Dhaka, Feb 13 (UNB) - US Ambassador to Bangladesh Earl R Miller has said the Ministry of Agriculture and other bodies are working so hard to educate farmers and looking at ways to mitigate pest, including by expediting registrations of new products - especially biological control products - to help farmers control Fall Armyworm.
“I’m pleased the Ministry of Agriculture and other bodies are working so hard to educate farmers….,” said the US envoy who concluded his first tour to Jashore and Khulna, where he visited key USAID agriculture, labour and food assistance programs and met students at Khulna American Corner.
Ambassador Miller, accompanied by USAID Deputy Mission Director Zeinah Salahi, met government officials, community leaders and programme participants during their visit to learn about the impact of USAID’s development work directly from the people, according to USAID.
In Jashore, Ambassador Miller saw how USAID programming is improving agricultural productivity and boosting economic growth, for example by working with private sector partners like Janata Engineering and The Metal Pvt. Ltd.
The US delegation also met flower farmers, who have increased flower production through the introduction of additional flower varieties and improved cultivation techniques, based on training received through USAID programmes.
They met fisheries scientists working to breed the most productive and hardiest strains of native carp species, which will improve food security and increase the economic potential of the region.
Besides, to raise awareness on the threat of Fall Armyworm in Bangladesh, a new pest that can damage various crops, Ambassador Miller discussed the preventive measures with scientists from the Bangladesh Agricultural Research Institute (BARI).
After his meeting, the US Ambassador told the press, “I’m pleased the Ministry of Agriculture and other bodies are working so hard to educate farmers and looking at ways to mitigate this pest, including by expediting registrations of new products - especially biological control products - to help farmers control Fall Armyworm.”
In Khulna, Miller spoke to beneficiaries from Nobo Jatra, a USAID programme for those most impacted by poverty, hunger and natural disasters, and discovered how they are using the technologies they learned from USAID to increase their self-sufficiency in food production.
Later, the delegation visited a shrimp and fish processing plant to learn about the industry and its labor conditions.
Improving labour standards and promoting workers’ rights are both areas that US government believes are critical to the economic and democratic success of a country.
Miller’s visit concluded with a tour of a local Workers’ Community Center supported by USAID.
The site visits were undertaken in collaboration with WordFish, ACDI/VOCA, CIMMYT, Winrock International and World Vision Bangladesh, and other partners, including BARI.
The US government, through USAID, has provided more than $7 billion in development assistance to Bangladesh since 1971.
In 2017, USAID provided over $212 million to improve the lives of people in Bangladesh through programs that expand food security and economic opportunity, improve health and education, promote democratic institutions and practices, protect the environment, and increase resiliency to climate change.
Dhaka, Feb 13 (UNB) - Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s first overseas tour in her third consecutive term in office will further boost Bangladesh’s image abroad as she carries a big example of development, says Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen on Wednesday.
“She has a big example of development in her pocket. I believe the entire international community will want to know how the miracle happened (in Bangladesh),” he told reporters while briefing on Prime Minister’s visit to Germany and the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
The Foreign Minister referred the development spree over the last 10 years in the country and said this maiden foreign visit will have deep importance.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina leaves here for Munich on Thursday morning by a VVIP Biman flight to attend the Munich Security Conference (MSC) 2019 scheduled for February 15-17.
The flight will leave Dhaka at 8:10am with the Prime Minister and her entourage.
The flight is scheduled to reach Munich International Airport, Germany at 1:15pm (local time). Ambassador of Bangladesh to Germany Imtiaz Ahmed will receive her at the airport. She will also visit the UAE from Germany.
The Foreign Minister said they are expecting bilateral meetings with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and other global leaders during her visit to Germany.
Dr Momen said two MoUs on investment are likely to be signed during Prime Minister’s UAE visit.
One of the MoUs will be signed between the private office of Sheikh Ahmed Dalmook Al Maktoum and Bangladesh Power Development Board (BPDB) for undertaking projects on the development of Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) Terminal, Power Plant and any other projects of mutual interest, he said.
Another MoU will be signed between the private office of Sheikh Ahmed Dalmook Al Maktoum and Bangladesh Investment Development Authority (BIDA) for setting up a Special Economic Zone in Matarbari on 300 acres of land.
Expanding the existing trade and investment relations between Bangladesh and the UAE is the purpose of Prime Minister’s visit to the UAE, Dr Momen said.
The Foreign Minister said the current foreign investment flow into Bangladesh is enough but the country needs more investment for its further development.
He, however, laid emphasis on diversity of investment saying Bangladesh seeks investment from various countries instead of getting it from a single one which will help strengthen the future of Bangladesh.
“We want to take full advantage of what the UAE offers,” said the Foreign Minister mentioning Bangladesh is focusing on economic diplomacy.
He also said they will also have meetings with big companies in Germany to get more engagements as Bangladesh is giving much importance to economic aspects.
Foreign Secretary M Shahidul Haque, who was present at the briefing, said many avenues will open and there will be in-depth discussions. “We’re expecting a very warm welcome in the UAE.”
