Dhaka, June 18 (UNB) – The South and Southeast Asia Commodity Expo and Investment Fair (SSACEIF) ends in Kunming, China on Tuesday, bringing “more opportunities” for China, South and Southeast Asian countries.
The grand trade and investment fair began on June 12 in Yunnan Province’s capital Kunming, China’s major gateway to Southeast Asia and South Asia, highlighting China's closer ties with the region as it pushes forward the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).
Commerce Minister Tipu Munshi, at the opening ceremony, said the government of Bangladesh is putting in efforts to turn Bangladesh into an important manufacturing hub in Asia and urged the countries, including China, to avail themselves of the massive investment opportunities.
The Commerce Minister expressed happiness saying SSACEIF is attracting ever greater attention to South and Southeast Asia.
"This grand expo is providing a huge platform to the private businesses investment opportunities. We hope it’ll contribute meaningfully to bring the peoples and economies of these regions closer," said Minister Tipu Munshi.
India is occupying the largest number of booths -- 240 -- demonstrating growing engagement between China and India on trade and investment front. Bangladesh set up 19 stalls in the fair.
Staff members perform to promote tourism products on The South and Southeast Asia Commodity Expo and Investment Fair (SSACEIF) in Kunming, capital of southwest China's Yunnan Province, June 12, 2019. UNB/XINHUA
The mega exposition at the Kunming Dianchi Lake International Convention and Exhibition Center is featuring 17 pavilions and 7,500 booths, including the Belt and Road Investment and Cooperation pavilion, the green energy pavilion and the forest ecological products pavilion on a total exhibition area of 170,000 square metres.
The BRI and Cooperation Pavilion aims to build an efficient communication platform for investors, and comprehensively demonstrate Yunnan's advantages in terms of opening up, development and opportunities under the BRI.
There are mainly six exhibition areas -- thematic, Southeast Asia, South Asia, international, domestic and never ending CSA Expo.
For the first time, the BRI Investment Cooperation Pavilion, Green Energy Pavilion, Forest Eco Products Pavilion and the Digital Yunnan Exhibition Area are set up in the fair venue.
Some 3,348 enterprises from 73 countries, regions and international organisations, business leaders, experts and scholars as well as about 167 representatives from ministries and local governments are attending the fair.
The theme of this year's fair is ‘Gather at the Opening-up Frontier Together, Build the Radiation Center Together and Share Prosperity and Development Together’.
Exhibitors demonstrate the making of ethnic crafts on The South and Southeast Asia Commodity Expo and Investment Fair (SSACEIF) in Kunming, capital of southwest China's Yunnan Province, June 12, 2019.UNB/XINHUA
This year's theme country is Sri Lanka and the host country is Cambodia.
Chhuon Dara, Cambodian Commerce Ministry Secretary of State, said the BRI provides a platform for international cooperation, boosts international exchanges, helps build a global economic system and promotes international trade and investment, according to Xinhua.
According to Kunming customs, Yunnan's trade with members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) increased 13.6 percent year-on-year to reach 44.2 billion yuan (6.4 bln U.S. dollars) in the first five months of this year. Its trade with South Asian nations surged 75.4 percent to over 1.5 billion yuan in the same period.
Zhang Guohua, vice governor of Yunnan, said Yunnan has become more open with the help of better transport infrastructure and a batch of cross-border cooperative projects.
Infrastructure interconnectivity has provided more opportunities to Thailand, said Sithichai Jindaluang, deputy governor of Udon Thani Province, Thailand.
The China-Laos-Thailand International Railway Corridor will promote trade and investment between the three countries, he said
Statistics show that the total trade volume between southwest China's Yunnan Province and the five countries in the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS) increased 5.6 percent year on year in 2018.
Ruwan Edirisingh, president of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said the Southeast Asia Commodity Expo along with the China-South Asia Exposition has boosted the economic exchanges between China and South Asia, which have maintained rapid economic growth in recent years.
South Asia boasts abundant natural resources while China has obvious advantages in financial and industrial technology. Therefore, the two sides have great cooperative potential, Ruwan Edirisingh said, adding that Chinese enterprises will enjoy more preferential policies when investing in South Asia.
In 2018, China's imports and exports with South Asian countries totaled 140.1 billion in 2018, up 10.5 percent year on year.
