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Dhaka, 25th August 2018. Today a group of civil society right activists led by CCNF (Cox’s Bazar CSO and NGO Forum) and COAST Trust organized a human chain in front of National Press Club, Dhaka on the eve of the anniversary of 25th August 2017 Rohingya influx in Bangladesh titled “Myanmar Junta must be held accountable for Rohingya genocide and Ensure transparency and accounts of all relief fund”. The human chain rally is moderated by Mostafa Kamal Akhanda of COAST. Other speakers are Badrul Alam and Zayed Iqbal Khan of Bangladesh Krishok Federation, Subol Sarkar Bangladesh Bhumihin Samity, Barkat Ullah Maruf of COAST and Rezaul Karim Chowhdury of CCNF and COAST.
On behalf of the group Barkat Ullah Maruf of COAST explains the position paper and places five point demands as follows; (i) Myanmar junta must be brought to the International Criminal Court for justice, otherwise such ethnic cleansing and genocide like Rwanda will occur again and again in the history. (ii) UN agencies and INGOs (International non-government organization) must emphasize the justice rather than providing relief. Specially India, China and Russia must play an effective role in this regard. (iii) Rohingya refugees have the right for Human Dignity as they will be living here for longer time. At any cost present approach of sheltering in the camp area have to be changed for their human dignity, education and other rights. The Whole of Society Approach (WOSA) must be followed in addressing the refugee issue, (iv) Relief should not be a business for some national and international agencies. So, all agencies must publish their relief accounts with transparency of how much they spent for input, operation and management cost. All these accounts must be examined by public audit. (v) Bangladesh should strengthen its diplomatic effort and take multilateral approach rather than the bilateral one so that Myanmar is able to dilly-dally and hypocritical approach.
Badrul Alam of Bangladesh Krishok Federation said, the Rohingya refugee issue is a one the imposed problem on Bangladesh like climate change one, where Bangladesh is an innocent victim.
Mostafa Kamal Akanda of COAST said that the global interest on Rohingya issues is fading away and one day the INGOs and UN agencies will be fled away. Bangladesh government will be remaining alone to take responsibilities. So, from now on, Bangladesh government should take full accounts of UN agencies and INGOs with full public transparency.
Subol Sarkar of Bhumihin Somity said that, UN agencies and INGOs spend money in a lavish way. We do not need around 1,500 expatriates for this Rohingya response.
Rezaul Karim Chowdhury of CCNF and COAST said that, Bangladesh is respectful to the human right and this is why our Honorable Prime Minister opened the boarder for the Rohingya refugees. We are proud for that. But it should not be considered as our weakness. we have billion-dollar business with India, China and Russia. Especially with India and Russia we have proven relation since they have helped us during our liberation war in 1971. They should leverage with sincere efforts to put pressure on Myanmar government to take back the Rohingyas with dignity. They must give Bangladesh a space to take a breath to develop from a least developed to a middle income country.
