Dhaka, Oct 16 (UNB) – Foreign Minister AH Mahmood Ali will be leading Bangladesh delegation at the 12th Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) summit that will take place on October 18-19 in Brussels, Belgium.
Minister Ali, who is accompanying Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina at the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA), will go to Brussels from Saudi Arabia.
On the sidelines, he will be meeting Danish Prime Minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen and Swiss President Alain Berset, an official told UNB.
Maltese Foreign Minister Carmelo Abela and Portuguese State Secretary for Foreign Affairs Teresa Ribeiro will also call on Bangladesh Foreign Minister, he said.
Inclusive growth and connectivity is on the agenda of the ASEM summit while European Council President Donald Tusk will chair the summit.
The ASEM summit will bring together heads of state or governments of 51 European and Asian countries representatives of the European Union the Secretary General of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).
European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker will also represent the EU at the summit.
Discussions will focus on the theme "Europe and Asia: global partners for global challenges".
Leaders will seek to strengthen dialogue and cooperation between the two continents on a wide range of areas, including trade and investment, connectivity, sustainable development and climate, security challenges such as terrorism, non-proliferation, cyber-security and irregular migration.
The ASEM summit will be followed by the EU-Korea summit and the EU-ASEAN leaders' meeting on October19.
Cox’s Bazar, Oct 16 (UNB) - Population of Ukhiya and Teknaf upazilas in the district has risen to more than 1.5 million people due to the Rohingya influx.
The highly dense population generates 10,000 tons of waste per month and immediate steps should be taken to address the resulting adverse impacts on health and environment, urged speakers at a programme in Cox’s Bazar.
They were talking at the inception meeting of United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)’s project titled “Sustainable Solutions to Solid Waste: A Local Response to the Rohingya Crisis” in the district.
The US$ 4.8 million project, initiated jointly by UNDP and Sweden, aims to introduce a sustainable system for solid waste management in Cox’s Bazar.
The three-year project will contribute to environmental protection, prevention of diseases, promotion of hygiene and proper sanitary standards, income generation for host community and support waste reduction and recycling.
Speaking at the event as the chief guest, Mohammad Abul Kalam, Additional Secretary and the Commissioner, Refugee, Relief and Repatriation Commission (RRRC) said, “Solid waste management is now an urgent need in Cox’s Bazar, considering the pressure caused by the over-population and the massive volume of waste produced daily in the crammed area.”
“Waste can be turned into resources if managed properly. UNDP’s initiative to manage the solid waste is very timely, government is ready to provide all kind of support for that,” he promised.
Sudipto Mukerjee, Country Director, UNDP Bangladesh in his opening remarks said, “Even though Bangladesh has shown enormous generosity by opening its doors to nearly 700,000 refugees, a large multifaceted crisis has also appeared including the aspect of solid waste management, which was overlooked.”
“UNDP with support from Sweden has come forward to respond to that crisis in order to keep Cox’s Bazar clean and free from pollution, and this will the very first project in Cox’s Bazar on solid waste management in line with this year’s World Habitat Day theme, which is Municipal Solid Waste Management ” he added.
Through this project, public health risk and environmental impact will be reduced and at the same time, income generation opportunities will be created for the host community.
It will also change the behaviours and attitudes of host community to improve the way how waste is generated, disposed and managed, said Sudipto.
Marcela Lizana Bobadilla, First Secretary, Embassy of Sweden stressed the importance of developing a waste management system by building proper facilities. “We are glad to be a part of this initiative” Marcela said.
Earlier Faisal Ridwan, Solid Waste Management specialist, UNDP made the keynote presentation.
Among others Mahedul Islam, Additional Deputy Commissioner (General), Cox’s Bazar, Arif Abdullah Khan, Programme Specialist, UNDP and Annika Sandland, Senior Coordinator, ISCG also spoke at the event.
Dhaka, Oct 16 (UNB) – Permanent Representative of Bangladesh to the United Nations Ambassador Masud Bin Momen has said the implementation of 2030 Agenda and Sustainable Development will largely depend on success in halting global climate change and reducing disaster risks.
He laid emphasis on having more focused discussion on climate finance and climate justice to put the world on track to meet pre-2020 ambition and long-term goals of Paris Agreement.
“While we have been making efforts mostly with our own resources, it is essential that our development partners provide financial resources and ensure technology transfer to assist us with respect to mitigation and adaptation and disaster risk reduction,” said the Ambassador.
Ambassador Momen was addressing the plenary of the second committee of the 73rd session of the United Nations General Assembly on Sustainable Development at the UN headquarters in New York on Monday.
