Dhaka, Sept 19 (UNB) - Foreign Secretary M Shahidul Haque on Tuesday said there is no denying that international migration is providing unequivocal scope for Bangladesh to unlock potentials for sustainable development.
“A nation’s effort in building a beneficial and responsible migration governance framework should be reflected by conducive political, economic, social and environmental conditions, so that migration continues to remain as a choice and migrants are treated with respect and dignity,” he said.
The Foreign Secretary was addressing a workshop in the city organised by the government and IOM, the UN Migration Agency, where inputs from key stakeholders were gathered to finalise the migration governance framework for Bangladesh.
The workshop was held within the scope of European Union funded project on improved migration governance and sustainable reintegration for Bangladesh.
The government of Bangladesh will adopt framework on migration governance with technical support from IOM.
Representatives from key ministries, development partners, private sector, research institutions, national media and others attended it.
The workshop was chaired by the Foreign Secretary Shahidul Haque who expressed sari to see the draft report on Migration Governance Framework in Bangladesh.
“The EU is committed to approach migration in a comprehensive way and to mainstream migration into all relevant policy areas,” underscored Audrey Maillot, European Union’s Team Leader, Governance.
“It is one of the political priorities of the EU as it impacts the overall EU foreign policy and development cooperation.”
She also highlighted that the migration and development nexus is an important component of the EU’s global approach on migration and mobility, the overarching framework for EU’s external migration policy.
The contribution of migrants to the country’s development has never been more significant, IOM said.
Bangladesh received US$ 13.5 Billion remittance in the year 2017.
With migration becoming one of the key livelihood options for Bangladeshis, particularly for youth, the need to develop a comprehensive governance framework has become vital.
“The migration governance framework will set out common understanding among key stakeholders, ensure shared responsibilities and unite the nation to benefit the most, and will promote safe and orderly migration opportunities,” said Sharon Dimanche, the Deputy Chief of IOM Bangladesh.
“The timing couldn’t have been more perfect for finalising the framework. Bangladesh is one of the first countries to come up with a migration governance framework on a comprehensive country assessment.”
She also thanked the Government for the continued support in prioritizing migration issues.
Earlier this year, UN members states agreed to adopt the historic Global Compact for Migration (GCM), a culmination of a process that began in September 2016 with the High-Level Summit on Addressing Large Movements of Refugees and Migrants.
It is slated for adoption at an Intergovernmental Conference in Marrakesh in December.
IOM, one of the co-chairs of the Global Migration Group, has been instrumental in providing technical support that led to the adoption of GCM.
The organization will also serve as the coordinator and secretariat of the UN’s network on migration to ensure effective and coherent system-wide support for implementation.
With the Global Compact likely to drive world’s migration discourse, finalization and subsequent adoption of a migration governance framework in Bangladesh through internal government processes is going to contribute the whole migration process in Bangladesh and beyond, IOM said.
Dhaka, Sept 18 (UNB) - Newly appointed Chargé D'affaires (CDA) of Oman Ta'eeb Salim 'Abdullah Al 'Alawi presented his letter of introduction to Foreign Minister AH Mahmood Ali at the latter’s office on Tuesday.
The Foreign Minister welcomed Alawi to Bangladesh as the Head of the Oman Embassy in Dhaka and assured him of full support from the Foreign Ministry in performing his responsibility.
Alawi conveyed greetings and best wishes of the Foreign Minister of Oman to the Foreign Minister of Bangladesh, said the Foreign Ministry here.
During the meeting, they discussed various issues of bilateral interests and engagements particularly in the area of human resources, agriculture, fisheries, blue economy, defence, culture education etc.
They also exchanged views on regional and international issues of mutual interest as well as on cooperation in different multilateral platforms like UN, OIC, IORA etc.
They stressed on concluding different bilateral cooperation instruments between the two countries on a priority basis.
The meeting ended with the aspiration that the relations between the two brotherly countries will be further expanded in the coming days and both sides will work to this direction.
Dhaka, Sept 18 (UNB) - Ambassador of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to Bangladesh Saed Mohammed Saed Hmaid Almheiri met Foreign Minister AH Mahmood Ali at his office on Tuesday and discussed various issues of bilateral relations and engagements.
Almheiri conveyed greetings and best wishes of the Foreign Minister of the UAE to the Foreign Minister of Bangladesh.
Mahmood Ali expressed happiness at the enhanced engagement between Bangladesh and the UAE in the recent months and hoped for further expansion of the cooperation in the area of human resources, trade, civil aviation, defence and other potential areas for the benefit of the two peoples, said the Foreign Ministry.
They also exchanged views on regional and international issues of mutual interest as well as on cooperation in different multilateral platforms.
Foreign Minister Ali assured the UAE envoy that the UAE always remains trusted friend of Bangladesh and it will always get priority in terms of mutual support in bilateral and international arena.
Dhaka, Sep 18 (UNB) - Dhaka and Moscow have signed a protocol to bring amendments to an agreement signed by both sides on development of Rooppur nuclear power plant.
On sideline of the 62nd General Conference of International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) being held in Vienna Bangladesh and Russia signed the protocol on September 17.
In a statement on Tuesday, Russian state atomic energy agency Rosatom said the protocol was signed to bring in some amendments in the intergovernmental agreement signed on November 2, 2010 on partnership in construction of a nuclear power plant in Bangladesh.
It also said Bangladesh can now involve Russia in developing physical protection systems for Rooppur Nuclear Power Plant.
