Power secretary Md Habibur Rahman has sought the leading global companies' collaboration with the Bangladesh power sector for its sustainable development. "Switching to hydrogen fuel for power generation in the future is one example, where global companies like GE, having tremendous experience in the field, can collaborate with us," he said while addressing a seminar titled: "Powering Smart Bangladesh" at a city hotel on Tuesday. American company GE (General Electric) hosted the seminar, which was also addressed by Bangladesh Power Development Board (BPDB) chairman Mahbubur Rahman, and chief executive officer of GE Gas Power South Asia, Deepesh Nanda. The power secretary said Bangladesh will also welcome the tested technologies in the power and energy sector to reduce carbon emissions. Also Read: Bangladesh number one place to engage 3 big powers and play a bridging role: Prof Kanti Bajpai "We're keen to invest in technologies that are already tested and can help Bangladesh to reduce carbon emissions quickly", he said He noted that the government is prioritising the introduction of policy interventions that can support the development of clean energy infrastructure in Bangladesh and contribute towards economic growth of the country by effectively meeting the power demand in the future. The central theme of the seminar was leading a new era of clean energy by focusing on GE’s advanced gas turbine technology, which is capable of burning blends of hydrogen and natural gas, to lead the energy transition in Bangladesh and decarbonise it further. It was informed in the event that GE has more than 120 gas turbines globally that are running on between 5 percent (by volume) and 100 percent hydrogen, and have accumulated more than 8.5 million operating hours. In a move to lead the global energy transition, GE announced in 2022 the spin-off of GE Vernova as a purpose-built business, that highlights the company’s commitment to sustainability and elevating its position as a key player in the energy industry that empowers climate action in all markets. BPDB chairman Mahbubur Rahman said Bangladesh is already a power surplus nation with 100 percent coverage of electricity, and now our focus is to supply reliable electricity in an uninterrupted manner. "We are deploying the latest technologies and digital solutions to make the power infrastructure more robust, and I see GE Vernova, a new company, through its comprehensive portfolio, playing a crucial role in taking this journey forward", he said. "GE Vernova can also help us in meeting the Smart Bangladesh Vision in the future,” he added. GE Gas Power South Asia CEO Deepesh Nanda said his company remains committed to leading a new era of clean energy in Bangladesh. "Today, GE’s technology is powering multiple power plants in the country and our power services are helping the power plant owners to use the fuel efficiently while generating electricity at lower cost", he said. "GE will continue to offer a comprehensive portfolio of powering solutions distinguished by our commitment to quality, productivity, cost effectiveness and safety standards.” He said as Bangladesh diversifies its energy mix, GE’s hybrid power solutions can create an ecosystem in Bangladesh to supply electricity on round-the-clock basis in future. Managing director of Ashuganj Power Station Company Ltd., Sazzadur Rahman, director general of Power Cell Mohammad Hossain, Global Hydrogen Value Chain Leader, GE Power Jeffrey Goldmeer also spoke at the event.
