Climate-impacted countries like Bangladesh need financial, tech support: UN Resident Coordinator
UN Resident Coordinator in Bangladesh Gwyn Lewis on Tuesday (November 08, 2022) said loss and damages, and adaptation need to be on the table at COP27 and urgent steps need to be taken to provide financial and technological support to most impacted countries like Bangladesh. “Climate action is obviously on top of the agenda,” she said, touching on some of the areas of UN’s focus to support Bangladesh. Speaking at “DCAB Talk”, held at Jatiya Press Club in Dhaka, Lewis said climate change is also impacting Bangladesh’s economy. DCAB President Rezaul Karim Lotus and General Secretary AKM Moinuddin also spoke at the event. Read more: Political violence 'absolutely a concern', says UN Resident Coordinator The UNRC said COP27 comes at a time when South Asia is “impacted in unprecedented ways” by climate change, whether it is the floods in Sylhet and Sunamganj, Bangladesh or in Pakistan and repeated cyclones in India and Bangladesh in recent years. “Unfortunately, climate talks have been bogged down with politics and economic pressures, so we need to see more citizen action and listen to the voices of people living in Bangladesh, particularly young people and women who are often excluded,” she said. One of the recommendations following the recent visit of the Special Rapporteur on Climate Change and Human Rights to Bangladesh was to focus on inclusion and making sure the voices of the most marginalised were included in decision-making, said the UN official. “UN plans to further work on supporting the government to implement the national adaptation plan and the other policy frameworks such as the Delta Plan and the Mujib Climate Prosperity action plan,” she said, adding that the UN with their NGO and Red Crescent partners are also supporting disaster risk management and humanitarian efforts led by the ministry. Read more: 'Highway to climate hell with foot on accelerator': UN Chief warns at COP27 Lewis said there are also ongoing programmes to support migrants and displaced people who are forced to leave their homes due to the impact of climate change. By one estimate, up to 50% of those now living in Bangladesh’s urban slums may be there because they were forced to flee their rural homes as a result of riverbank erosion or flooding, she said. The data shows that from 2000 to 2019, Bangladesh suffered economic losses worth over $3.72 billion due to extreme weather events linked to climate change, said the UN official. This leads to another area of work that the UN is supporting in Bangladesh – economic growth and LDC graduation, she said. Read more: Honour COP26 commitments, double provisions for adaptation by 2025: PM Hasina writes “The growth of Bangladesh’s economy over the past 20 years has been extraordinary, as has been the reduction in poverty,” Lewis said. Before coronavirus hit the country, Bangladesh had been advancing fairly well to qualify for graduation. “Although the pandemic has been disruptive, the economy remained on a positive track. However, the current food and fuel crisis generated by the war is also creating pressures and uncertainty, including for the markets for Bangladeshi goods overseas,” Lewis said. In this global climate, she said, although there are benefits to LDC graduation, there are also risks. Read More: COP27: Bangladesh to reiterate call to materialize $100bn pledged for developing countries The UN official said graduation will enhance the confidence of the country in dealing with the international financial bodies, improve Bangladesh’s credit rating and attract higher foreign direct investment flow. However, she said, graduation will also affect certain preferential treatments in trade, subsidies to agriculture and access to some LDC-specific funds. “The risks need to be mitigated and this is where I hope that the UN’s technical support can be useful,” Lewis said, adding that further diversification and greater efforts are needed to attract foreign direct investment and meet the requirements for trade agreements when Bangladesh reaches middle income status. She said the UN is working to support the government in the development of a smooth transition strategy. Training of young people in IT and new technologies to make them better equipped for the future is one area where effort could be expanded. Read More: COP27: UN experts for complete integration of human rights standards, principles into negotiations Another is the creation of new industries and continuing to make Digital Bangladesh a reality, said the UN official. “I would also like to emphasize however, as important as LDC graduation is, middle income status is only a stepping stone,” Lewis said, adding that ultimately the objective is to achieve sustainable development goals and leave no one behind. The UN official said achieving the SDGs goes beyond economic growth and focuses on improving health, education, social protection and good governance. Bangladesh’s social indicators, such as gender equity, women’s empowerment, mortality rate, life expectancy, immunisation and access to water and sanitation have improved dramatically over the past 50 years, she said. Read What can COP27 do for climate vulnerable countries? Investments in social services, however, need to continue to grow with the growing population, and with the growing expectations of people who are living in a middle-income country, UN Resident Coordinator in Bangladesh Gwyn Lewis said.
