Debt and IFIs

Index_016716th July Addis Ababa. Although today was the last day of the UNFfD (UN Financing for Development) Conference, but the discussion on outcome document to be called as AAA (Addis Action Agenda) formally was closed yesterday evening. G77 plus China group representing all developing and least developed countries led by Brazil, India and South Africa tried best for pursuing the agenda of Intergovernmental Tax Body,

Sustainable Debt Mechanism, Measurable Commitment On Overseas Development Assistance (ODA) including Climate Finance and inclusion of CBDR (common but differential responsibilities) principles in the AAA. But the strong opposition of developed countries especially of UK forced the participating countries to agree on a compromised outcome agreement, virtually which bears no new or little hope for developing countries.

Bangladeshi civil society activists, Asgar Ali Sabri, Mohshin Reza and Rezaul Karim Chowdhury participating in the conference termed the AAA as a document of business as usual of developed countries and said, the Developed Countries somehow are reluctant to come up with new finance even though they are reluctant to take tangible action to tackle illicit financial flow. This will ultimately drain more capital from developing countries compared to what developed country provide as ODA.

Tove Maria Ryding, the Policy Advocacy Manager for Tax Justice of Brussels based European Network on Debt and Development (EURODAD) said that, after three days of bullying, developing countries finally are run over. The consequence of the Addis Ababa outcome is that more than 100 developing countries will remain excluded from decision making on global tax standards, she added.

Dr Abdul Momen, Bangladesh’s Permanent Representative to UN spoke as one of the panelists in a side event organized by ACG (Addis Civil Society Group), Third World Network and Eurodad held at Elilly International Hotel. He said, “There is a need for reform in global financial architecture and global governance where developing especially least developed countries have little policy space. He urged global community especially developed countries to come forward with a new challenging financing model like Marshal Plan to finance and support UN Post 2015 Sustainable Development Goals (SDG). Implementation of SDG is imperative to save planet and humanity, he added in his speech.

The side event was moderated by Tessa Khan of APWLD (Asia Pacific Women on Law and Development) while the other speakers are Mr Adrian Nador, Ambassador of Argentina, Ms Bhumika Muchala of Third World Network and Mr Manuel Montes of South Centre.

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Dhaka, 7th December 2011. Equity and Justice Working Group Bangladesh (EquityBD) today in statement, express their grave concern on a recent move by Asian Development Bank (ADB) in World Bank (WB)’s Pilot Project on Climate Resilience (PPCR) for US $ 25,000 grant to assist Bangladesh Capacity Building and Knowledge Management in respect of climate change. According to PPCR management, if there are no objection by 13th October the grant will be approved.

PPCR is a window of Climate Investment Fund of World Bank, created with the contribution of developed countries, in fact to create an instances of by passing the process of creating Green Climate Fund (GFC) under UNFCCC, that developing countries demanding, whereby there will be less control of international financial institution. In contrast to the demand of developing countries, developed countries demand is to have strong role of World Bank in climate finance.

Developed countries and also the international financial institution (IFI) like WB and ADB putting the carrot of PPCR that country like Bangladesh should be a recipient of PPCR, so that they can showcase the country that Bangladesh has already took money from PPCR. In fact which is to demoralize other developing countries in their demand in lesser or no role of WB in climate finance? It should be noted that EquityBD and other civil society organizations already protested and urged not to take any money from WB PPCR in the name of climate financing.

EquityBD urged, relevant government agency to explain, i.e., why and how the demand is being realized and why it has not been considered as it is a very small money, and how ADB has applied for such a small money in the name of Bangladesh. We strongly feel that for knowledge management and capacity building such a small money could be easily funded from the government even which could be funded from Bangladesh Climate Change Trust Fund (BCCTF). We also demand an explanation of governments External Resource Division (ERD) on their role in this respect. This is shameful and this is a reflection of begging mentality of some quarters in the government.

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Dhaka, 17th September. Today sixteen civil society organizations leaded by EquityBD organized a human chain in front of national press club to raise citizen concern on the eve of upcoming UN MDG summit to be held in New York during 20 to 22nd September. They demand cancellation of foreign debt which is now per head $ 159 and which would be around $ 250 in 2015 to finance millennium development goal in Bangladesh, as they claimed that most of the debt are illegitimate and spent to promote elite and ruler class in this country. They blamed the developed countries as responsible for climate change thus also in most respect responsible for poverty in Bangladesh. The group also criticized the government expenditure, they demanded accountability and justice in this regard, in their written statement, and they expressed frustration on rampant corruption and lack of decentralization. They mentioned that government must bring justice in their expenditure while they urging people for taxes. The program was moderated by Mustafa Kamal Akanda of EquityBD, was spoken by Shamima Akhter of Asow, Fakhrul Ferdous of DCI, Subol Sarkar of Bhumihin Somiti, Mahbub Hasan of CDP, Badrul Alam of BKF, Zaid Iqbal of Bangladesh Krishok Federation, Sahadat Islam Chowdhury of Pradip and Rezaul Karim Chowdury of EquityBD.