Mathilde, the Queen of Belgium, will visit the largest refugee camp in the world – Kutupalong in Cox’s Bazar on Tuesday which hosts more than a million Rohingyas. The Queen, who is paying a three-day visit to Bangladesh in her capacity as the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) advocate, visited a garment factory in Narayanganj and a UNICEF school in Dhaka on Monday. The company aims to be a “role model” for the textile industry in Bangladesh and is “committed” to meeting all social, ethical and environmental standards. Earlier, Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen received her upon her arrival at Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport on Monday morning. Information and Broadcasting Minister Dr Hasan Mahmud, Ambassador of Belgium to Bangladesh Didier Vanderhasselt and Ambassador and Special Advisor to the Queen Jean-Louis Six, among others, were also present. The Belgian Queen plans to measure and support the progress made in Bangladesh in the areas of girls’ education, women’s economic empowerment, fight against domestic violence and mental health awareness. She is also interested in responses to environmental problems. She will pay courtesy calls on President Abdul Hamid and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and will visit projects linked to flooding in Khulna. Speaker Dr Shirin Sharmin Chaudhury will host a dinner in honour of the Queen on Tuesday. The Queen is scheduled to return to Dhaka from Cox’s Bazar on Tuesday evening. As one of the 17 SDG Advocates of the UN, she will visit projects in Dhaka and Khulna districts.“Agenda 2030 requires citizens, civil society, academia, scientists, philanthropic organisations, and the private sector to work together to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Ownership and participation are key,” the UN quoted the queen as saying. The SDG advocates are 17 inspiring, influential people raising global awareness of the SDGs and the need for accelerated action. They use their unique global platforms to raise ambition around the SDGs and reach the most vulnerable first. SDG advocates are strong public figures dedicated to peace, prosperity and the planet, rallying behind the vision of a better world and inspiring others to do the same. Queen Mathilde ascended the throne in 2013. She is the honorary president of Child Focus, a foundation for missing and sexually exploited children, and UNICEF Belgium. In 2001, she established the Princess Mathilde Fund (now the Queen Mathilde Fund) to promote the care of vulnerable people. As an SDG advocate, she is particularly focused on mental health.
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.
State Minister for Planning Dr Shamsul Alam has proposed to establish a separate ministry for the blue economy or a separate division under the Ministry of Science and Technology. He emphasized on the contribution of the blue economy to Bangladesh’s future sustainable development endeavors. While speaking as the chief guest at a seminar, the State Minister emphasized on two specific issues for the sustainable development and proper utilization of the blue economy - resource exploration and resource exploitation. He also highlighted the importance of knowledge mobilization and conducting research on the subject matter. Bangladesh Institute of International and Strategic Studies (BIISS) organized the hybrid seminar on “Blue Economy and Maritime Security: Bangladesh Perspective” on Thursday. Secretary, Maritime Affairs Unit, Ministry of Foreign Affairs Rear Admiral (Retd) Md. Khurshed Alam attended the seminar as a special guest. BIISS Chairman Kazi Imtiaz Hossain chaired the inaugural session while its Director General Major General Mohammad Maksudur Rahman delivered the welcome remarks. The BIISS DG emphasized on creating a blue economy belt to utilize the huge untapped resources of the vast area of the sea. Kazi Imtiaz Hossai stressed ensuring maritime security and harnessing the potential of the blue economy. Secretary Khurshed Alam highlighted the potential of marine resources in the country’s economy along with some of the challenges. In the working session, four presentations were made. Dr. Abul Kalam Azad, Professor of International Relations, Jahangirnagar University, made a presentation on “Blue Economy and Ocean Governance: Bangladesh Perspective”. Read: Bangladesh’s Blue Economy Cell falters; no progress in 4 yrs A presentation titled “Maritime Security and Strategy in the Bay of Bengal” was made by Professor Dr Delwar Hossain, Department of International Relations, University of Dhaka, and Member, Bangladesh Public Service Commission. Moutusi Islam, BIISS Research Fellow made a presentation on “Nexus between Maritime Security and Blue Economy: Implications for Bangladesh in Post-Covid Era”. A presentation titled “Bangladesh’s Economic Prospect in the Bay of Bengal” was made by Dr Mahfuz Kabir, BIISS Research Director. The working session was chaired by Ambassador M Humayun Kabir, President, Bangladesh Enterprise Institute (BEI). Senior officials from different ministries, ambassadors and high commissioners, senior civil and military officials, media, academia, think tanks, business personalities, students and teachers from different universities participated in the open session. They stressed the importance of the blue economy and marine resources to the country’s economy and future development endeavors. They also highlighted different issues of maritime security in the context of Bangladesh.