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Dhaka, 19th August 2018. Today Local NGO alliance named Bangladeshi NGOs for WHS (World Humanitarian Summit), Coxsbazar CSO NGO Forum (CCNF) and COAST with the support of Oxfam have organized a press conference held at National Press Club Dhaka in observance of 19th August World Humanitarian Day title “We Demand Road Map on Localization in Humanitarian and Development Work, System of Compensation in Accidents for Local Partner Workers”. Speakers in the press conference demanded equality in partnership from UN agencies and INGOs (International NGOs) rather than practice of treating as sub – contractors. They also demand a system of accidental compensation of local NGO workers while they work in partnership projects of UN agency and INGOs, like as the system UN and INGOs have already in place. It should be noted that a local NGO name Mukti’s staff Rezina Akhter have had died on 15 July 2018 in a road accident in Coxsbazar Teknaf road while she is going for work in Rohingya camp. Since 2008 with the call from UN, NGOs are observing 19th August World Humanitarian Day worldwide especially to pay tribute to the workers who have sacrifice life during humanitarian work in any part of the world.
The press conference was moderated by Rezaul Karim Chowhdury of COAST and CCNF, other guest speakers were Emranul Hague Chowdhury Chairman Credit and Development Forum (CDF); Rafiqul Islam Director Federation of NGOs in Bangladesh (FNB); Kawsar Ahmed Konok, Coordinator Association of Development Agencies in Bangladesh (ADAB); Masuda Faruque Ratna Executive Director, Gram Bikash Kendra (GBK); Mizanur Rahman, Humanitarian Program Manager Oxfam; Shawkat Ali Tutul from COAST and Bangladeshi NGOs for WHS; Md Shahidul Islam Voice of South Bangladesh; and Faruque Ahmed Trinomul Unnayan Sangsta of Moymonsingh.
Shawkat Ali Tutul of COAST has presented four point demands form UN and INGOs as they have already signed Grand Bargain commitment (May 2016), Charter for Change (2015) and Principle of Partnership (2006). The expectations are, (i) UN agencies and INGOs should declare a road map that they will roll back from field operation and will give leadership to the local NGOs, (ii) They should also take long term institution development planning to support local NGOs to develop themselves as sovereign and accountable organization, (iii) UN agencies and INGOs should stop staff poaching from local NGOs as they are working for sustainable development of the country by local NGOs, all NGOs and UN agencies should prepare common frame work of salary and facilities of all development workers in the countries. Local NGOs should be given compensation while their staff will be hired by UN agencies and INGOs and (iv) UN agencies and INGOs should keep system provision to compensate local NGO staff while they face accident or die during humanitarian work.
Please Download Related Paper
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Today 21 July 2018, in a seminar, right based civil society organizations and experts demanded the government to develop an appropriate and pro poor policy to realize the untapped resources in the Bay of Bengal in the context of poverty reduction and achieving the SDGs (Sustainable Development Goal). They also demand to ensure coastal fishers’ access to the fishging in the Bay of Bengal that is going to be government planning. The seminar is held at CIRDAP auditorium titled “Blue Economy of Bangladesh: Context, Poverty Reduction and SDGs” organized by COAST Trust.
Dr. Qazi Kholiquzzaman Ahmad- Economist & Chairman-PKSF chaired the seminar while Md. KM Abdus Salam, Director General of NGO Affairs Bureau participated as the chief guest and Mr. Rezaul Karim Chowdhury, Executive Director of COAST Trust moderated the proceedings. Keynotes are presented by Dr. Lailufar Yasmin (Professor of International Relation, Dhaka University), Dr. Md. Moshiur Rahman (Professor of Fisheries and Marine Resource Technology Discipline, Khulna University) and Mr. Salehin Sarfaraz (Coordinator, Partnership & Advocacy, COAST Trust). Among others, Dr. Sayedur Rahman Chowdhury (Professor of Institute of Marine Sciences and fisheries, Chittagong University), Dr. AKM Aminul Hoque (Director-Marine Department of Fisheries) and Mr. Pankaj Hazaarika-Director BIMSTEC (Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation) spoke as expert in the seminar while civil society representatives raised their opinion and recommendations.