He also said they expressed their deep concern over the findings of the IPCC Special Report on Global Warning of 1.5 degree Celsius that warn them about the dangerous consequences that would follow particularly in the areas of poverty eradication, food security and public health if we fail to limit the global warming to 1.5 degree Celsius.
“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 Ambassador Momen.
He said Bangladesh is one of the 10 most climate vulnerable countries in the world. “Climate change poses an existential threat to our 160 million people, although we had hardly contributed to the deterioration of the environment.”
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina reiterated her government’s commitment to the Paris Agreement at the High Level Leaders’ Dialogue convened by the Secretary General and said Bangladesh will never exceed the average per capita emission of the developing world, he added.
Dhaka, Oct 15 (UNB) - Bangladesh has welcomed the joint Turkish-Saudi working group formed to probe the disappearance of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi saying the joint investigation will help remove all the speculations.
“Bangladesh welcomes the proposal by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to form a joint working group with Turkey to investigate the incident,” said Foreign Minister AH Mahmood Ali on Monday.
He said Bangladesh is following the news on the disappearance of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi and hoped that this joint investigation will help remove all the speculations.
Turkish officials investigating the disappearance of Khashoggi will search Saudi Arabia's consulate in Istanbul, the Turkish Foreign Ministry says.
Turkish officials believe Khashoggi was murdered in the consulate by Saudi agents nearly two weeks ago, but Riyadh strongly denies this, reports CNN.
Diplomatic pressure is growing on the Saudi Arabia to give a fuller explanation.
On Monday, Saudi Arabia's King Salman ordered an investigation into the case.
Saudi Arabia has threatened to retaliate for any sanctions imposed against it after President Donald Trump said the oil-rich kingdom deserves “severe punishment” if it is responsible for the disappearance and suspected murder of Washington Post contributor Jamal Khashoggi, reports AP.
Khashoggi has written extensively about Saudi Arabia, criticising its war in Yemen, its recent diplomatic spat with Canada and its arrest of women’s rights activists after the lifting of a ban on women driving.
Dhaka, Oct 15 (UNB) - Bangladesh wants to make sure that the Rohingyas who are expected to return to Myanmar in the first batch of repatriation may have houses and other facilities to live in their own villages.
Foreign Minister AH Mahmood Ali said this as Bangladesh and Myanmar are set to sit later this month to discuss the Rohingya repatriation issues.
“We’ve completed the village-wise verification of 8,000 Rohingyas to know who came from which village. We want to make sure they can start living in houses in their own villages,” he told a press conference here on Monday.
The Foreign Minister mentioned that India has built 250 houses while China is building 1,000 more. “The returnees will first stay at reception centers in Myanmar and then will go to their villages.”
He said they will discuss the issue with the Myanmar side of joint working group at the upcoming meeting.
Myanmar has so far failed to take steps to ensure the safe and sustainable return of Rohingyas to their homeland.
“We’ve taken all the preparations about the next joint working group (JWG) meeting. The meeting is likely to be held on October 30, if not October 28,” an official told UNB.
Members of the JWG from Myanmar side will visit Rohingya camps in Cox's Bazar district.
Officials said Bangladesh will seek updates on what steps are taken for the safe and sustainable return of Rohingyas to their homeland from Bangladesh.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina at the 73rd UN General Assembly made three recommendations for solving the Rohingya crisis at its root, including the abolition of discriminatory laws, policies and practices of Myanmar against the minority group.
According to her second recommendation, Myanmar must create an acceptable environment by building trust and guaranteeing protection, rights and pathway to citizenship for all Rohingyas. If needed, it should create a “safe zone” inside the country to protect all civilians.
Her third recommendation says atrocious crimes against Rohingyas in Myanmar should be prevented by bringing accountability and justice, particularly in the light of recommendations of the Fact-Finding Mission of the UN Human Rights Council.
Foreign Minister AH Mahmood Ali emphasised the need for accelerating efforts to create a conducive environment in northern Rakhine State and build houses and villages for the returnees to facilitate repatriation.
Minister Ali along with joint working group members in August this year visited the northern Rakhine State and saw the trail of widespread devastation suffered by people there, said the Foreign Ministry officials.
The Bangladesh Foreign Minister also visited Shwe Zar village where around 148 prefabricated houses for returnees are being built with assistance from the government of India.
Bangladesh and Myanmar formed the Joint Working Group (JWG) on December 2017 to start repatriating Rohingya refugees by January 23, 2018.