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Sunday underlined the need for protecting the environment to ensure sustainable development in the country. “For sustainable development there should be coordination with environment and development. Otherwise, development cannot be sustainable,” she said. The premier was speaking at the Tree Fair and Campaign for Tree Plantation programme to mark the World Environment Day at Bangabandhu International Conference Centre (BICC). Also read: PM: South Asia needs to boost cooperation to end poverty Hasina virtually joined the event from her official residence Ganobhaban. The theme for World Environment Day this year is “Only One Earth”, with focus on “living sustainably in harmony with nature”. The PM said that while going for development that everyone has to adopt the nature based solution. “This is urgently needed,” she said. She said that every development project in the country has to fulfill one condition: to plant at least five trees for each tree felled for it. Bangladesh, she said, needs development for improving the people’s lives. But the development must be fairly balanced with the nature and environment, she observed. She mentioned her government is setting up 100 economic zones across the country to prevent indiscriminate industrialization and preserve the arable lands. She said these projects have provision of harvesting rain water to preserve the ground water. The PM reiterated her call not to leave a single inch of arable land uncultivated as the world is under threat of scarcity of food grains due to Covid-19 pandemic and Russia-Ukraine war. “Our land is fertile and we have manpower, we have to produce our own crops, we will produce whatever we need, we will have to shun our dependency on others,” she said. She said the manpower of Environment Ministry has been increased to 1133 from 265, the environment directorate office has been set up in 50 districts and gradually every district will get an office. Environment, Forest and Climate Change Minister Md Shahab Uddin, Deputy Minister Habibun Nahar, chairman of parliamentary affairs committee on Environment, Forest and Climate Change Ministry Saber Hossain Chowdhury also spoke on the occasion while its Secretary Dr Farhina Ahmed gave the address of welcome.
In keeping with this year's Mother Earth Day theme "Harmony with Nature and Biodiversity: Ecological economics and Earth-centered law," UN General Assembly (UNGA) President Abdulla Shahid Friday called for a shift to green economies. "Nature is suffering. Oceans are filling with plastic and turning more acidic; extreme heat, wildfires and floods have affected millions; and we are still facing Covid-19, a worldwide health pandemic linked to the health of our ecosystem," the senior UN official said. "Science has shown that our continued and careless encroachment into the world's ecosystems" has damaged biodiversity and endangered human health and well-being." The international community needs to use the tools and targets of the Paris Agreement on climate change and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development as blueprints for a sustainable recovery from Covid, Abdulla said. Climate change, man-made changes to nature as well as crimes that disrupt biodiversity, such as deforestation, land-use change, intensified agriculture and livestock production or the growing illegal wildlife trade, can accelerate the speed of destruction of the planet. This is the first Mother Earth Day celebrated within the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration. Ecosystems support all life on Earth. The healthier the ecosystems are, the healthier the planet and its people will be. Restoring the damaged ecosystems will help end poverty, combat climate change and prevent mass extinction, says the UN.
The future of sustainable development will hinge on the fate of cities as more than half of the world's population now live in urban environments, a number likely to rise to nearly 70 percent by 2050, according to the UN officials. "The actions we take now must lead us to…a new social integration based on the principles of prosperity, transformation, adaptation, equity and respect for human rights," said Martha Delgado, president of the UN-Habitat Assembly Thursday. Highlighting urbanisation as one of today's great megatrends, she called for resilient, sustainable "smart cities" that are more inclusively governed and better prepared to navigate future shocks and crises. "Sustainable development will hinge on how we manage urbanisation," Economic and Social Council President Collen Vixen Kelapile said, adding that current discussions should be framed in the context of responding to Covid response and the climate crisis. Around 1.2 billion people in the global South now live in informal settlements and slums and they have long struggled to prevent disease transmissions, now including Covid, Collen added. In the global North, dependence on welfare, where available, increased manifold during the pandemic and many people entered the ranks of the homeless. In response, cities have deployed creative actions and provided services in underserved areas, while new urban models are beginning to pay more attention to pedestrians and mixed land uses. "The world's cities have been absorbing much of Covid's socio-economic impact," UN-Habitat chief Maimunah Mohd Sharif said. "However, that has often resulted in closer cooperation between national and local governments, which, in turn, has led to greater reclamation, greening and inclusive use of public space." "Cities can spearhead innovations to bridge the inequalities gaps, deliver climate action and ensure a green and inclusive Covid recovery," said Amina Mohammed, deputy secretary-general of the UN and chair of the UN Sustainable Development Group. "Urban spaces connect the dots on many of today's global challenges."