The keynote presenters have addressed two important issues of foreign policy and government’s poverty reduction approach through Blue Economy. Their recommendations include, i. Bangladesh is seen as a central cohesive source as the economic hub connecting Asian states. So, we have to be cautious to design the Blue Economy strategies in case of trade, resource capturing and geo-political perspectives; ii. Government should emphasize on coastal poverty dimensions where fishers are the major part of the poverty. So, create opportunities and access for the coastal population especially for the fishers. Government must ensure access for the fishers to the fishing sphere of the Bay of Bengal by developing an appropriate policy and action plan. This will contribute to the growth and reducing socio-economic inequality.

Dr. Sayedur Rahaman said that government has policy but there are considerable gaps between policy assumption and real base data. This need to remove those gaps and prepare special plan connecting policy and information. He expresses concern of declining trend of fish in the Bay of Bengal and plan for alternative livelihood of coastal fishers.

Dr. Aminul Hoque said that multi-stakeholder engagement is required in the process of the Blue Economy strategy. We have to consider the alternative livelihood of coastal fishers and good to know that the government has taken project with World Bank for this. His proposed to initiate cage aquaculture in estuaries of Bay of Bengal during the ban period of Hilsha fishing for the benefit of coastal communities.

Md KM Abdus Salam said that coastal fishers should be rescued from the high interest loans if we really want to develop their livelihood. He requests the NGOs to work on this issue. Mr. Pankaj Hazaarika opine that, Bangladesh can take lead initiate effective cooperation among the BIMSTEC in view of implementing Blue Economy issues.

Dr. Qazi Kholiquzzaman Ahmad said in his speech, we are revising our BCCSAP (Bangladesh Climate Change Strategy and Action Plan) where the Blue Economy issues will be addressed. He also opines to set priorities for Blue Economy activities with required pro poor infrastructure development and institutional capacity building. Relation to this issue, he asks to open all public water bodies for the benefit of genuine fisher communities.
Mr. Nurul Islam, Chairman, Fisherman Association, Bhola, proposed government to save the fish breeding zones like Sundarban Mangrove forest in the estuaries of Meghna and Halda rivers. He also demands to take protecting measures for the coastal fishers and their resources from the pirates.

Please download related paper [Bangla Press] [English Press] [Position Paper] [Presentation_ Dr Lailufar Yasmin ] [ Presentation Dr. Mashiur Rahman] [ Presentation COAST]

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Today 14 June 2018, nine civil society networking organizations on climate change coordinated by COAST Trust and EquityBD has organized a press conference at national press club and demand to give focus climate resilient Infrastructure development for climate Financing in upcoming national budget for 2018-19 fiscal year. They also criticize government for coating the traditional development budget as climate finance. They urged government to ensure adequate and additional new budget for climate resilient economy and building adaptive capacity of coastal people.

The press conference is moderated by M Rezaul Karim Chowdhury, Chief Moderator of EquityBD and key demand is read out by Syed Aminul Hoque of same organization. Among the others, Mr. Quamrul Islam Chowdhury, President-Federation Environment Journalist Forum Bangladesh, Motahar Hossain, Secretary-Climate Change Journalist Forum, Mrinal Kanti of Bangladesh Indigenous People Network on Climate Change and Badrul Alam of Bangladesh agriculture federation has spoken in the event favor of the demands.

Presenting the key demand, Syed Aminul Hoque said, this is good that government is preparing report on climate finance but observation showing on 2018-19 proposed budget for climate finance amount BDT 18,948 crore (8.82% of proposed budget) in fact color coating of climate finance on traditional development expenditure those done in previous. Following this observation, the group made four recommendation for 2018-19 new budget those are (i) Government must ensure new and additional budget as climate finance out of traditional allocation (ii) Separate between growth orient infrastructure and climate fighting infrastructure and will make allocation accordingly to save climate vulnerable people (iii) Expedite the preparation of NAP-National Adaptation Plan with mass participation and ensure budget for required adaptation finance, (iv) Ensure transparency and accountability of climate finance along with BCCTF-Bangladesh Climate Change Trust Fund.

Mr. Quamrul Islam said that the proposed climate finance is inadequate to fight climate change impact. Apart govt. suffering lack of capacity of her NIEs (National Implementing Entities) to influence the global climate financing process. He recommended to build up NIEs capacity to mobilize additional global finance that ease govt. to more support on climate finance.

Mr. Rezaul Karim opined, that government should follow her own climate change strategy plan, identify the climate hot spots for appropriate climate action and allocate budget accordingly through setting priority to develop specific climate resilient infrastructure.