Sune Detvongsa, vice president of the Lao National Institute of Economics, said e-commerce and the digital economy will become important driving forces for regional economic growth and industrial transformation. “Governments need to make greater coordination and efforts to maximize the opportunities brought about by regional cooperation and connectivity.”
Dhaka, June 18 (UNB) - An independent review into how the UN System operated in Myanmar in the years leading up to the mass exodus of the Rohingya following serious human rights abuses has concluded there were “systemic and structural failures” that prevented a unified strategy from being implemented.
The report by former Guatemalan Foreign Affairs Minister Gert Rosenthal said the UN System overall had been “relatively impotent to effectively work with the authorities of Myanmar, to reverse the negative trends in the areas of human rights, and consolidate the positive trends in other areas.”
Rosenthal is a former UN Ambassador and top executive at the UN’s Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), according to UN News.
The review, published on Monday, covers the period 2010-2018, encompassing the UN’s response to the systematic and brutal abuse of hundreds-of-thousands of mainly-Muslim Rohingya in Rakhine state, by the national army and security forces, which began in August 2017, described by the UN human rights chief at the time as a text book example of ethnic cleansing.
In his conclusions and recommendations, Rosenthal writes that responsibility for the grave abuses wrests mainly with the Myanmar government.
But although the UN’s systematic failures are not down to any single entity or any individuals, “clearly there is a shared responsibility on the part of all parties involved in not having been able to accompany the Government’s political process with constructive actions, while at the same time conveying more forcefully the United Nations’ principled concerns regarding grave human rights violations”.
He also notes the UN Security Council should bear some responsibility, “by not providing enough support to the Secretariat, when such backing was and continues to be essential”.
Rosenthal said the key lesson was “to foster an environment encouraging different entities of the UN System to work together” to reinforce a “broader, system-wide strategy”.
The UN Spokespersons’ Office, reacting to the report, said UN chief Antonio Guterres was “grateful to Rosenthal for producing a candid, forthright and useful report. The entire report, including its conclusions and recommendations, has been transmitted to the Member States”.
Guterres said he was accepting the recommendations “and is committed to implementing them so as to improve the performance of the United Nations system. This review is valuable for the Resident Coordinator and the UN Country Team in Myanmar, as well as in other countries where the UN operates in similarly challenging conditions”.
The UN chief noted that no individual or agency was being singled out, and said it was useful for analysing how the UN can work more effectively on the ground and possible lessons learned for the future.
“The Secretary-General notes the report’s assessments are in line with the Secretary-General’s own efforts to put a greater emphasis on prevention, and also to improve the performance and accountability of the UN at a country level by creating a new generation of UN country teams and more adapted structures at the headquarters level”, said the Office of the Spokesperson.
Guterres indicated he would be following up to ensure that the recommendations are implemented.
Dhaka, June 18 (UNB) - Some 2.2 billion people around the world do not have safely-managed drinking water, according to a new report from the United Nations Children’s Fund (Unicef) and the World Health Organization (WHO).
On the other hand, 4.2 billion go without safe sanitation services and three billion lack basic handwashing facilities, it said.
“Mere access is not enough,” said Unicef’s Kelly Ann Naylor, Associate Director of Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH). “If the water isn’t clean, isn’t safe to drink or is far away, and if toilet access is unsafe or limited, then we’re not delivering for the world’s children.”
The Joint Monitoring Programme report, “Progress on drinking water, sanitation and hygiene: 2000-2017: Special focus on inequalities”, finds that while significant progress has been made towards achieving universal access to WASH, there are huge gaps in the quality of services provided.
“Children and their families in poor and rural communities are most at risk of being left behind”, Naylor said, urging governments to “invest in their communities if we are going to bridge these economic and geographic divides and deliver this essential human right”.
The report reveals that since the turn of the century, 1.8 billion people have gained access to basic drinking water services, but vast inequalities in accessibility, availability and quality prevail.
Estimates show that 1 in 10 people still lacks basic services, including 144 million individuals who drink untreated surface water. And the data illustrates that 8 in 10 people in rural areas lack access to these services.
“Countries must double their efforts on sanitation or we won’t reach universal access by 2030,” said Maria Neira, WHO Director, Department of Public Health, Environmental and Social Determinants of Health.