Political violence ‘obviously a concern’, says UN Resident Coordinator
UN Resident Coordinator (UNRC) in Bangladesh Gwyn Lewis has made it clear that it is not for her or the UN to take decisions or engage in the election process of Bangladesh and laid emphasis on peaceful exercise of political activities. She said people have been injured and killed over the past months which is “obviously a concern” and called for “calm” and to find avenues for discussion. “It’s not for me or the UN to really decide and engage in election,” Lewis said, adding that there is no mandate for the UN to engage in election here unless they get a specific request from the Security Council or General Assembly or the country. Lewis made the remarks while responding to a question at “DCAB Talk” held at Jatiya Press Club. DCAB President Rezaul Karim Lotus and its General Secretary AKM Moinuddin also spoke. Read: Dhaka seeks proactive role from Thailand, ASEAN to repatriate Rohingya The UNRC said she is talking with the ministry of home affairs and also talking with various security forces to try and protect lives and find ways on how things can be done in a safe way. Lewis said despite other major developing crises in the world, the United Nations continues to focus on the Rohingya issue, and has been trying to find a political solution. “It’s incredibly challenging. The focus is there,” she said, adding that they are working on the ground for the safe and dignified return of the displaced Rohingyas – currently in Bangladesh – to Myanmar.
India not a strategic rival or competitor for China: Ambassador Jiming
He sees promising outlook, brighter future for Dhaka-Beijing relations Chinese Ambassador to Bangladesh Li Jiming on Wednesday said his country does not have any “strategic rivalry or hostility” to Bangladesh’s friendly neighbor India at all. The envoy said the two countries - India and China can "closely work together" to “resolve any economic, geopolitical and other issues” in this region and beyond. “We never view India as a strategic rival or strategic competitor of China,” he said while speaking at “DCAB Talk” held at Jatiya Press Club. Diplomatic Correspondents Association, Bangladesh (DCAB) organised its flagship programme. DCAB President Rezaul Karim Lotus and General Secretary AKM Moinuddin also spoke at the programme. Energy Cooperation Media reported that India and China have been increasingly buying discounted Russian oil as global energy prices remain high. Responding to a question, Ambassador Jiming said China is an importer of LNG and other products and generally speaking China is not in a good position to export those kinds of products to Bangladesh. “If there is an emergency situation, I think, as always, China will not sit idle and keep watching,” he said, adding that both sides are in discussion on the possibility of any emergency supply. Rohingya Crisis On the Rohingya crisis, Ambassador Jiming said China keeps putting its efforts in pursuing early repatriation, and, at the same time, helps to improve settlement facilities to relieve local sufferings. “We also appreciate Bangladesh for coping well with the turbulence along the Myanmar border,” he said. “You need sincere support from the Myanmar side,” he said, adding that they have an Asian way of solving it. Asked then why the Rohingya issue is not being resolved, he said that China is seriously and sincerely working towards that end. "We are working silently.” The envoy also talked about debt management, global development initiative, trade and investment issues. “There is no Chinese debt trap in Bangladesh. There is no Chinese debt trap globally,” he said. The envoy also said China “never acts against Muslims in the country” and they have no particular reason to hate or discriminate against any group. “This is totally fake news (what you see in Uyghur). I can tell you with certainty,” he said. Read: ‘Some misunderstandings can hurt Bangladesh-China relations’ The Chinese envoy said he is personally a “big fan” of India, and he used to travel to many Indian places and made many friends. He also laid emphasis on resolving all the problems in the region in an “Asian way” and said that is the basic intention of China. Describing the situation in Europe as “miserable”, Ambassador Jiming said, “Do you want to see what happened in Europe to happen here in our region? I don’t think you want to see that. So, let’s solve all the problems in an Asian way.” The envoy said his country will continue to work closely with Bangladesh to ensure development, peace and stability in the region. “China-Bangladesh relations have grown healthily and steadily, and (I) foresee a promising outlook. We are ready to work with Bangladesh for a brighter future,” he said. The envoy said China wants a "peaceful and stable" Bangladesh as “peace and stability” are preconditions for development. Any problem, therefore, should be resolved in a democratic and peaceful way, he said, adding that China considers Bangladesh as a "very good strategic partner" and continues to improve the relations with it. The envoy said that China shares the same views like Bangladesh on the Ukraine issue and highlighted the importance of having dialogue and discussion to resolve problems peacefully. “We both stand with peace and call for appropriate settlement of the concerns of all through diplomatic channels,” he said. Read: “If China can excavate Teesta, people’s lives will improve a great deal"
German envoy “unhappy” over BNP misquoting him on democracy & human rights in Bangladesh
German Ambassador to Bangladesh Achim Troster has expressed displeasure over what he says BNP misquoted him on Bangladesh’s democracy and human rights issues after his meeting with the party’s leaders last month. “I read that I had uttered concerns about the human rights situation and democracy in the country. This is not true. I was unhappy about this (misquoting),” he said. The German Ambassador made the remarks while responding to a question at "DCAB Talk" hosted by Diplomatic Correspondents Association, Bangladesh (DCAB) at Jatiya Press Club. Also read:Quran burnings in Sweden: Freedom of religion must be respected, says Dhaka DCAB President Rezaul Karim Lotus and its General Secretary AKM Moinuddin also spoke. The ambassador said he and his deputy had a meeting with BNP leaders at BNP Chairperson's Gulshan office at the invitation of BNP standing committee member Amir Khasru Mahmud Chowdhury which was attended by BNP Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir.