Mr. Badrul Alam said that implementing climate finance activities under “Trust Fund” is questionable to mass as this has hardly impact in climate change arena. Even this year government didn’t allocate money for this fund which is a setback for implementing climate change action plans. He demand to engage the mass with the process, implementation and monitoring of trust fund. Motahar Hossain said cyclone SIDR and Aila has damaged major part of coastal embankments those we need to construct with new high to face tidal surge. Apart salinity is a new problem looming cause of mass displacement. Government should importance these issues and increase budgetary allocation.
Please download related paper [Bangla Press release] [English Press release] [Campaign Paper Bangla] [Campaign Paper English]

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Today 13 June 2018, twenty right based civil society networking organizations coordinated by EquityBD has organized a human chain in front of national press club and urged government to emphasize Income Tax instead VAT (Value Added Tax) for revenue mobilization and implementing 2018-19 national budget. They also raised voice on inefficiency of bank sector and demanded to strengthen Central Bank to stop loop holes in capital flight and ensure governance in financial Sector.

The human chain is moderated by Mostafa Kamal Akand-Networking Coordinator of EquityBD and key demand is read out by Md. Ahsanul Karim of same organization. Among others Mr. BadrulAlam from Bangladesh agriculture federation, Mr. Jayed Iqbal Khan, Syed Aminul Hoque from COAST Trust and Mr. Rezaul Karim Chowdhury from EquityBD spoke in the event.

Md. Ahsanul Karim from the group has drawn the following recommendations these are (1) To increase corporate tax as direct tax rather than VAT as indirect tax and also to increase the minimum tax free income from 2,50,000 to 3,50,000 (2) Strengthen Central Bank to establish governance in Financial Sector (3) Establishing central bank control over the banks and forming a strong bank commission to save people money (4) all transaction which is more than $2000 must be through bank transfer and with TIN, (5) publication of white papers of Bangladeshi’s in Malaysia 2nd Home Program, (6) publication of white papers and report on stock exchange debacle, plundering of money from public banks, and Bangladesh Bank money heist and all above (7) shunning the path of confrontational politics and space to the free growth of democratic institutions, so that people and business man will feel sense of security and they will not try for illicit flow.

Syed Aminul Hoque from EquityBD said that revised VAT slab will increase VAT rate and increase burden for poor because they are enjoy these lower slab of VAT. Government failed collect income tax from trade and big economic activities, that’s why mounting on poor for revenue which injustice.

M Rezaul Karim Chowdhury from Equity BD said that Finance minister did not keep his commitment in respect of establishing a neutral and a strong bank commission which will assist the bank owners to plunder more public money from banks. He also said that due to reduce bank corporate tax of 2.5%, Govt. will lose about Tk.100 crore as extra revenue which will indeed make the bank owners more rich.

Md. Badrul Alam of Krishak Federation said that Government has reimbursed more than 10,000crore of as capital refilling from 2006 to 2017 to the state running banks who are suffering from capital deficits because of corruption mostly done by the different companies (Hallmarks, Mismilla Group, Crescent Leather, etc) and supported by politically appointed directors of those banks. The supported money most collecting from hard earn people as tax.

Kader Hajari of Arpan said that Govt. is heavily relying on VAT collection which is 33.7% excess target than FY 2017-18. He also mentioned that Govt. has emphasis to collect income tax from individuals rather than corporate. It is about 58.4% excess target set out for individual income tax where the corporate ta is 15.9% than the FY 2017-18. The government has not enhanced tax free income level and it will create extra burden for middle income earn people and the poor.
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Dhaka, 11 June 2018.Today in a press conference 12 local and national farmers’ organization expressed their frustration over the inadequate allocation for the agriculture in the proposed national budget for the year of 2018-19. Today from a press conference organized in the National Press Club the organizers also demanded visionary and Specific Allocation to Face the Long-Term Challenges Towards Achieving the Food Security Demanded.

The press conference titled ‘Only 2.99% allocation for the sector with 46% of labour force is really not appropriate: We Demand specific allocation and initiative to solve recent and long term crisis of the farmers of Bangladesh’ was jointly organized by Coastal Farmers’ Association, Bangladesh Fish Workers Alliance, Bangladesh Agricultural Farm Labour Federation, National Women Farmers and Workers Association, Bangladesh Adibashi Samity, Haor Farmers and Fishers Alliance, Gram Labour Resource Centre, Nolchira Pani Unnayan Somity, Dighon CIG, Kendriyo Krishak Moitree, Bangladesh Farmers’ Forum and COAST Trust.