On Thursday, the Prime Minister will attend a community reception at Hotel Sheraton Munich Arabella Park to be given by the European Awami League.
On Friday morning, she will attend the health security roundtable titled ‘Health in Crisis – WHO Cares?! ’to be hosted by MSC, Centre for Strategies and International Studies, and WHO at Hotel Bayerischer Hof.
Executive Director of The International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons Beatrice Fihn and Chief Prosecutor of the ICC Dr. Bensouda will call on her separately after the event.
In the afternoon, Sheikh Hasina will attend the opening ceremony of the MSC at the Conference Hall of Hotel Bayerischer Hof.
After the ceremony, President and CEO of the Siemens AG Joe Kaeser and CEO of the Veridos Hans Wolfgang Kunz will call on her separately.
Later, she will attend the dinner to be hosted by President of the World Economic Forum and CEO of Jigsaw Borge Brende Jared Cohen at Galerie Schüller of the Hotel Bayerischer Hof.
On Saturday afternoon, the Prime Minister will join in a panel discussion on ‘Climate Change as a Security Threat’ at the Conference Hall of the Bayerischer Hof.
At 9:40pm (local time) on the same day, she will depart Munich International Airport for Abu Dhabi by Etihad Airlines to attend the International Defence Exhibition (IDEX-2019). Ambassador of Bangladesh to Germany Imtiaz Ahmed will see her off at the airport.
The Prime Minister will arrive at Abu Dhabi International Airport, Abu Dhabi at 6:45 am where she will be received by Ambassador to the UAE Mohammad Imran.
Hasina will attend the Opening Session of the International Defence Exhibition (IDEX-2019) at Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre (ADNEC) at 10am.
She will hold a meeting with Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed bin Sultan Al-Nahyan.
The Prime Minister will hold a bilateral meeting with Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of the Emirate of Dubai Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum.
Later, she will attend a dinner programme to be hosted by the Bangladesh Ambassador to the UAE.
On Monday afternoon, the Prime Minister will take audience with the Wife of Late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, the Founder and the Inaugural President of the UAE and Ruler of Abu Dhabi, Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak Al Ketbi at Al Bahar Palace.
Later, she will attend a community event at the Ball Room of the St Regis Abu Dhabi.
On Wednesday (early hours), the Prime Minister will fly from Abu Dhabi International Airport for Dhaka by a VVIP flight of Biman Bangladesh Airlines. Ambassador to the UAE Mohammad Imran will see her off at the airport.
The Prime Minister will arrive in Dhaka at 7am on the same day.
Dhaka, Feb 13 (UNB) – Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen on Wednesday said Bangladesh has given shelter to huge Rohingyas on humanitarian ground by opening its border and now it can tell other countries to help Rohingyas the same way.
“At this stage, we think we’ve taken enough people (Rohingyas). So, we can also tell others to help,” he said adding that there are 193 countries in the world that are members of the United Nations (UN).
Foreign Minister Dr Momen mentioned that Bangladesh is one of the most densely populated countries and he wants to see whether the UN refugee agency – UNHCR – can convince other countries.
He came up with Bangladesh position on Rohingya issue while briefing the media on Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s visit to Germany and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
On February 8, the UNHCR called on the Bangladesh authorities to continue to allow people fleeing violence in Myanmar to seek safety in Bangladesh.
The UNHCR also offered its support to the government of Bangladesh to assess and respond to the needs of people who have arrived seeking safety from violence in Myanmar.
Bangladesh is now hosting around 1.3 million Rohingyas and received more than 720,000 Rohingyas from Myanmar since August 2017.
During his Bangladesh visit last year, United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres applauded Bangladesh for giving a safe haven to hundreds of thousands of Rohingyas driven from their homes in Myanmar by systematic and widespread violence.
“In a world where so many borders are closed, [the people and government of Bangladesh] have opened their borders and received their brothers and sisters coming from Myanmar and from the terrible events there,” said Guterres here before wrapping up his Bangladesh visit.
Responding to a question, Minister Dr Momen said they are working to find a solution to Rohingya crisis. “You know, we know too, where the solution got stuck.”
He said their efforts will be there to raise the issue in all discussions in international forums and they expect a wider support so that they can resolve the issue.
Referring to Albert Einstein, Dr Momen said if problem is known, solution will not be difficult.
He said the solution will be very simple if the problem is identified correctly. “We’ve identified the problem. InshAllah, we’ll find out the solution, too.”
On Myanmar’s continuous attempt of instigation, the Foreign Minister said they sometimes instigate but this is good news that they accept it easily when Bangladesh talked about corrective measures on their propaganda.
“It’s a good sign, very positive sign. We want to build our relationship based on these good signs,” said Dr Momen.
He said issues related to the Rohingya crisis and regional security will be discussed in various speaking slots kept for Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and other heads of government at the Munich Security Conference 2019.
Foreign Secretary M Shahidul Haque and senior officials were present at the press conference.