The sixteen organizations consists Arpon, Asow, BKF, Bangladesh Krishok Federation, CDP, DCI, DORA, EquityBD, Krishani Shova, Lead Trust, On line knowledge Center, Protikrit, Prodip, Prantik, Purbasha, Sirjganj Flood Forum and United People Trust.

Shamima Akhter of Asow criticizes some of the CSO activities in this regard, she mentioned that poverty is not the matter of celebration and fan fare activities, they must avoid lavish expenditure. Fakrul Ferdous of DCI condemned them as a poverty industry syndrome, he mentioned that as still 40 % population are in poverty and 25 % are hard core poor, then there should not be a matter of complacence. Subol Sarkar of Bhumihin Somitee demanded state mechanism to redistribute means of production and asset transfer to landless poor farmers.

Mahbub Hasan of CDP raise question on role of big government delegation in UN MDG summit. He mentioned the useless role of same sort of big delegation during Copenhagen climate summit. Badrul Alam of BKF also demanded cancellation of foreign debt as those money mostly used and abused by elite and ruler class of the country. Zaid Iqbal of Krishok Federation echoed the same tone he demanded independent audit commission of all foreign debt.

Rezaul Karim Chowdhury of EquityBD has also criticized the big government delegation for UN summit; he also criticized tax free high salary and facilities for parliament members, which is as he claimed as injustice and an expression of unaccountability to the people. Without justice and accountability in public expenditure MDG and poverty eradication is hardly possible and we can not justify our demand for more foreign aid.

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Dhaka, 19th November 2008: Today in a seminar organized by EquityBD held in national press club, titled “Doha Conference on Development Financing: Reproduction of Poverty in Bangladesh and Demand for Compensation’ speakers inquired this interim government to declare country position in terms of development financing in public in the upcoming United Nations Finance for Development (UNFFD) conference to be held in Doha during 29th Nov – 2nd Dec 2008. They requested the Finance Minister not to take the position in line with the World Bank and Asian Development Bank. Speakers also urged the politicians and bureaucrats to come out from the dependency on foreign aid, and give concern in the mobilization of domestic resources.

EquityBD convenor Rezaul Karim Chowdhury moderated the seminar while Md. Shamsuddoha, Secretary General of the organization reviewed the outcomes of Monterrey Consensus, the 1st World Conference of Development Financing, and highlighted the expectation from the Doha conference.

Among others, Professor Dr. Abu Ahmed, Sapatahiki Editor Golam Mortaza, BSS Editor Joglul Ahmed Chowdhury, Ex MP Sahiduzaman and Shamsuzzaman Dudu, Ex Ambassador Waliur Rahman, Journalist Farooque Ahmed, AHM Bazlur Rahaman, Mostafa Kamal Akanda took part in the discussion. Md. Shamsuddoha, in his presentation, urged that Bangladesh require innovative financing instruments as the country is facing climate change risk and the Finance Minister who will lead the country delegation in Doha conference should demand SIDR cyclone and climate change compensation. He also inquired government position in asking reform of World Bank and International Monetary Fund, debt cancellation and reparation of historical exploitation. He also mentioned that study shows that Bangladesh pay $ 1.50 for per $ 1.00 of aid and loan money.

Dr. Abu Ahmed said ‘historically development aid is practiced as a part of system that generates deepening inequality and dependence across and within the country’. The rich countries always try to sell their loans by the name of development projects, we should innovate mechanism to mobilize resource of our own. He also demanded to disclose statistics of foreign currency drain in the frame of profit repatriation, education and health expenditure of rich people in abroad. Journalist Farooque Ahmed mentioned that aid / foreign loan has made a commercialization of development. Ex MP Sahiduzzaman and Shamsuzzaman Dudu, stated that a patriotic and democratic government is a must for pro poor domestic resource based economy. Shaptahiki Editor Golam Mortaza demanded that the government should not negotiate further on any loan with international financial institutions and also not to sign any contract with any foreign company, until a political government takes power in the country. Prominent journalist and columnist Jaglul Ahmed Chowdhury urged to examine the present global crisis that Bangladesh can take some opportunities. Ex Ambassador Waliur Rahaman argued all the politicians and others to take a vision for silver jubilee of the liberation of Bangladesh in 2021 for a sovereign economy without any foreign aid and loan.