The press conference was moderated by Mustafa Kamal Akand of COAST Trust and Md. Mujibul Haque Munir, Secretariat Coordinator of Bangladesh Farmers Forum presented the key positions of the group. Among others Abdul Majid, secretary of Bangladesh Agricultural Farm Labour Federation, Md. Shahabuddin, Secereaty of Secretary of Coastal Farmers Association, Samsuzzaman Khokon, Chief of the Gram Unnayan Sanagstha and Syed Aminul Haque, Secetary of EquityBD also spoke at the occasion.

Md. Mujibul Haque Munir said, the allocation for agriculture proves that, the proposed budget clearly does’t pay proper attention to the agriculture sector. Though the total budget has been increased by about 16%, the allocation for the ministry of agriculture has been decreased by 0.41%! In the Annual Development Plan the allocation for the ministry is only 1.1%, while about 46% of the total labour force is engaged with important sector. Agriculture sector is already experiencing negative impact of climate change, our agricultural land is decreasing by 1% each year, due rapid urbanization we are also losing land, food deficit is increasing- these challenges are going to create serious threats for Bangladesh in achieving food security, budget allocation must keep those challenges in mind, special allocation is needed to enhance our capacity to face these challenges in future. Unfortunately, the proposed budget doesn’t not seem to consider those.

Syed Aminul Haque said, by 2050 demand for food crops will be increased by 30%, but we are experiencing bellow 1 percent crop production growth during last three years. If this trend is going on, Bangladesh will be in serious threat regarding the food security, In the proposed budget there in reflection of preparation for such crisis.

Abdul Majid said, excise duty has been increased to 28% in rice import, but this will not bring any benefit for the farmers, as they have already sold their production. This initiative will benefit the middlemen. Rice collection time must be reconsidered so that marginalised farmers can be benefited.

Saiduzzaman Khokon said, farmers are not getting just price of their products, our demand was a Price Commission, the budget once again has ignored that demand.

Md. Shahabuddin said, in 2017-18 allocation for agriculture subsidy was 9000 crore taka, but 3000 crore taka was not spent. We demand to increase the allocation for subsidy as well as the proper utilization of the allocation. in many cases agriculture subsidy is going to wrong hands, who are not involved with agriculture. This has to be changed.

Mothahar Hossain said, just price of the farmers production must be ensured. Special attecntion in regard in the budget is needed.
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Dhaka, 24 May 2018.Today in a press conference 12 local and national farmers’ organization strongly recommended special allocation in the upcoming budget to build permanent embankment to save coastal agricultural land. From a press conference organized today in the National Press Club, they also demanded National price commission to ensure just price of their agricultural products. The press conference titled ‘We Demand Fair Price Commission for Agriculture Production: Permanent Embankment is Must to Save Coastal Agricultural Land’ was jointly organized by Coastal Farmers’ Association, Bangladesh Fish Workers Alliance, Bangladesh Agricultural Farm Labour Federation, National Women Farmers Association, Bangladesh Adibashi Samity, Haor Farmers and Fishers Alliance, Gram Labour Resource Centre, Nolchira Pani Unnayan Somity, Dighon CIG, Kendriyo Krishak Moitree, Bangladesh Farmers’ Forum and COAST Trust.

The press conference was moderated by Mustafa Kamal Akand of COAST Trust and Md. Mujibul Haque Munir, Secretariat Coordinator of Bangladesh Farmers Forum presented the key positions of the group. Among others Abdul Majid, secretary of Bangladesh Agricultural Farm Labour Federation, Md. Shahabuddin, Secereaty of Coastal Farmers Association, Samsuzzaman Khokon, Chief of the Gram Unnayan Sanagstha also spoke at the occasion.