“If countries fail to step up efforts on sanitation, safe water and hygiene, we’ll continue to live with diseases that should have been long ago consigned to the history books”, she spelled out. “Investing in water, sanitation and hygiene is cost-effective and good for society in so many ways.”
While open defecation has been halved since 2000, from 21 percent to 9 percent, 673 million people continue this practice in ‘high burden’ countries. Moreover, in 39 countries, the majority of which are in sub-Saharan Africa, the number of people openly defecating has increased.
The report also highlights new data showing that in 2017, three billion people lacked basic soap and water handwashing facilities at home, including nearly three quarters of those in the Least Developed Countries category.
Every year, 297,000 under-age-five children die from diarrhoea linked to inadequate WASH. Poor sanitation and contaminated water also help transmit diseases, such as cholera, dysentery, hepatitis A, and typhoid.
“Closing inequality gaps in the accessibility, quality and availability of water, sanitation and hygiene should be at the heart of government funding and planning strategies”, Naylor stressed. “To relent on investment plans for universal coverage is to undermine decades worth of progress at the expense of coming generations.”
Since 2000, the proportion of the population practicing open defecation has been halved, from 21 per cent to 9 per cent, and 23 countries have achieved near elimination, meaning less than 1 per cent of the population is practicing open defecation, according to Unicef.
Yet, 673 million people still practice open defecation, and they are increasingly concentrated in ‘high burden’ countries, it said.
Worse, in 39 countries, the number of people practicing open defecation actually increased, the majority of which are in sub-Saharan Africa where many countries have experienced strong population growth over this period.
Dhaka, June 18 (UNB) - The Embassy of Bangladesh in Washington, DC organised the premiere of documentary ‘Voice of Conscience’ by eminent journalist and human rights activist Shahriar Kabir in the USA on Monday.
The premiere was held as a part of the public diplomacy initiative to realise the recognition of Bangladesh’s genocide of 1971 and build awareness thereof.
Members of Washington-based think-tanks, media personalities, diplomats and officials from the US administration, including the State Department and members of Bangladesh diaspora, were present, said the Embassy on Tuesday.
The 64-minute documentary, which recorded witnesses and voice of the members of Pakistan civil society, politicians, journalists, poets, former military officials, and human rights activists vividly depicted the horrendous crimes of genocide inflicted on the unarmed people in Bangladesh by the Pakistani military and their local cohorts during the War of Liberation in 1971.
The documentary centered on the urgent need of realising the recognition of the genocide and holding the Pakistani perpetrators accountable and a formal apology by the government of Pakistan to Bangladesh.
The programme started with welcome remarks of the Deputy Chief of Mission of the Embassy Mahbub Hasan Saleh.
Kabir also made a short presentation on his documentary and interacted with the audience after the screening.
The documentary was well-appreciated by the audience.
At the end of the programme, the guests were served with traditional Bangladeshi cuisine.
Dhaka, June 17 (UNB) – The United Nations (UN) has released a special video featuring Flight Lieutenants Nayma Haque and Tamanna-E-Lutfi who brought much pride for Bangladesh through serving in UN peacekeeping mission as helicopter pilots in the sub-Saharan country Congo.
“I don’t describe myself as a female, I’m a peacekeeper. I’m just a helicopter pilot because machine doesn’t understand who is flying - a male or female,” Tamanna was heard as saying in the video.
Tamanna and Nayma are Bangladeshi’s first female military pilots, serving in the United Nations Peacekeeping Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO).
They strive to be role models for local women and girls while overcoming dangerous challenges in the region, according to the United Nations.
"We’re a sort of inspiration for the local women. So, when they see us, they’ve the inspiration…the young girls have the inspiration that they should have education. They should fight for their rights. They should work hard to achieve something because it’s possible," said Flight Lieutenant Nayma.
She said as a helicopter pilot they carry out different sort of missions and described their jobs they are performing day to day.
Tamanna said they two were selected as the first two female military pilots in 2014 that was the moment they were very excited because earlier they did not have these kinds of opportunities for females. “We felt very proud that yes, women are going forward.”
They find it as a noble job to help others and help the people of DRC and mentioned that to establish women in this new profession is a challenge for them to show their potentiality
These two Bangladeshi peacekeepers do not like to keep anything unfinished.