Cabinet Secretary Khandker Anwarul Islam has urged the development partners to join hands with the government to adopt innovative policy in order to provide the poor and vulnerable with the instruments for a sustainable growth. He reminded the audience that social safety nets have played a vital role in containing the socio-economic effects of the Covid-19 pandemic. The Cabinet Secretary was addressing as the chief guest at a workshop on “Lifecycle Based Social Protection Systems in Bangladesh” on Sunday, according to a press release. Also read:Rab is a brand name for peace, don’t malign it: Shahriar It was organized under the leadership of the Cabinet Division and with the technical support of the European Union (EU) Technical Assistance to Support Social Security in Bangladesh (TA SSSR). Around 100 government officials from Cabinet Division and other social protection focal ministries attended the event held at a city hotel. The European Union-funded the workshop under the framework of its budget support programme in the social protection sector, which aims to support the Government of Bangladesh (GoB) to accelerate social security reforms, in line with the spirit of the 2015 National Social Security Strategy (NSSS). This budget support operation amounts to EUR 247 million, as direct tranches to the government, and EUR 6.5 million for technical assistance, to support the Cabinet Division and other ministries to better deliver services and increase the number of citizens reached through social security plans and programmes. Md. Rahat Anwar, additional secretary, Coordination Wing, Cabinet Division and Md Shamsul Arefin, secretary, Coordination and Reforms, Cabinet Division participated in the event as special guests. The technical session, led by Kavim V Bhatnagar, TA SSSR, reviewed the NSSS focus to consolidate social security programmes within a lifecycle framework. In a typical life cycle, ranging from early pregnancy to old age, individuals face different risks and vulnerabilities at different stages. The need for policies to support individuals at each stage of their life, and for social protection strategies to mitigate risks at each stage, said the EU Embassy in Dhaka. It also highlighted the needs for the GoB to address the most important gaps in lifecycle coverage, for the early childhood and the working-age populations. Moreover, the technical presentation explored the possibilities of providing social insurance (unemployment, injury, sickness and maternity) and contributory pension, as envisaged under the National Social Insurance Scheme (NSIS), embedded in the NSSS. With rapidly ageing population of the elderly, the NSSS acknowledges the need to develop a comprehensive pension system that provides a state-guaranteed minimum income for senior citizens belonging to the poor and vulnerable group, while building a contributory pension system for those working age families who want to provide for themselves a higher level of pension income in old age. Syed Saad Hussain Gilani, Chief Technical Advisor, ILO and Syed Moazzem Hussain, Senior Technical Advisor, GIZ presented their recent projects to pilot an employment injury scheme in the formal sector, showing how the NSIS spirit is translated into reality. Also read:US HR report appears to encourage creating a “society of lawlessness”: Dhaka Among the discussants, Dr. Md. Khairuzzaman Mozumder, Additional Secretary, Finance Division highlighted the progressive increment in the national social security budget over the past years and the achievements in the digitalization of beneficiaries’ data and in the number of cash transfers’ beneficiaries paid through G2P. Mohammad Khaled Hasan, joint secretary, Cabinet Division, presented the Beveridge model, which inspired the lifecycle approach embedded in the National Social Security Strategy and presented the way forward for important social protection institutional reforms. Hans Lambrecht, Head of Cooperation (acting) at Delegation of the European Union to Bangladesh highlighted that one of the challenges for delivery pro-poor, inclusive and shock responsive social assistance and social insurance interventions, is the absence of updated and reliable beneficiaries’ data. “For this reason, the EU welcomes with enthusiasm the new MoLE planned project to develop a Labour Information Management System (LIMS), with a module on a digital workers registry. Data are a fundamental asset, which needs to be placed in the hands of the government of Bangladesh to ensure that the social security interventions reach the people in need in the shortest time possible. The EU is ready to support the GoB to accelerate this essential reform.”