Md. Mujibul Haque Munir said, 46% of our labour resource are engaged with the agriculture sector, our food security depends on this sector, so at least 20% of total national budget should be allocated for agriculture sector. But even though the size of the national budget is increasing every year, budget for agriculture sector is not increasing proportionately. The national budget of 2017-18 was increased about 30% compared to the budget of 2016-17, but allocation for agriculture was reduced by 0.81%. In the budget of fiscal year 2016-17, allocation for agriculture was 4.01% of the total budget, but in 2017-18 it was reduced to 3.4%. In the Annual Development Plan allocation for the Ministry of Agriculture was only 1.2% of total ADP! One big change in this trend must take place to save out farmers and to save our agriculture.

Abdul Majid said, farmers must control the seed, they must have the seed sovereignty. We have to reduce our dependency on multinational seed companies. We can easily do to that we can make Bangladesh seed sufficient by ensuring capacity building if the Bangladesh Agricultural Development Centre (BADC). We demand special allocation for this public institution.

Md. Shahabuddin said, farmers of Bhola had to spent about 600 taka to produce each 100 Kgs of rice, but the price was just 400 to 450! ensure just price of the farmers’ product, we need to reform the current paddy collection system of the government. Farmers have to sell their rice as soon as they get it from the field, government must start the collection considering that time. But, the process usually starts at a time when farmers already sell their product. Thus, the middlemen are getting the benefits of the government process. We demand national price commission which will supervise the overall process and will ensure just price.

Saiduzzaman Khokon said, in many cases agriculture subsidy is going to wrong hands, who are not involved with agriculture. This has to be changed. In all budget and plan of agriculture participation of farmers must be ensured.

Mustafa Kamal Akanda said, each year we are losing 1% of our agricultural land, about 1 million people are becoming homeless due to river erosion. We demand social allocation to build permanent embankment to save the coastal agricultural land.

The organizers also demanded special initiatives to enhance the jute production, to restrict use of GMO seeds, and control use of agricultural land for other purposes.
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Geneva, 17th March. Rezaul Karim Chowdhury Co-Chair of CCNF (Cox’s Bazar CSO NGO Forum) and Executive Director of COAST in Geneva observed the JRP lunching in UN building in Geneva. JRP sought $950 million for the period of March to December 2018. UNHCR chief Phillip Grandi moderated the session and was attended by Bangladesh State Minister Shahrier Alam, UN Resident Coordinator (RC) from Dhaka Mia Seppo and Bangladesh Red Crescent Society Secretary General Feroz Salah Uddin. They have spoken on the occasion.
State Minister Shahrier Alam M.P repeatedly urged for international community support for political solution of the crisis i.e. repatriation. He expressed his frustration while Bangladesh given the name of 8000, Myanmar government only cleared around 300 names. He also said that how government invested huge amount of officials for refugee management and preparing Bashanchar for relocating at least 100 thousand refuges. He said that this is sort of huge load upon already resource constrained Bangladesh economy.
UNRC mentioned that civil society participation in the JRP has been ensured and localization will be further integrated.
Ambassador Swing of IoM said that, present rate of depleting forest for firewood collection then by the end of 2019 all forest land of Cox’s Bazar will be wither away.
UNHCR chief Phillip Grandi said that there are two pillars of this JRP, the host community and the Rohigya refugees, he also said that it is already a pressure on low development performing district Cox’s Bazar. Almost all the delegates praise the government of Bangladesh for its generosity on hosting this nearly 1 million Rohingyas.
There were critical questions from the floor, from different country delegates including is this not highly ambitious in respect of fund raising? They expressed doubt on whether the target will be fulfilled. There are also question raised, who will lead this relief operation and ensure the quality of coordination?
Before of the lunching, Rezaul Karim Chowdhury ( Executive Director – COAST Trust ) has chaired a NGO session in the conference room of ICVA (International Council of Voluntary Association) on a session on presenting findings of two recent review of Rohingya relief activities. He reiterated the fact that there are fierce competition of visibility from INGOs and UN agencies, in fact which has grossly undermined their commitment toward Grand Bargain principles and the operation has little accountability to the local authority and with little involvement of local NGOs.
The coordination system culture of ISCG (Inter Sectorial Coordination Group) itself has a lot of limitation in this regard, which needed to be overhauled. He clearly mentioned, if there are no clear pathway and integration of reducing transaction cost, accountability to the local authority and their participation and partnering to the local organization, the whole refugee relief will become a burden for local community and of the government in future.
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EquityBD Secretary Office observes the International Mother Language Day today to pay the profound honor to the Martyrs in 1952 who sacrificed their lives for democracy and freedom of speech. Without the mother language we hardly can express our thoughts and expression in the best way.

