Dhaka, Sept 18 (UNB) - A team of the Philippines government and United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) visited Narayanganj City Corporation on Wednesday to learn and share experiences from the two countries in reducing urban poverty using digital platforms.
The team comprised of the Resident Representative of UNDP Philippines, Titon Mitra; Senior Policy Advisor, UNDP Philippines, Andrew Parker; Technical Assistant, Ministry of Interior and Local Government, Philippines, Fausiah Abdula, and Mohammad Nor Abdullah Anggie from the same ministry.
The delegation met NCC Mayor Dr Salina Hayat Ivy and discussed UNDP’s initiative on urban poverty reduction, “Livelihoods Improvement of Urban Poor Communities Project (LIUPC)”.
Ashekur Rahman, Head of Poverty and Urbanization of UNDP Bangladesh, presented the keynote paper on LIUPC, according to a UNDP media release.
While sharing her experiences, Ivy said the project is helping the poor, particularly women, to get elevated from poverty. “It’s also helping me get closer to the people of my city corporation.”
She thanked UNDP for this initiative and hoped it will be expanded across the country.
Titon Mitra, Resident Representative of UNDP Philippines, shared their country’s experience of using digital tools to address urban poverty.
Among others, Ashraful Amin from Access to Information (a2i) programme was present and shared a2i’s initiatives to use digital tools.
Later, the delegation visited LIUPC project's sites and Union Parishad Digital Centre of Boktaboli Union at Fatullah in Narayanganj.
Dhaka, Sept 18 (UNB) - The government has appointed Rabab Fatima, current Ambassador of Bangladesh to Japan, as the new Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Bangladesh to the United Nations in New York.
Ambassador Rabab Fatima is a career foreign service officer belonging to 1986 batch of Bangladesh Civil Service (BCS) Foreign Affairs cadre, said the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Wednesday.
In her diplomatic career, Fatima worked in various capacities in Bangladesh missions in New York, Geneva, Kolkata and Beijing.
At the headquarters, she served in various capacities primarily in the United Nations Wing, according to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs here.
Ambassador Fatima served in lien with two international organisations, namely, the Commonwealth Secretariat, London, as Head of Human Rights (2006-2007); and with the International Organization for Migration as the Regional Representative for South Asia, Dhaka (2007-2011) and as the Regional Coordinator and Adviser for South and South West Asia and Regional Adviser for Climate Change and Migration in IOM’s Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific, Bangkok (2012-2015).
She obtained her Masters in International Relations and Diplomacy from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University, USA.
Fatima is married to fellow diplomat, Kazi Imtiaz Hossain, currently serving as the Ambassador of Bangladesh to France.
Dhaka, Sept 18 (UNB) – The Unicef on Wednesday said worsening climate crisis, protracted conflicts, a rising level of mental illness among young people, and online misinformation are some of the most concerning emerging global threats to children.
The Unicef conveyed it in an open letter issued by the organisation’s Executive Director Henrietta Fore.
In addition to the existing threats to young people, such as access to education, poverty, inequality and discrimination, the inaugural letter warns of emerging threats to children’s rights, and outlines a path to stepping up efforts to address them.
The letter was issued as part of Unicef’s commemoration of the 30th anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of a Child – the world’s most widely ratified human rights treaty.
“And your generation, the children of today, are facing a new set of challenges and global shifts that were unimaginable to your parents,” writes Fore.
“Our climate is changing beyond recognition. Inequality is deepening. Technology is transforming how we perceive the world. And more families are migrating than ever before. Childhood has changed, and we need to change our approaches along with it.”
The letter outlines eight growing challenges for the world’s children – prolonged conflicts; pollution and climate crisis; a decline in mental health; mass migration and population movements; statelessness; future skills for future work; data rights and online privacy; and online misinformation.
On conflict, the letter notes that the number of countries experiencing conflict is the highest since the adoption of the Child Rights Convention in 1989. One in four children is living in countries affected by violent fighting or disaster.
