Dhaka, Sept 13 (UNB) - Bangladesh has received a special award in Bangkok from the UN Office for South-South Cooperation (UNOSSC) Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific and UNESCAP in recognition of its outstanding contributions to South-South Cooperation.
Permanent Representative of Bangladesh to the UNESCAP Ambassador Saida Muna Tasneem received the award on Wednesday on behalf of the government in a special ceremony at the UNESCAP, said a press release on Thursday.
Commenting on the Award, Ambassador Tasneem said the outstanding Contributions Award was given by the UN to seven countries from the Asia and the Pacific, including Bangladesh, India, China, Fiji, Indonesia, Thailand and Japan, for their outstanding contributions to promotion of South-South and Triangular Cooperation.
Bangladesh received the Award for its pioneering role in building social innovation partnerships over the past decade through the South-South Network for Public Service Innovation under Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s Public Service Delivery Innovations utilising the ‘Digital Bangladesh Access to Information Platform’.
The UNOSCC Regional Coordinator for Asia and Pacific Denis Nkala highly praised Bangladesh and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina for her sustained commitment and leadership to the South-South partnerships in advancing Public Service Delivery Innovation leveraging digital technologies.
Ambassador Tasneem also made a presentation at a panelist at the South-South Cooperation 40th Anniversary Commemorative programme the UNESCAP on ‘Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s development partnership philosophy on Innovation, titled, ‘If you want to go far and fast, innovate together’.
She highlighted more than 20 different collaborative projects that Bangladesh has shared over the past few years with 20 different countries from the global South in Asia, Pacific, Africa and Latin America under the South-South Public Service Innovation Network.
Dhaka, Sept 13 (UNB) - Member of the European Parliament (MEP) Sajjad Karim on Thursday called for stopping the European Union (EU) trade preferences for Myanmar and taking up Rohingya case at the United nations (UN).
Speaking during the European Parliament’s September plenary session, Dr Karim called for the South East Asian country’s trade preferences that it currently enjoys with the European Union to be fundamentally reviewed and for the EU to ensure that Myanmar does not go unchecked at United Nations level.
The debate in Strasbourg was on a resolution - co-authored by the British MEP - on the situation in the country and the imprisonment of the two journalists - Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo.
Dr Karim urged Europe to take the lead in the international community on the situation in Myanmar.
Addressing the Parliament, he said, “For some time now, my delegation has been very hesitant to call for the trade relationship we have with Myanmar to be reviewed, but today following this latest development, we find ourselves in a situation where we can no longer simply say that Myanmar is a country that deserves the trade access we provide to it. There needs to be a fundamental review of that relationship.”
Along with that, of course, Dr Karim said, the UN has provided us with an appropriate report, which is very clear in its findings.
He said as an international community and as a set of institutions, Europe must ensure that it provides its support to the international community, so at a United Nations level, they must do the right thing and ensure the voices that they have at the table there are not allowing Myanmar to go unchecked.
“Our voice must be the loudest at that table,” Dr Karim said.
For the past 12 years, Dr Karim has been one of the most active Members of the European Parliament in raising the issue of Rohingya Muslims, including through various resolutions, parliamentary questions and has previously appealed for the European Parliament President, Antonio Tajani, to review Aung San Suu Kyi’s award back in September 2017.
He has also written to Representative Mogherini asking what steps the European Commission intends to take to help the Rohingya and made calls for them to be given official Myanmar citizenship once the crisis has been resolved, according to a message received from his office.
Dhaka, Sept 13 (UNB) - The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the government of Bangladesh jointly launched ‘Efficient and Accountable Local Governance (EALG)’ project on Thursday to further strengthen its local government structure for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The project will focus on 16 upazilas and 240 unions under 8 districts.
The five-year project will be implemented in Faridpur, Chandpur, Rajshahi, Khulna, Patuakhali, Sunamganj, Rangpur and Netrokona districts to strengthen governance framework of Upazila Parishad and improve service delivery to achieve the SDGs.
An inception workshop was held in the city in this regard organized by the Local Government Division, Ministry of Local Government, Rural Development and Cooperatives.