Giving space to everyone in the society irrespective of class, race, religion and political ideologies was the core idea of this International Mother Language Day. EquityBD pledged to promote the freedom of speech for everyone in the society believing Democracy and tolerance is the best way to achieve this.

Today at 6.30 in the Morning EquityBD officials gathered to the Central Shahid Minar of Dhaka to offer the flower bouquet on the mound of the monument.

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Dhaka, 17 Feb 2018: In a national seminar on “LDC Graduation and Sustainable Development Approach
Bangladesh Perspective” held at CIRDAP auditorium Dhaka, civil societies recommended government to take preparation sustainable graduating from LDCs (Least Development Countries). They also urged to adopt appropriate measures in tackling the current inequality in this regard.

The seminar is organized by EquityBD and LDC Watch jointly and participated by, Rd. Quiz Khaliquzzaman Ahmed, Chairman PKSF as the Chair of the seminar, Dr. Shamsul Alam, Senior Secretary of GED and member of planning commission as special guest, Md. Anwar Hossain, Additional Secretary of ERD and Md. Hafizur Rahman, Deputy Secretary and Director of WTO Cell were in the panel of speakers. Mr. Gauri Pradhan of Nepal, the International Coordinator of LDC Watch was also present in the seminar. Rezaul Karim Chowdhury, the Chief Moderator of EquityBD has moderated the seminar while Syed Aminul Hoque presented the keynote paper.

In the keynote paper presented by the Deputy Director of COAST Trust, Syed Aminul Hoque raised the official recommendations of EquityBD and LDC Watch for Bangladesh including (1) Increase domestic resource mobilization through stopping of tax dodging and illicit financial outflow that would support the government to increase her own investment capacity. (2) Expedite pro-poor budgetary allocation for health and education to develop skilled human asset to face the challenges of LDC graduation. (3) Focus climate resilient critical infrastructure to save coastal people and asset. (4) Effective governance to improve development effectiveness.

In his speech Dr. Quazi Khaliquzzaman Ahmed said, the most important issue of this graduation is the dignity of our nation. We deserve this status and it is not anyone’s kindness for us. We have achieved this based on our hard work and performance. We might lose some facilities and advantages that LDCs enjoy in the world’s economic activities. But, we need to look ahead as we can do better by ourselves. Dr. Shamsul Alam, the Senior Secretary of Bangladesh Government said, Quality Education could be the key focus to face the upcoming challenge for Bangladesh while graduating the LDC status as the current way of Education is not meeting the need of Development challenges. We really are not looking for ODA anymore as an LDC when Bangladesh is expecting to be an investing country after this graduation.

Md. Hafizur Rahman, Director of the WTO cell under the Ministry of Commerce said, as a LDC we are not fully enjoying the Special and Differential Preference neither from the Developed Countries like USA, Russia etc. nor from some Developing Countries like India and China. We are looking forward to the greater opportunities as a middle income country.

Rezaul Karim Chowdhury, the Chief Moderator of EquityBD said, biggest challenge toward the sustainability in LDC graduation are climate disaster and inequalities, we need to develop climate resilient infrastructure.
Mr. Anwar Hossain, Additional Secretary of External Resource Division of Bangladesh Government said, while we will be graduating we might loss some LDC facilities but there are opportunities for us too, we have to develop our competitiveness through quality education.
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Dhaka, 19 March 2019. Today a group of 18 Rights Based Civil Society Networks have demanded the tax money to invest for establishing women's...