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Index_161108Dhaka 16th November 2008. Today Equity and Justice Working Group Bangladesh (equitybd) has organized a press conference in Dhaka Reporter Unity, as stated they suppose to organize a human chain in front of national high court building on 15th November, but they failed to get police permission, in relation they have organized this press conference. They are observing one year anniversary of cyclone SIDR, simultaneously they are also protesting President Bush’s anti crisis meeting to day along with the heads G20 countries in Washington. This is the meeting happening to sort out on how to overcome present global economic crisis the world especially the developed and advance developed countries are facing. The press conference spoken by Rezaul Karim Chowdhury, Mostafa Kamal Akanda, Md. Shamsuddoha, AHM Bazlur Rahman, Sahadat Islam Chowdhury and others.

Speakers said that, according to the donors and World Bank assessment there was SIDR damage of 1.7 billion dollars but the country has received only 350 million dollar so far as aid from other countries, which is only reparation of 20.5 % of the total damages. The speakers mentioned climate change and carbon emission of the developed country is the major responsible of cyclone like SIDR in Bangladesh. They demand compensation as ecological debt from the developed country like USA and EU and also from advance developing countries like India, China and Brazil, who are also in line of developed countries, increasing their carbon emissions.

They demanded white paper from government, non government and UN organization on use of aid money in SIDR rehabilitation.

They also blamed the approach of unlimited freedom of market and limitless greed for profit is the main root cause of global financial crisis ultimately which is also creating climate catastrophic, especially causing worse suffering in Bangladesh. There is an initiative for reform in global financial governance from UN, Ban Ki Moon formed a committee headed by prominent economist Joseph Stiglitz, and by passing this President Bush has called this today’s meeting. Speakers mentioned that, this is an ill perceived approach just to save World Bank and IMF basically who is the promoter of blanket privatization and liberalization. Speakers demanded participation of all the UN members, especially civil society from developing countries in reform of the global financial governance, they also demanded World Bank and IMF should be brought under UN control.

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adb_indexDhaka 17 April 2008: [/B]Equity & Justice Working Group (EJWG) in association with several other organizations- VOICE, the Innovators, Advancing Public Interest Trust, Coastal Development Partnership, Bangla Praxis- organized a peoples’ dialogue on ‘ Impact of ADB finance policies and ADB backed projects in Bangladesh’ at the National Press Club Auditorium in Dhaka.

The participating organizations presented a number of ADB financed projects as case like; Khulna-Jessore Drainage Project, Sundarban Biodiversity Conservation Project, Fulbari Coal Mining Project etc. which has created local level social tension and environmental disasters and finally considered as fail projects. The presenters pointed out that although ADB publicly advocates democracy, rule of law, human rights, poverty alleviation etc. but in Bangladesh it is obvious that ABD finance policies and loan conditionalities are reproducing poverty putting the country in the vicious cycle of indebtness. Following the presentation of the impacts of ADB finance projects and ADB Country Assistance and Program (CSP) the representatives of political party leaders and CSOs representatives expressed their views on ADB financing in Bangladesh. They also asked the government of Bangladesh to find out alternative funding sources other than ADB, the World Bank and IMF.

Mr Mahmudur Rahman Manna, law maker of Bangladesh Awami League-AL, said the country needs a strong political commitment for denying the hegemony of the international financial institutions; all political parties should work together to reach a consensus of avoiding IFIs loan and formulate internal and realistic national poverty reduction strategies basing on incoming remittances and domestic resources. But irony is that our political leaders even many NGO/CSO representatives don’t feel comfort criticizing finance and loan policies of the IFIs.

In relation to ADB’s five years CSP, from 2006 to 2010, Dr. Hasan Mahmud, another AL law maker, pointed out that ADB will no more finance on forestry and biodiversity, rural livelihoods development, clean fuel development etc. which clearly indicates that ADB country CSP is not poverty focused; it’s development strategy is strongly influenced by the neo-liberal economic policies. We should raise this concern in the ADB’s high level policy meetings.
Mr. Mohiuddin Ahmed, Chairperson Jubilee South-APMDD and Advisor EJWG moderated smooth functioning of the dialogue. Among others Mr. Golam Habib Dulal, Jatiya Party law maker and ex-parliament member , Rezaul Karim Chowdhury, Md Shamsuddoha and Mustafa Kamal of EJWG’, Ahmed Swapon of VOICE, Zakir Kibria of Bangla Praxis, Zaved Khalid Joy of CDP, Sabbir Shams of APIT and Zakir Hossain of Innovators took part in the discussion.

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