The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Bangladesh and the British Council signed a deal on Monday at the UNDP Dhaka office to address the growing importance of English language proficiency in today's interconnected world. Recognising the significance of English skills in enabling youth to compete in the local and global job market, this collaboration aims to offer online self-study courses through Futurenation, focusing on workforce development and youth upskilling. Futurenation is a unique alliance formed by UNDP Bangladesh, Bangladesh Investment Development Authority (BIDA) & Grameenphone, working towards accelerating the Nation's future economic growth. UNDP to work with content creators to promote SDGs English has emerged as the global language of communication, even for non-native speakers, making proficiency in the language essential for accessing employment opportunities and entrepreneurial scopes with confidence. Leveraging the British Council's unparalleled expertise in delivering English language education for over 80 years, this partnership aims to equip the youth of Bangladesh with the necessary language skills to navigate the dynamic employment landscape. Through this joint initiative, UNDP Bangladesh and the British Council will establish a framework to facilitate global citizenship education, co-design initiatives, and provide skills and training programs for the youth. By combining their strengths, expertise, and resources, the two organisations seek to magnify their impact and accelerate progress toward shared objectives.Stefan Liller, the Resident Representative of UNDP Bangladesh, expressed his enthusiasm for the partnership. UNDP to raise awareness on plastic pollution by introducing jute-polymer bags "This collaboration between the British Council and UNDP marks a significant milestone in our shared mission to promote education, culture, and sustainable development. By joining forces, we synergise our strengths, expertise, and resources, magnifying our impact and accelerating progress toward our shared objectives,” he said. One of the primary focuses of this partnership is to jointly develop training courses on business English, enhancing the employability of the youth and creating economic opportunities for all. Additionally, the initiative will prioritise climate action and youth, business and human rights from the youth perspective, and joint campaigns for creating social impact. Tom Miscioscia, the Director of the British Council in Bangladesh, said they are excited to collaborate with UNDP on the Futurenation programme. “Together, we will harness the transformative power of education and boost young people’s English language skills across Bangladesh to enhance their entrepreneurship and employment prospects. The British Council is committed to supporting Bangladesh’s next generation by building their skills, confidence, and connections through life-changing opportunities in English, education, and the arts.” The collaboration between UNDP and the British Council will open numerous opportunities for information sharing and consultation on matters of common interest. Together, they aim to ensure inclusive and quality education, leaving no one behind in the pursuit of sustainable economic well-being.
There has been no progress in the level of bias against women over the previous ten years, with nearly nine out of ten men and women still believing such prejudices globally, according to a new UN report released on Monday (June 12, 2023). UN Development Programme (UNDP) in its most recent Gender Social Norms Index (GSNI) says , "Half of people worldwide still believe men make better political leaders than women, and more than 40% believe men make better business executives than women." Also Read: 9 countries inc. Bangladesh release first national estimates of illicit financial flows with UN support “Social norms that impair women’s rights are detrimental to society more broadly, dampening the expansion of human development,” said Pedro Conceição, head of UNDP’s Human Development Report Office. A staggering 25 per cent of people believe it is justified for a man to beat his wife, according to the report, reflecting the latest data from the World Values Survey. The report said that these biases are to blame for the obstacles women encounter, which have taken the form of the denial of women's rights in many regions of the world, the growth of movements opposing gender equality, and an increase in human rights abuses in some countries. The stark underrepresentation of women in leadership positions is another example of bias in action. Since 1995, the percentage of women serving as heads of State or governments has generally hovered around 10%, and in the job market, they make up less than one-third of executive posts. The report also sheds light on a broken link between women’s progress in education and economic empowerment. Also Read: A child or youth died once every 4.4 seconds in 2021: UN report Women are more skilled and educated than ever before, yet even in the 59 countries where women are now more educated than men, the average gender income gap remains a 39 per cent in favour of men. “Lack of progress on gender social norms is unfolding against a human development crisis,” Conceição said, noting that the global Human Development Index (HDI) declined in 2020 for the first time on record and again the following year. “Everyone stands to gain from ensuring freedom and agency for women,” he added. The UNDP report emphasized that governments have a crucial role in shifting gender social norms, from adopting parental leave policies, that have changed perceptions around care work responsibilities, to labour market reforms that have led to a change in beliefs around women in the workforce. “An important place to start is recognizing the