On climate change, the letter warns that children are already having to contend with rampant destruction to the planet and a global climate crisis that has the potential to undermine most of the gains made in child survival and development over the past three decades.
The rise in extreme weather patterns and toxic air, prolonged drought and flash floods are all part of this crisis, and are disproportionally affecting the poorest, most vulnerable children.
Unicef said it is working to mitigate the impact of the climate crisis and notes that more must be done.
“Governments and business must work hand in hand to reduce fossil fuel consumption, develop cleaner agricultural, industrial and transport systems and invest in scaling renewable energy sources,” writes Fore.
The letter also expresses concern that the majority of children will grow up as natives of a digital environment saturated with online misinformation.
The letter warns that an online environment where truth can become indistinguishable from fiction has the potential to totally undermine trust in institutions and information sources, and has been demonstrated to skew democratic debate, voter intentions, and sow doubt about other ethnic, religious or social groups.
The letter warns that online misinformation is already leaving children vulnerable to grooming, abuse, and other forms of exploitation. The results of which could be the creation of an entire generation of citizens who do not trust anything.
Unicef has been piloting media literacy programme to teach young people about spotting misinformation online, how to fact check online content, and the roles and techniques of responsible journalism.
“We can no longer rest on the naïve assurance that truth has an innate upper hand against falsehood in the digital era, and so we must, as societies, build resilience against the daily deluge of falsity online,” writes Fore.
“We should start by equipping young people with the ability to understand who and what they can trust online, so they can become active, engaged citizens.”
On mental health, the letter cautions that mental illness among adolescents has been on the rise in the years since the adoption of the CRC, and that depression is now among the leading causes of disability in the young.
The letter urges that appropriate promotion, prevention and therapeutic treatment and rehabilitation for children and young people affected by mental health issues be prioritised, and that the stigma and taboo surrounding mental illness be challenged so that treatment can be sought and support provided.
Finally, the letter recognises that children and young people have already created movements across the world in search of solutions to overcome the challenges they – and their peers – face, and calls for world leaders to follow their lead.
“Children and young people of today are taking the lead on demanding urgent action, and empowering yourselves to learn about, and shape the world around you,” writes Fore. “You are taking a stand now, and we are listening.”
Dhaka, Sept 18 (UNB) - Bangladesh will seek expeditious global efforts to repatriate Rohingyas to their place of origin in Rakhine State as the Rohingya issue will come up for discussions during the 74th session of the UN General Assembly.
“Bangladesh’s stronger voice and participation in the UNGA is extremely essential to put international pressure on Myanmar to expedite the repatriation process,” Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen told a media briefing at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Wednesday afternoon.
Briefing about Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's participation in the UNGA and high-level meetings on various issues, he said the five-point and reiterated three-point proposals made by Prime Minister Hasina at the 72nd and 73rd UNGAs, are still relevant to find a solution to the Rohingya crisis.
The Prime Minister might place new proposals to find the solution to Rohingya crisis, he said adding that those proposals will come up in a stronger way.
The Foreign Minister also hinted holding a meeting with China and Myanmar on the repatriation of Rohingyas on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly.
The meeting might take place on September 24 or 25, officials said.
Dr Momen said China is supporting Bangladesh’s proposals over Rohingya repatriation process and their efforts are visible now. “We’re hopeful of a peaceful solution.”
The Prime Minister, according to her itinerary, will leave Dhaka for New York on Friday afternoon. The Foreign Minister, the ministers of relevant ministries and the State Minister for Foreign Affairs among others will accompany her.
A Biman Bangladesh Airlines special flight is scheduled to leave Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport at 3:25pm and land at Abu Dhabi International Airport in the UAE at 6:30pm (local time).
On September 22, the Prime Minister will depart from Abu Dhabi International Airport for John F Kennedy International Airport at 10:30am (local time) by Etihad Airways.