Architect Yeafesh Osman, Minister for Science and Technology, Government of Bangladesh and Alexey Likhachev, Director General of Rosatom signed the Protocol on behalf of their respective governments.
The protocol provides for the possibility of involving a specialized Russian company in designing and installation of physical protection system for the main and auxiliary facilities of the Rooppur Nuclear Power Plant.
The Protocol also includes the clause saying that all the safety and security measures to ensure physical protection of the nuclear power plant to be taken in accordance with the requirements and guidelines of IAEA.
Rooppur NPP with two VVER-1200 reactors, each of 1,200 MW capacity is being constructed by Atomstroyexport (ASE), Engineering Division of Rosatom under strict monitoring by International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and Bangladesh Atomic Energy Regulatory Authority (BAERA).
Rooppur Nuclear Power Project (RNPP) with two VVER-1200 reactors, each of 1,200 MW capacity is being constructed according to Russian design, at Ishwardi of Pabna district, 160 km from Dhaka. In accordance with the General Contract signed on December 25, 2015 Atomstroyexport (Engineering Division of Rosatom) is implementing the project as the General Contractor.
The Russian VVER-1200 reactors that is selected for the first NPP in Bangladesh, was successfully set up at Unit No 1 of Novovoronezh NPP-2, said the statement.
Dhaka, Sept 18 (UNB) – Some 4300 acres of hills and forests were cut down to make temporary shelters for Rohingyas and ensure facilities and cooking fuel for them in Ukhia and Teknaf of Cox’s Bazar threatening the biodiversity of the ecologically critical areas of the country, says a new report of the United Nations.
Some of the key impacts are likely to become irreversible if measures are not taken immediately, the report said.
Since the influx in August 2017, coupled with the host community and Rohingyas from past influxes, the crisis-hit population is now almost 1.5 million in Cox’s Bazar, creating a massive pressure on the already dilapidated environment there which still remains significantly underfunded, according to the report.
The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and UN Women with the support from the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change jointly carried out the study titled ‘Environmental Impact of Rohingya Influx.
The report was unveiled at a high-level discussion here on Tuesday.
Environment and Forests Minister Anisul Islam Mahmud attended the launching ceremony as the chief guest.
UNDP Bangladesh Sudipto Mukerjee and Country Representative, UN Women, Bangladesh Shoko Ishikawa were, among others, present.
The report highlighted the critical impacts of one of the world’s biggest influx of above 700,000 Rohingyas on the environment of Cox’s Bazar and recommended measures for migration, restoration and conversation.
Of the total 1502 hectares of forests, about 793 hectares have been encroached, said the report.
Around 3000-4000 acres (1200-1600 ha) of hilly land in Teknaf-Ukhia Himchari watershed area have been cleared of vegetation.
Identifying the encroachment as the key cause, the report said nearly 6,800 tonnes of fuel wood are collected each month and each of the Rohingya families use on average 60 culms of bamboo to construct their temporary residences at the top and slopes of hills.
Due to the indiscriminate hill cutting to provide shelters to the Rohingyas, the terrain of the hills has lost their natural setting, causing a potential risk of landslides.
The report also found the thousands of shallow tube-wells dug as threats to the aquifers. Air pollution has risen due to increased vehicular traffic and smoke from firewood burned by refugees.
Polythene bags and plastic bottles are all piling up in various parts of the area due to lack of recycling system.
The study addressed environmental and related gender-based issues and health risks due to Rohingya influx.
The UN system has stepped up with solutions like alternative fuel, solid waste management and reforestation but the current investment is not adequate. It needs sustainable solutions and long-term efforts for restoration and conservation of critically degraded ecosystem.
Minister Anisul Islam said Bangladesh has demonstrated its natural hospitality and responsibility as a caring nation.
However, the influx has made a significant impact on the environment in Cox’s Bazar. “I’m urging all, including the UNDP and other partners, to priorities the conservation of degraded ecosystem and environment. The government is ready to extend its support to restore the environment.”
Sudipto Mukerjee said it will take a long time to fix the problem but that does not mean they need to wait long. “We need to act now. We also need innovations. One thing is very clear that this is not a simple problem, not even offers a simple solution.”
He said they need to look at the whole district and think of the host community, too. “It was the host community who opened the door. We must at least not forget them in the process.”
Mukerjee said the problem is putting immense pressure on scarce natural resources in the area, resulting in degraded natural forests, barren hills and water crisis.
“This situation demands immediate investments in restoring the environment and ecosystem as part of the government of Bangladesh’s humanitarian response in Cox’s Bazar,” he said.
“Sensing the urgency for measures to prevent further degradation and support early restoration, we, at UNDP, undertook this report with the aim that it would help development actors programme early response,” Mukerjee said.
ActionAid Bangladesh Country Director Farah Kabir said some 800,000 Rohingays will need to be supported and it is also for the host community, and laid emphasis on alternative use of fuel.
“We’re giving kerosene stoves to the refugees. We must stop this. This is going to be a huge crisis if one incident of fire occurs. We won’t be able to manage this,” she said.
Among others, Dr Sultan Ahmed, Director General of Department of Environment, Mohammed Shafiul Alam Chowdhury, Chief Conservator of Forests of Bangladesh Forest Department, Mohammad Mohsin, Additional Secretary, Ministry of Disaster Management and Relief also spoke at the event.
The report suggested seven key measures to mitigate the impacts and restore the ecosystem and lives in Cox’s Bazar.