on record, and winter temperatures in the Arctic have risen by 3°C since 1990, according to UNIC.
Sea levels are rising, coral reefs are dying, and the world started seeing the life-threatening impact of climate change on health, through air pollution, heat waves and risks to food security.
The impacts of climate change are being felt everywhere and are having very real consequences on people’s lives.
Climate change is disrupting national economies, costing the world dearly today and even more tomorrow.
But there is a growing recognition that affordable, scalable solutions are available now that will enable all to leapfrog to cleaner, more resilient economies.
The latest analysis shows that if the world acts now, it can reduce carbon emissions within 12 years and hold the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2°C and even, as asked by the latest science, to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels.
UN Secretary-General António Guterres is calling on all leaders to come to New York on September 23 with concrete, realistic plans to enhance their nationally-determined contributions by 2020 in line with reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 45 percent over the next decade, and to net zero emissions by 2050.
“I want to hear about how we are going to stop the increase in emissions by 2020, and dramatically reduce emissions to reach net-zero emissions by mid-century,” said Antonio Guterres.
The Summit will bring together governments, the private sector, civil society, local authorities and other international organizations to develop ambitious solutions in six areas: a global transition to renewable energy; sustainable and resilient infrastructures and cities; sustainable agriculture and management of forests and oceans; resilience and adaptation to climate impacts; and alignment of public and private finance with a net zero economy.
Business is on our side
Accelerated climate solutions can strengthen economies and create jobs, while bringing cleaner air, preserving natural habitats and biodiversity, and protecting our environment, said the UN.
New technologies and engineering solutions are already delivering energy at a lower cost than the fossil-fuel driven economy.
Solar and onshore wind are now the cheapest sources of new bulk power in virtually all major economies.
Dhaka, Sept 11 (UNB) - Prime Minister Boris Johnson has unveiled plans to transform how talented international students are able build successful careers in the UK through a new immigration route.
International students make up half of all full-time post-graduate students in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) subjects.
The new immigration route, announced Wednesday, will mean international graduates in any subject, including STEM, will be able to stay in the UK for two years to find work, said the British High Commission in Dhaka.
Students will need to have successfully completed a degree from a trusted UK university or higher education provider which has a proven track record in upholding immigration checks and other rules on studying in the UK.
This will build on government action to help recruit and retain the best and brightest global talent. It will also open up opportunities for future breakthroughs in science, technology and research and other world-leading work that international talent brings to the UK.
One example of pioneering research and international collaboration in the UK is the world’s largest genetics project, the £200 million whole genome sequencing project of all volunteers in the UK Biobank.
The new project aims to improve the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of a wide range of serious and life-threatening illnesses.
The partnership of pharmaceutical firms and health experts from the UK and abroad will examine and sequence the genetic code of 500,000 volunteers at the UK Biobank.
This sits alongside the work by Genomics England in partnership with NHS England on the 100,000 Genomes Project.
Johnson said Britain has a proud history of putting itself at the heart of international collaboration and discovery.
“Over 60 years ago, we saw the discovery of DNA in Cambridge by a team of international researchers and today we’re going even further. Now we’re bringing together experts from around the globe to work in the UK on the world’s largest genetics research project set to help us better treat life-threatening illnesses and ultimately save lives,” he said.
The British Prime Minister said breakthroughs of this kind would not be possible without being open to the brightest and the best from across the globe to study and work in the UK.
“That’s why we’re unveiling a new route for international students to unlock their potential and start their careers in the UK,” he said.