She will arrive at John F Kennedy International Airport at 4:25pm (local time). Mohammad Ziauddin, the Bangladesh Ambassador to the USA, and Masud Bin Momen, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Bangladesh to the UN, will welcome her.
On September 23 (Monday), Sheikh Hasina will co-chair the multi-stakeholder panel to be held in parallel to the High-level meeting on Universal Health Coverage at ECOSOC Chamber. Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez will also attend as the co-chair.
The theme of the panel is UHC as driver of equity, inclusive development and prosperity for all.
She might deliver a national statement at the plenary session of the high-level meeting on Universal Health Coverage at the Trusteeship Council, deliver a statement at the Climate Action Summit on the theme ‘Climate Action Summit 2019: A Race We Can Win: A Race We Must Win' at General Assembly Hall and attend Recognising Political Leadership for Immunisation in Bangladesh organised by GAVI at Conference Room 1 in the UNHQ.
On September 24, the Prime Minister will hold a bilateral meeting with her Indian counterpart Narendra Modi at the Kennedy Room, Lotte New York Palace Hotel.
She will have a meeting with Queen Maxima, UN Secretary-General's Special Advocate for Inclusive Finance for Development, at UNHQ Booth, attend a side-event to be hosted by Global Commission on Adaptation at Conference Room 7, UNHQ, State Luncheon hosted by the UN Secretary General at North Delegate’s Lounge.
She will also attend the high-level side-event on the situation of Rohingya minority in Myanmar, organised by the Permanent Mission of Bangladesh and the OIC Secretariat at Conference Room 11 at UN HQ, Leadership Matters- Relevance of Mahatma Gandhi in the Contemporary World at ECOSOC Chamber, UNHQ and the Reception by the President of the United States, Donald Trump at Lotte New York Palace Hotel.
On Wednesday, Sheikh Hasina will co-moderate leader’s dialogue 4 on “Localising the SDGs” at the High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (SDGs summit) at the Trusteeship Council and 'A conversation with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, Interactive Dialogue at Council on Foreign Relations.
On the same day, she will likely hold a meeting with former Australian prime minister and Chair, Sanitation and Water for All Kevin Rudd at Bilateral Meeting Room, Lotte New York Palace Hotel. She will also attend the dinner at the Bangladesh House.
On September 26, the Prime Minister will have meetings with Alex V Volkov, Chairman, ExxonMobil LNG Market Development Inc at the Bilateral Meeting Room, Lotte New York Palace Hotel, Irina Bokova at the Bilateral Meeting Room, Lotte New York Palace Hotel, Bill Gates, Co-Chair, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, at the Bilateral Meeting Room, Lotte New York Palace Hotel, ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda at the Bilateral Meeting Room, Lotte New York Palace Hotel and attend Luncheon Roundtable Meeting, organised by the US Chamber of Commerce at the Holmes, Lotte New York Palace.
She will also be present in the event 'An evening with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina' organised by Unicef at the Labouisse Hall, Unicef House.
On Friday, Sheikh Hasina will attend the high-level side-event on “Sustainable Universal Health Coverage: Comprehensive Primary care inclusive of mental health and disabilities” organised by the Permanent Mission of Bangladesh at the Conference Room 1, UNHQ and address the 74th Session of the General Assembly, General Debate.
She is scheduled to attend a press briefing at the Permanent Mission of Bangladesh in New York on the morning of September 28.
The Prime Minister will attend a reception accorded to her by the Bangladesh community in New York at Hotel Marriott Marquis in the afternoon.
She will have a bilateral meeting with UN Secretary General António Guterres at the UN Secretariat in the evening.
On September 29, the Prime Minister will leave New York for Dhaka via Abu Dhabi by Etihad Airways at 9pm.
Bangladesh Ambassador to USA Ziauddin and Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Bangladesh to UN Masud Bin Momen will see her off at the JFK International Airport.
She will arrive at Abu Dhbai International Airport at 8pm (local time) on September 30. From there, she will leave for Dhaka at 10:45pm by Biman Bangladesh Airlines’ Special Flight.