economic value of unpaid care work,” said Raquel Lagunas, Director of UNDP’s gender team. The report emphasized that despite the continued prevalence of bias against women, the data shows change can happen. Also Read: Rights groups slam severe Taliban restrictions on Afghan women as ‘crime against humanity’ An increase in the share of people with no bias in any indicator was evident in 27 of the 38 countries surveyed. The report authors said that to drive change towards greater gender equality, the focus needs to be on expanding human development through investment, insurance, and innovation. This includes investing in laws and policy measures that promote women’s equality in political participation, scaling up insurance mechanisms, such as strengthening social protection and care systems, and encouraging innovative interventions that could be particularly effective in challenging harmful social norms, patriarchal attitudes, and gender stereotypes. For example, combatting online hate speech and gender disinformation can help to shift pervasive gender norms towards greater acceptance and equality, according to the report. The report recommended directly addressing social norms through education to change people’s views, policies and legal changes that recognize the rights of women in all spheres of life, and more representation in decision-making and political processes. Read more: 90% of countries see decline in human development
The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has launched a social media campaign titled ‘#Click4Wildlife’ to create mass awareness about wildlife conservation ahead of World Wildlife Day on March 3. The first of its kind, the online campaign calls for submissions of wildlife photographs in Bangladesh, a selection of which will be displayed in a virtual exhibition hosted by UNDP during the World Wildlife Day. “Humans cannot exist without nature, and it is essential for all of us to realise the importance of wildlife conservation,” UNDP Bangladesh Resident Representative Stefan Liller said. “UNDP has long been working to restore and preserve habitats and create enabling environments where nature and humans can co-exist side by side,” he added. They believe this campaign and exhibition will make people realise the beauty of nature and raise awareness about its conservation. Also Read: Landslides remain most substantial damaging, recurrent hazards in Cox’s Bazar: UNDP The participation process is very simple. Anyone who is interested in participating, will have to post the picture they want to submit publicly on their social media profile on Facebook and Instagram. They must use the ‘#Click4Wildlife’ hashtag and tag @UNDPBD (Facebook) or @undpbangladesh (Instagram) in the caption and direct message the post link to either UNDP’s Facebook page or Instagram page to complete the submission. The top 20 photographers will be selected from the submissions based on the likes/reactions to their posts. Also Read: Jaya Ahsan starts 2nd tenure as UNDP goodwill ambassador The selected photographers will be featured in the virtual exhibition and win digital certificates and goodies from UNDP. The deadline for submission and evaluation is 28th February, 2023.
Ambassador Muhammad Abdul Muhith, Bangladesh's permanent representative to the United Nations, has been elected vice-president of the UNDP/UNFPA/UNOPS Executive Board for 2023 at the elections held in New York. This will enable Bangladesh to work closely with the other board members and the leaderships of these three vital UN organs and provide them with strategic guidance for their work. The ambassador of Kenya was elected president of the board on Tuesday. The other vice-presidents are ambassadors of Costa Rica, Ukraine and Türkiye. Read more: Switzerland, UNDP sign deal to promote peaceful, inclusive societies for sustainable development Ambassador Muhith is serving as the current chair of the UN Peacebuilding Commission and served as the president of the Executive Board of the UN Women last year. The UNDP, UNFPA and UNOPS have specific mandates to advance the UN's development agenda at the field level in realising Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The UNDP is the largest UN agency with a primary focus on poverty alleviation and sustainable development. The UNFPA covers population and family planning issues, while the UNOPS works in cross-cutting areas across peace, development and humanitarian matters. Read more: Liller vows to continue UNDP’s full support to Bangladesh
Mashiur Rahman, Economic Affairs Advisor to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, said on Thursday that the IMF loan is like a character certificate. “If we get this certificate, everyone will show interest in giving us loans,” he told a seminar on ‘South-South and Triangular Cooperation: Tapping New Opportunities.’ The discussion was jointly organised by Economic Relations Division (ERD) and UNDP in the capital, Dhaka. Read more: Government working on IMF’s conditions to get $4.5 billion loan Mashiur said that the IMF’s lending as budget support means that the economic management of a country is sound. “If this is the case, other countries or organisations will express interest in lending easily. The investment will also come along with it,” he said. UN Resident Coordinator Gwyn Lewis and UNDP Resident Representative Stefan Liller were present as special guests while ERD Secretary Sharifa Khan presided over the function. Read more: $4.5bn IMF loan: 1st instalment expected next Feb, says Mustafa Kamal Policy Exchange of Bangladesh CEO and Chairman M. Masrur Reaz and Research and Policy Integration for Development (PRI) Chairman Dr. MA Razzaque presented the main articles on the topic. Faizul Islam, Additional Secretary of ERD and UNDP’s Country Economist Nazneen Ahmed also spoke at the event.