Inaugurating the workshop, LGRD and Cooperatives Minister Khandker Mosharraf Hossain said the government as per its election pledges, amended the Upazila Parishad Act to enable elected representatives of people to work independently and effectively.
“Our government has taken steps for strengthening local government institutions as a strategy to strengthen the democracy at the grassroots levels, this project will further help us to do so and paving the way for Sustainable Development Goals,” he said.
The project is funded jointly by DANIDA, Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) and UNDP and implemented by the Local Government Division, Government of Bangladesh with total budget of $7.11m.
Deputy Head of Mission and Director of Cooperation of the Embassy of Switzerland Beate Elsaesser also attended it and said that EALG’s intervention would enable citizen participation in LGI functions especially in the planning and budgeting process.
Deputy Head of Mission, Embassy of Denmark Refika Hayta urged the ministry to take affirmative policy actions aligning with the priorities set in the 7th five-year plan.
Country Director, UNDP Bangladesh Sudipto Mukerjee said, “Through this project we are supporting the government to localize SDGs for the first time, by including them in planning and budgeting of local government.”
It will also strengthen the capacity of the Union Parishads and provide policy support to the government for establishing effective local government system through citizens’ participation, said UNDP.
Dr Zafar Ahmed Khan, Senior Secretary, Local Government Division, Amitavh Sarker, Additional Secretary, LGD and National Project Director, EALG, Abu Shahin M Ashaduzzaman, Project Coordinator EALG and MdIftikher Ahmed Chowdhury, Deputy Secretary, LGD also spoke.
Representatives from the government, local government and Members of Parliament were present at the workshop.
Dhaka, Sept 13 (UNB) – Planning Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal on Thursday urged the private sector to come up in a bigger way for further development of the country saying the government wants to see private sector in the driving seat in real sense.
“We give priority to private sector. Prime Minister (Sheikh Hasina) is committed and she believes that private sector will come forward in a bigger way and there will be a boom from the private sector. And it will happen,” he said.
Minister Kamal was addressing as the chief guest at a business networking luncheon hosted by Bangladesh-German Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BGCCI) in a city hotel.
BGCCI President Barrister Omar Sadat opened the meeting. Bangladesh Investment Development Authority (BIDA) Executive Chairman Kazi M Aminul Islam and President and Group Managing Director of CEMS Global Meherun Nesa, among others, spoke.
The theme of the event was ‘Emerging Bangladesh: Business Friendly Policies and Plans’.
The Planning Minister assured of addressing problems to boost both domestic and Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in Bangladesh. “We’re aware of the problems. We’re giving our efforts to resolve those problems.”
“Be more serious. We need more investment. We want investment from Germany, too. Our FDI flow is low. That should be increased,” he said.
The Planning Minister laid emphasis on diversifying the export baskets and mentioned some areas like leather, pharmaceuticals, plastic and furniture so that overall export can be increased not only depending on readymade garments.
Talking about energy crisis, he said enable energy, specially solar energy can be the best alternative as oil and gas are decreasing globally.
BIDA Executive Chairman gave credit to private sector for the achievement Bangladesh made in many areas. “Private sector has to take the lead and public sector will support with required policies.”
Kazi Aminul said the private sector has lot of issues but it is true that things have changed compared to disappointing scenario in the past. “We’ve to do lot of work. We need right policy. We’re trying to resolve the problems (faced by businesspeople).”
He also laid emphasis on product diversification and focus one at least five more areas to boost export volume.
BGCCI President Omar Sadat sought special economic zone for German investors in the country like India and China are getting here.
He pointed out a number of problems – infrastructure gap, land acquisition, inefficient bureaucracy and lack of skilled workforce and sought initiatives to address the problems.
Dhaka, Sept 13 (UNB) - A two-day conference on China's Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and South Asia concluded at the University of Hull in the UK on Thursday.
Participants from China, India, Singapore, Bangladesh and the USA attended the conference that discussed a number of papers on the subject, according to a press release received here from London.
Syed Badrul Ahsan, Editor-in-Charge of The Asian Age, took part in the conference.