Dhaka, Feb 12 (UNB) – Over one billion young people, aged 12-35 years, risk irreversible hearing loss from exposure to loud sounds such as music played on their smartphone, UN health experts said on Tuesday, unveiling new guidelines to help address the problem.
The recommendations to prevent noise-induced hearing loss and related conditions such as tinnitus – commonly experienced as a ringing sound inside the ear - include better functions on personal audio devices that monitor how loud, and for how long, people listen to music.
“Over a billion young people are at risk of hearing loss simply by doing what they really enjoy doing a lot, which is listening regularly to music through their headphones over their devices,” said Dr Shelly Chadha, a Technical Officer, working on preventing deafness and hearing loss, at WHO.
“At the moment, we don’t really have anything solid other than our instinct to tell us: are we doing this right, or is this something that is going to lead to tinnitus and hearing loss a few years down the line?” she said.
The joint World Health Organization (WHO) and International Telecommunications Union (ITU) initiative is an attempt to tackle the lack of awareness about what constitutes too much noise, amid data showing that around 50 per cent of young people listen to unsafe levels of sound through personal audio devices including smartphones, whose use continues to grow globally.
Today, hearing loss which is not addressed is estimated to cost the global economy $750 million, UN news center reported quoting WHO.
“Think of it like driving on a highway but without a speedometre in your car or a speed limit,” Dr Chadha explained. “And what we have proposed is that your smartphone comes fitted with a speedometer, with a measurement system that tells you how much sound you’re getting and tells you if you’re going over the limit.”
A parental volume control option is also included in the UN recommendations to industry, which participated in two-years of discussions, along with experts from government, consumer bodies and civil society.
The guidelines also propose using technology to generate individualized listener profiles by monitoring how much people use their audio devices, then letting them know how safely – or not – they have been listening.
“What we propose are certain features like automatic limiting of, or automatic volume reduction and parental control of the volume,” explained Dr Chadha. “So that when somebody goes over their sound limit they have the option that the device will automatically reduce the volume to a level which is not going to harm their ears.”
According to the WHO, more than one in 20 people – 432 million adults and 34 million children – has disabling hearing loss, which impacts on their quality of life.
Most sufferers live in poor and middle-income countries, the UN agency notes, adding that by 2050, more than 900 million people will have significantly impaired hearing.
Around half of all cases of hearing loss could be prevented through public health measures, WHO insists, its recommendations coming ahead of World Hearing Day on Sunday 3 March.
“Given that we have the technological know-how to prevent hearing loss, it should not be the case that so many young people continue to damage their hearing while listening to music,” said Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General.
“They must understand that once they lose their hearing, it won’t come back.”
Dhaka, Feb 12 (UNB)- The Cox’s Bazar CSOs & NGOs Forum, or CCNF, a network of around 50 local NGOs and CSOs working in Cox’s Bazar district, and COAST Trust, an NGO working in coastal areas all having a Rohingya response project, held a joint press conference at the National Press Club to criticize the Joint Response Plan 2019 (JRP 2019) for dealing with the Rohingya crisis.
It may be mentioned here that the JRP 2019 was prepared by the Inter Sectoral Coordination Group (ISCG), another umbrella group of similar organizations including international ones working on Rohingya response, that was convened by the International Organization for Migration, or IOM.
They mentioned that it is far short of the required level of participation of local government and NGOs, that it is not conflict and security sensitive, hardly transparent on aid, and provides very little on the way forward toward localization.
The press conference was presided by CCNF Co Chair and Executive Director COAST Trust Mr Rezaul Karim Chowdhury, Mr Abu Morshed Chowdhury another Co Chair and Executive Director PHALS Coxsbazar read out and explained the position paper, other speakers of the press conference were Mr Nayeem Gowhar Warha of Disaster Forum, Mr Rafiqul Islam, Director of Federation of NGOs in Bangladesh. Mr Mostafa Kamal Akhanda, Assitant Director COAST Trust made the welcome address. The press conference was also attended by Mr Tanvir Ahmed from NIRAPOD.
Mr Abu Morshed Chowdhury said that now there are incidents of conflict arising between the refugees and the local community and also there are security concerns from different dimensions but the JRP 2019 is overwhelmingly biased and business as usual to service delivery. It should give importance to peaceful co-existence and social cohesion.
CCNF and COAST Trust circulated a position paper in the press conference, which outlines 6 specific demands, which are (i) all UN agencies and INGOs must have localization policies, and they should accommodate the local NGOs first in partnership, (ii) they should also prepare conflict of interest policy for their national staff so that they will not be able to influence the partnership process, (iii) there must be a complaint response mechanism open for all stakeholders, (iv) there should be participation and accountability policy toward the Rohingya, (v) 70 percent field operation and service staff jobs should be for local but with competition and quality, and (vi) there should not be any head hunting, all job circulars should be publish in Cox’s Bazar, there should be an ethical recruitment policy and a common salary framework has to be prepared and followed.