The Prime Minister is scheduled to reach home at 5:35am on October 1.
Dhaka, Sept 18 (UNB) - Outgoing Japanese Ambassador to Bangladesh Hiroyasu Izumi has said Rohingya issue is not an isolated phenomenon, rather deeply related with growing nationalistic political trend and the world must find a solution for Rohingyas.
“It goes without saying that the Rohingyas are also victims of prevailing egocentric nationalism or populism. Of course, I believe the world can never be a jungle,” he said, adding that the civilised world
must find a sustainable solution to bring justice to Rohingyas.
The Japanese envoy was addressing his farewell reception at his residence on Tuesday evening. Prime Minister’s Foreign Affairs Adviser Dr Gowher Rizvi also spoke at the programme.
The Japanese envoy recalled that he had an opportunity to join a diplomatic tour to Cox’s Bazar Rohingya camp just three days after his arrival here.
“It was a rainy day and the camp was so muddy, and the paintings that children drew were only in red, grey and black colors,” said the Ambassador who is scheduled to leave Dhaka on Thursday after completing his two-year tenure in Bangladesh.
Since then, he has visited the camp more than 10 times and witnessed a rapid growth and development in the camp.
The Ambassador said the camp still has to deal with old problems and new problems are waiting to be solved.
Despite various challenges, Ambassador Izumi said the drawings of the Rohingya children are now full of rainbow colors.
He deeply appreciated Bangladesh’s humanitarian response to the crisis.
“Bangladesh never built a fence on the border to block the Rohingyas, or never forcibly sent them back to the country where they came from, but on the contrary, willingly shared food with them and has tried to solve this difficult situation through diplomatic negotiations in a peaceful manner,” he said.
Observing the Rohingya crisis, he remembered the words of renowned British diplomat and author Edward Hallet Carr mentioned in his book “The Twenty Years Crisis”, in which he described the period between the World War One and Two.
“To sum up, he said that diplomacy must stand between realism and utopian thoughts (or idealism). In other words, neither idealism without understanding the reality of the world nor realism that forgets ideal vision of the world can be a ground for sound diplomacy,” said Ambassador Izumi.
Looking at the contemporary world, the envoy said, he cannot help but notice that the pendulum of the history has swayed to the extreme of the realist thoughts.
He said the word ‘globalism’ or ‘globalisation’ has sometime disappeared. “And the idealistic vision of the world order is somewhat dissolving. Political leaders of many countries start to say ‘Me First! My country is great!’ I am afraid that in such a world what awaits us.”
He said the strong always wins, and the weakest people are always suppressed. “Is this world a jungle? Bellum omnium contra omnes (a Latin phrase meaning the war of all against all)?”
And more than anything, the Ambassador said, it is important to give the light of hope for the future of Rohingya children by providing them with the opportunity of higher education.
“We should never create any lost generation among them. I would say our sympathy and support will be always with them,” he added.
Bangladesh is hosting over 1.1 million Rohingyas and most of them entered Bangladesh since August 25, 2017 amid military crackdown on them.
A recent report of UN fact-finding mission said the 600,00 Rohingya remaining in Myanmar’s Rakhine state face “serious risk of genocide” and that repatriation of the ones who have been driven out of the country by its military remain “impossible”.
The UN investigators further said Myanmar is confiscating and building on land of the displaced Rohingyas.
These alarming developments, foreign affairs experts say, might trigger further exodus of the Rohingyas into Bangladesh.
Veteran Awami League leader Tofail Ahmed, Prime Minister’s Political Affairs Adviser HT Imam, her Energy Affairs Adviser Tawfiq-e-Elahi Chowdhury, State Minister for Energy Nasrul Hamid Bipu, ambassadors and high commissioners stationed in Dhaka, business leaders and opposition leaders, cultural personalities, senior journalists and Japanese societies were also present at the reception.