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.
Dhaka, Mar 29 (UNB) - The European Union (EU) has encouraged the government of Bangladesh to take policy measures in the economic sectors in Bangladesh, including in the building sector like RMG, to ensure safety at workplace.
The EU attaches high importance to safety at the workplace and has been working since 2013 with the authorities of Bangladesh to improve workplace safety in the readymade garment sector.
"The Delegation of the European Union to Bangladesh expresses its deep condolences for the loss of lives from the fire at FR Tower on Kamal Ataturk Avenue at Banani, Dhaka. Our thoughts and prayers are with the families which lost their dear ones," said Konstantinos Vardakis, Chargé d'Affaires at EU Embassy in Dhaka on Friday.
The EU Delegation also wished early recovery of those who have sustained injuries from the fire.
Besides, the United States Embassy community in Dhaka offered their heartfelt condolences to all those affected by the Thursday’s fire in Banani.
"Our prayers are with the families and loved ones of those injured and lost, and to all who mourn in Dhaka and across Bangladesh," US Ambassador in Dhaka Earl R Miller tweeted.
Dhaka, Mar 28 (UNB) - British High Commission in Dhaka celebrated the #Connected Commonwealth here on Wednesday.
British High Commissioner Robert Chatterton Dickson hosted a Commonwealth big lunch at his residence as part of the celebration.
The event brought together young leaders and development practitioners to work towards a more prosperous, secure, sustainable, and bright future, according to British High Commission in Dhaka.
A number of open floor discussions were held around this year’s theme of “fairness”, moderated by subject-matter experts, Banasree Neogi, Gender Advisor, Manusher Jonno Foundation on Gender Equality; Selina Ahmed, Executive Director, Acid Survivors Foundation on Empowerment of Survivors of Sexual, Domestic, or Gender-based Violence; Tahsinah Ahmed, Chief Executive Officer, UCEP (Underprivileged Children’s Educational Programmes) on Equal Opportunity of Education for Girls; Md. Shafiq-ul Islam, Executive Director, CRP (Centre for the Rehabilitation of the Paralysed) and Mohua Paul, Director, Resource Mobilization, Access Bangladesh Foundation on Equal Access to Skills Development and Capacity Building of Persons with Disabilities; Osama Bin Noor, Co-Founder, Youth Opportunities on Equal Work, Business, and Entrepreneurial Opportunity.
The event was also attended by the Bangladesh Women's Cricket team, Bangladeshi Queen’s Young Leaders, British Council's FameLab2019 participants, Commonwealth scholars, and ILP (International Leadership Programme) leaders.
Dhaka, Mar 28 (UNB) - Bangladesh needs to promote energy efficiency, renewable energy, regional power trade and latest technologies, as well as diversify its energy sources to transform and sustain the sector, says Asian Development Bank (ADB).
“Bangladesh has made good progress in energy sector which has direct links to the country’s economic growth, industrialization and people’s development,” said Manmohan Parkash, Country Director for ADB’s Bangladesh Resident Mission at a working group meeting of the Local Consultative Group (LCG) at Bidyut Bhaban here on Thursday.
“Providing last mile connectivity for electricity access, developing proper energy mix by investing in renewables and harnessing regional power trade, establishing a dynamic natural gas pricing and electricity tariff mechanism, attracting private sector investment, and developing the sector in the context of climate change are critical for inclusive and sustainable development.”
“The government and the development partners have collaborated well in the energy sector, but new challenges have emerged, triggering rapid response requirements through enhanced partnership and innovation,” Parkash added.
The discussions at the meeting also focused on industrial development and diversification of industrial base; transforming energy demand patterns based on residential, industrial and transport consumption; and extended regional cooperation in thermal and hydro power generation, among others.
Dr. Ahmad Kaikaus, Senior Secretary, Power Division; Abu Hena Md. Rahmatul Muneem, Secretary, Energy & Mineral Resources Division and other government officials attended the LCG meeting.
Representatives from AFD, AIIB, DFID, EIB, EU, IDB, GIZ, JICA, KfW, USAID, UNDP, World Bank, participated in the meeting among other development partners, according to a media release of ADB.
ADB says it is committed to achieving a prosperous, inclusive, resilient, and sustainable Asia and the Pacific, while sustaining its efforts to eradicate extreme poverty.
In 2018, it made commitments of new loans and grants amounting to $21.6 billion.