The Swiss government has joined hands with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Bangladesh to provide the Bangladesh government with support for gender equality and the promotion of peace, justice and strong institutions. The $5.53 million deal for the Strengthening Institutions, Policies and Services (SIPS) Programme was penned at the UNDP office in Dhaka on Tuesday. Read more: Landslides remain most substantial damaging, recurrent hazards in Cox’s Bazar: UNDP Suzanne Mueller, Head of Cooperation and Deputy Head of Mission at the Embassy of Switzerland in Bangladesh and UNDP Resident Representative Stefan Liller signed the agreement on behalf of their respective organisations. “We need to strongly integrate SDG16 & SDG5 for inclusive economic development, gender equality, governance, & human rights for agenda 2030 and I firmly believe this new SIPS initiative will contribute to that," Suzanne said at the signing. “We are grateful to Switzerland for our longstanding partnership and commitment to jointly support Bangladesh in achieving Agenda 2030 - particularly by strengthening its institutions and promoting good governance,” said Stefan Liller. Read more: Safe Digital Space: AUW, UNDP to promote intercommunal, religious harmony Despite Bangladesh’s magnificent strides in achieving Sustainable Development Goals, a lot still needs to be done in terms of governance indicators. More importantly, the government of Bangladesh has emphasised strengthening democratic institutions at both the national and local levels. The new programme targets three major outcomes - strengthening the capacities of Bangladesh’s bureaucracy to deliver on SDG 16 and SDG 5, making institutions of public oversight more people-centric and effectively fulfil their mandates and strengthening the policy environment to sustain SDG results and integrating SDGs into routine government operations and partnerships. Swiss embassy’s Senior Programme Manager for Economic Governance Sohel Ibn Ali, UNDP’s Deputy Resident Representative, Van Nguyen, Assistant Resident Representative, Anowarul Haq, Senior Governance Advisor, Md Mozammel Haque, and Senior Governance Specialist, Sheela Tasneem Haq, were also present at the signing.
The Royal Norwegian Embassy in Dhaka and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) have signed an agreement for a two-year project for landslide risk management in Cox’s Bazar. The agreement was signed by UNDP Bangladesh Resident Representative Stefan Liller and Norwegian Ambassador to Bangladesh Espen Rikter-Svendsen on behalf of their respective organisations, at the latter’s office on Wednesday. UNDP and Norway have a long and successful history of working together, Espen Rikter-Svendsen said at the signing ceremony. Read: Japan, UNFPA join hands to provide $3.7 million assistance to Rihingyas in Bhasan Char, host communities in Noakhali “Our previous pilot initiative to strengthen landslide monitoring and early warning systems in the camps and host communities has helped save a lot of lives,” he said, adding that “We want to build further on that through this project.” “With our technical expertise on early warning systems and UNDP’s expertise in disaster risk management, I believe this project would be able to effectively reduce the consequences of natural disaster.” “As one of our major contributors, we thank the Norwegian government for being with us as our core partner,” UNDP Bangladesh Resident Representative Stefan Liller said at the signing. “Landslides remain one of the most substantial damaging and recurrent hazards in Cox’s Bazar,” Stefan Liller said. “In 2019, rainfall-induced landslides affected more than 50,000 refugees with 6,300 temporarily displaced, 10 fatalities and 42 injured.” Read: Digital devices increase women's capacity to contribute to livelihoods: UNDP envoy “It also affects the host community, especially the poor and landless people who settle in the foothill areas. It is estimated that around one million people are currently living with landslide risks in Cox’s Bazar District,” the UNDP Resident Representative pointed out. The two-year project will be addressing the risk by enhancing existing landslide warning systems, strengthening disaster management capacities of local government, humanitarian and first responders, and implementing community-led nature-based solutions in the most vulnerable communities. The embassy’s Deputy Head of Mission Silje Fines Wannebo, Senior Advisor Morshed Ahmed and advisor Zohora Farzana Ahmed Bipasha were present at the signing along with UNDP’s Deputy Resident Representative Van Nguyen, Assistant Resident Representatives Prasenjit Chakma and Sarder M Asaduzzaman and Head of Communications Md Abdul Quayyum.
The experts have called upon the government, development partners and private sector to create an enabling environment for inclusive insurance and risk financing, ensuring sustainable development for the country and leaving no one behind. "Validation workshop on Country Diagnostic on Inclusive Insurance and Risk Finance for Bangladesh," was organised Thursday by the Financial Institutions Division (FID), Ministry of Finance (MoF), Insurance Development and Regulatory Authority (IDRA), and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). "The protection of people and assets is a key component of sustainable development and Insurance is the protection. Without insurance, achieving sustainable development will never be possible," IDRA Chairman Mohammad Jainul Bari said. He continued that the COVID-19 pandemic was an eye-opener on the need for expanding access to insurance for the underserved population to protect vulnerable communities from disasters. 'To mitigate the risk and bring sustainability, everyone must need to have basic knowledge of inclusive insurance and how it helps in risk financing and the overall economy of Bangladesh," he added. Bangladesh Insurance Association President Sheikh Kabir Hossain said: "We have to run awareness campaigns to build the trust of the people by making them more aware about insurance leading to their inclusion in the safety net." "Building, retaining and supporting progress amongst a diverse workforce will only be sustainable if all members share the same outlook and have transparency. So, government and private stakeholders need to have the same outlook about mitigating risks and bringing everyone under insurance coverage for a much safer environment in Bangladesh. BIA will play a vital role and act as a bridge among the stakeholders," Hossain said. "The findings and recommendations of the country diagnostic have provided us a clear direction for creating an enabling environment for mainstreaming inclusive insurance and risk financing in the country," UNDP Deputy Resident Representative Van Nguyen said. Pointing out that UNDP's work with the government has been rewarding, Van continued, "We are committed to continuing our support to strengthen the legislative frameworks, institutional capacity and insurance industry for enhancing the resilience of the most vulnerable communities and achieving Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in Bangladesh." Read more: Insurance companies’ assets grew 4-fold in 12 years: Finance Minister Bangladesh is vulnerable to climate change due to its low-lying delta ecosystem that exposes the country to several disasters such as flash floods, monsoon floods, cyclones, storm surges, salinity intrusion, drought and unpredictable rainfall. The government is keen to explore the insurance industry to consider it as a risk transfer mechanism. UNDP has conducted a country diagnostic that has assessed the risks and vulnerability in Bangladesh, considering the existing enabling environment and financial instruments. The diagnostic study has highlighted challenges, opportunities, and areas where UNDP can, together with partners, provide the necessary support for the government and private stakeholders to improve the enabling environment for inclusive insurance and risk financing. Read more: Govt mulling introduction of ‘national social safety insurance’
Multiple crises are halting progress on human development, which is going backwards in the overwhelming majority of countries, according to the UN. The 2021-22 human development report "Uncertain Times, Unsettled Lives: Shaping our Future in a Transforming World," released Thursday, paints a picture of a global society lurching from crisis to crisis, and which risks heading towards increasing deprivation and injustice. For the first time in the 32 years that the UN Development Programme (UNDP) has been calculating it, the Human Development Index, which measures a nation's health, education, and standard of living, has declined globally for two years in a row. Human development has fallen back to its 2016 levels, reversing much of the progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals. The UN report finds that nine out of 10 countries have fallen behind on life expectancy, education and living standards. Heading the list of events causing major global disruptions are Covid and the Russian invasion of Ukraine, which have come on top of sweeping social and economic shifts, dangerous planetary changes, and massive increases in polarization. This signals a deepening crisis for many regions, and Latin America, the Caribbean, Sub-Saharan Africa, and South Asia have been hit particularly hard as 30 years of continuous human progress is unravelling. Read: Bangladesh moves 3 notches up in Human Development Index "The world is scrambling to respond to back-to-back crises," said Achim Steiner, UNDP administrator. "We have seen with the cost of living and energy crises that, while it is tempting to focus on quick fixes like subsidising fossil fuels, immediate relief tactics are delaying the long-term systemic changes we must make." The UN study's authors identified three layers of today's "uncertainty complex" – dangerous planetary change, the transition to new ways of organising industrial societies, and the intensification of political and social polarization. Also read: Rebuilding Ukraine may cost $349bn "It is not just that typhoons are getting bigger and deadlier through human impact on the environment," the report said. "It is also as if, through our social choices, their destructive paths are being directed at the most vulnerable among us."
Newly appointed UNDP Resident Representative for Bangladesh Stefan Liller on Tuesday vowed to continue UNDP’s full support to the government of Bangladesh to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030, graduate to a middle-income economy and tackle the adversities presented by climate change. During his meeting with Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen, Liller stressed the longstanding partnership between Bangladesh and UNDP since the independence of the country. He presented his credentials to the Foreign Minister at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The Foreign Minister welcomed Liller and received his credentials issued by UNDP’s Administrator Achim Steiner. In his role, Liller is responsible for UNDP’s activities in the country, closely collaborating with national stakeholders and international partners to support Bangladesh’s national priorities in line with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. In line with government priorities and in the spirit of “Leaving No One Behind”, UNDP’s programme in Bangladesh promotes women empowerment, good governance, reducing inequalities, youth employment, climate action, environmental protection and energy efficiency. Read: It was end-of-mandate statement, not global report: UN rights office