State Minister for Power Energy and Mineral Resources Nasrul Hamid has said that promotion of renewable energy could play a vital role in ensuring an equitable development. “This is an important time to reaffirm our commitment to clean and renewable energy as well as energy efficiency and conservation”, he said while addressing virtually at the closing workshop of the Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Programme (REEEP ll) at the Bangabandhu International Conference Centre on Monday. In the coming years, he said, the focus will fall more and more on ensuring holistic, human-centric development which strikes a balance between technological progress, economic development and environmental sustainability. READ: Strengthen monitoring of energy sector project implementation: Nasrul Hamid In collaboration with Sustainable and Renewable Energy Development Authority (Sreda), Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH implemented the REEEP II on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development. Fatima Yasmin, Secretary, Economic Relations Division, Ministry of Finance, Md. Habibur Rahman, Secretary, Power Division, and Achim Tröster, German Ambassador to Bangladesh also joined the event. Sreda chairman Mohammad Alauddin presided over the function. READ: Power sector needs $65 billion investment to meet growing demand: Nasrul Hamid REEEP II aimed to promote cooperation among SREDA and other stakeholders to achieve national targets on renewable energy and energy efficiency, to support implementation of the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Master plan up to 2030 through awareness development.
Doleshwar Hanafia Jame Mosque, situated in Keraniganj on the outskirts of Dhaka, has won the ‘Award of Merit’ in the 2021 UNESCO Asia-Pacific Awards for Cultural Heritage Conservation. Also known as ‘Daroga Masjid', Doleshwar Hanafia Jame Mosque was constructed by Daroga Aminuddin Ahmed in 1868. Aminuddin’s son Moiz Uddin Ahmed was the first caretaker of the mosque. Khidir Baksh and Kader Baksh, two brothers who were Moiz Uddin’s relatives, continued the mosque’s construction and renovation. Read: Bangladeshi architect Marina Tabassum scoops Soane Medal Kader Baksh’ grandson, former lawmaker Prof Hamidur Rahman, expanded the mosque further and built its minaret in 1968. Later, State Minister for Power, Energy and Mineral Resources Nasrul Hamid, son of Prof Hamidur Rahman, took an initiative for the restoration of the mosque keeping the main infrastructure intact. Architect Abu Sayeed M Ahmed led the year-long restoration project, finishing it in 2018. Meanwhile, the historic Nizamuddin Basti, a slum in the Indian capital, has received the Award of Excellence in this year’s UNESCO Asia-Pacific Awards for Cultural Heritage Conservation for its “outstanding achievement in placing heritage at the heart of the sustainable development agenda”. The project also garnered a Special Recognition for Sustainable Development. Nine projects from six countries -- Bangladesh, China, India, Japan, Malaysia, and Thailand -- have been honoured by a jury of heritage experts, the UN body said in a release. Read:German architect Anna Heringer’s Anandaloy in Bangladesh wins Obel Award Duong Bich Hanh, Chief of Culture Unit at UNESCO Bangkok, said, “The diversity of heritage typologies and countries where the winning projects come from are truly remarkable. The number of projects that have successfully addressed various aspects of the sustainable development agenda is also commendable.” The UNESCO Asia-Pacific Awards for Cultural Heritage Conservation programme recognises the efforts of private individuals and organisations in restoring, conserving, and transforming structures and buildings of distinct heritage value in the region.