Will follow next polls very closely amid Bangladesh’s growing importance globally: EU
Ambassador and Head of Delegation of the European Union (EU) to Bangladesh Charles Whiteley on Monday said they will be following the next general election “very closely” because the international community is “very interested” in what happens in Bangladesh amid its growing engagement globally as a developing economic power house. “I think we’ll be following it very closely. Why we’ll be following it very closely is not because we want to interfere but the international community is very interested in what happens in Bangladesh,” he said. The Ambassador said everybody has a stake in what happens in that election in Bangladesh which is a strategic part of this region and a developing economic power house where ties are developing. The EU envoy made the remarks while responding to a question at “DCAB Talk” held in a city hotel. Diplomatic Correspondents Association, Bangladesh (DCAB) President Pantho Rahaman and its General Secretary AKM Moinuddin also spoke at the event. Read: GSP-plus vulnerability criteria: BGMEA thanks EU for removing 7.4% import-share threshold Ambassador Whiteley said the key word around elections is exactly the “process” and elections are not events.
Election should be Bangladesh-led process: Dickson
British High Commissioner to Bangladesh Robert Chatterton Dickson on Wednesday said anything related to election should be a Bangladesh-driven and Bangladesh-led process, noting that it is not foreigners to say how the election should be held here. “It’s not for the foreigners to say how the election should be carried out,” he said, adding that it is a matter for the Bangladeshi people to decide. The High Commissioner said there is plenty of expertise and talent in Bangladesh to make the election a Bangladesh-driven process reflecting the values of the country’s constitution. The British envoy made the remarks while responding to a question at “DCAB Talk” held at Jatiya Press Club. Diplomatic Correspondents Association, Bangladesh (DCAB) hosted the event. DCAB President Pantho Rahaman and its General Secretary AKM Moinuddin also spoke at the event. High Commissioner Dickson said it would be good to have an election that is transparent and openly contested. Read: Dickson lauds Bangladesh's efforts on climate front He thinks it is important that all the voices and all political parties are able to participate in the elections and are able to have confidence in the electoral process. The High Commissioner referred to the Bangladesh constitution and laid emphasis on fulfilling the constitutional ambition.
UN arrival at Bhasan Char to ease better int’l coordination for repatriation: Japan
Seeking sustained international pressure on Myanmar to achieve the Rohingya repatriation goal, Japanese Ambassador to Bangladesh has said the signing of an MoU between Bangladesh and the UNHCR to begin UN engagement in Bhasan Char will pave the way for even better cooperation and coordination on the Rohingya repatriation process. “It’s very important that the international community puts pressure on Myanmar as part of the repatriation work. How? I think it depends on the individual country,” he told diplomatic correspondents at “DCAB Talk” on Thursday emphasizing the importance of peace and stability in the region. Read: Japan to provide more vaccine doses through COVAX in Nov Diplomatic Correspondents Association, Bangladesh (DCAB) organized its flagship programme at Jatiya Press Club. DCAB President Pantho Rahaman and its General Secretary AKM Moinuddin also spoke at the event. Responding to a question on how the international community can put pressure on Myanmar, Ambassador Naoki said there has been pressure coming through UN resolutions which is of course one way while the other possibility is direct contact or direct representation. “I would say Japan has been doing this by making the use of the channels that Japan has established. So, we directly communicated with the Myanmar military side,” he said. The Japanese envoy said Japan might not have played a very prominent role but he thinks Japan has been playing a very important role in its own way. “Japan has been doing what Japan can do. We’ll continue to do that.”
World needs journalists more than ever: Mia Seppo
UN Resident Coordinator in Bangladesh Mia Seppo on Sunday said the world needs journalists more than ever to bring out truth while effectively dealing with the life-threatening misinformation. “It’s ironic that in a moment with most access to information there’s an avalanche of life-threatening misinformation out there,” she said. The UN official said the journalists have the responsibility to bring out truth, spread science-based facts that save lives, protect people and ensure rights. “That’s the power of your pen. Use that power as a force for good.” The UN Resident Coordinator was addressing the “DCAB Talk” organized by the Diplomatic Correspondents Association, Bangladesh (DCAB) at the Foreign Service Academy. Also read: UN to provide electoral assistance to Bangladesh if requested: Mia Seppo DCAB President Pantho Rahaman and its General Secretary AKM Moinuddin also spoke at the “DCAB Talk” where UNRC Mia shared UN views on Rohingya and Afghanistan crises, issues related to Bhasan Char, climate change, sustainable and inclusive Covid recovery, Digital Security Act (DSA), gender issues and cooperation framework. Mia said reports from journalists can help educate and clarify perceptions; as well as reconcile people and inspire patriotism.
India offers Covid vaccine for Bangladesh army
Indian High Commissioner to Bangladesh Vikram Kumar Doraiswami on Monday said India has offered Covid-19 vaccine shots for Bangladesh Army.
Don’t switch to other countries: China to Bangladeshi businesses
Chinese Ambassador to Bangladesh Li Jiming on Monday urged Bangladeshi businesses not to switch over its supply chain to any other countries as an alternative to China in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak.