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A National Consultation was held on April 26, 2008 at the National Press Club in Dhaka titled “Hear the Unheard: A Reality Check on the ADB’s Operations in Bangladesh: Impacts of Policies and Projects on People’s Life and National Economy,” as part of an advocacy campaign to raise awareness on the issue of the ADB in Bangladesh, just a week before the ADB Annual General Meeting in Madrid at the beginning of next month.
Ahmed Swapan Mahmud, executive director of VOICE, led off by presenting the keynote paper, and also moderated the seminar. Md. Shamsoddoha, Secretary of EJWG, Kazi Javed Khaled Pasha from Coastal Development Partnership in Khulna, and Tauhid Ibne Farid of ActionAid Bangladesh, also presented brief speeches on their experiences with ADB projects and policies. Asgar Ali Sabri, Arup Rahee, Md. Hilaluddin, Zakir Hossain, Arshad Siddique, Zakir Kibria, and Prodip Kumar Roy also participated in the discussion.
A panel discussion, led by Professor Anu Mohammad, Department of Economics at Jahangirnagar University, Mr. Hasanul Haq Inu, President of Jatiya Samajtantrik Dal, Mr. Saiful Haque, General Secretary of the Worker’s Party of Bangladesh, and Mrs. Shirin Akter, President of Karmajibi Nari also took place.
Sunday, April 27, 2008
Staff Correspondent - New Age
Speakers at a discussion on Saturday observed that the projects of the Asian Development Bank have neither brought about economic growth nor reduced poverty in Bangladesh, but have rather increased the suffering of the people.
Addressing the meeting on ‘A reality check on the ADB’s operations in Bangladesh, impact of policies and projects on people’s life and national economy’, they also demanded cancellation of the immunity given to this regional bank.
Research-based organisation Voice organised the discussion at the National Press Club.
‘Not only the ADB, but also the other global lending agencies and multi-national companies should be made accountable for their activities in the country,’ Professor Anu Mohammad of Jahangirnagar University told the audience.
He said that the country was facing two types of dangers — one relating to development and the other to poverty reduction — which he said was the outcome of the wrong policies of the global lending agencies and profit-mongering multinational companies working in Bangladesh.
Due to the conspiracy of these companies, said Anu Mohammad, most of the public sector industries have been ruined in the last two decades.
A meeting was organized by VOICE and Borendra Unnayan Procesta (BUP), a local NGO on `Peoples Right to Information: IFI’s accountability’ on 17 March 2008 at the Rajshahi Gender Development Resource Centre (GDRC). The meeting was attended by NGO activists, journalists and different professional groups. Fayezullah Chowdhury, Executive Director of BUP, acted as a moderator and Ahmed Swapan Mahmud, executive Director of VOICE, presented as a key speaker at the meeting.
Ahmed Swapan Mahmud asserted that people have a rightst to access information and our present government has agreed about this issue in order to disseminate information. Financial institutions like the International Monetary Fund (IMF), World Bank (WB) and World Trade Organization (WTO) are not accountable to disseminate all information to the people. People have not even have the right to file a case against them. People in Rajshahi are not informed about the strategies of the projects implemented in their locality. People have no participation in the design of projects, which are made by consultants.
Sunday, April 27, 2008
Staff Reporter - The New Nation
Immunity of the Asian Development Bank (ADB) should be rescinded forthwith to ensure accountability of the international financial institution, speakers demanded at a roundtable discussion yesterday. The special tribunal should scrutinise ADB's operations in the country, the speakers also demanded. VOICE organised the discussion on "Hear the Unheard: A Reality Check of ADB's Operations in Bangladesh" at the Conference Lounge of the National Press Club. Prof Anu Mohammad of Jahangirnagar University (JU), Hasanul Haq Inu, President of Jatiya Samajtantrik Dal (JSD), Saiful Haque, General Secretary of Workers Party of Bangladesh, Md Shamsoddoha, Secretary of Equity and Justice Working Group, Zakir Hossain and Aminur Rasul, among others, attended the roundtable.
Referring to Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper (PRSP) of ADB as a sugar coated bitter pill, Anu Mohammad said the main purpose of the ADB is to exploit the people of Bangladesh rather than remove poverty from the country.
A Seminar was held yesterday afternoon (April 2nd, 2008) by VOICE at the International University of Business Agriculture and Technology (IUBAT) conference room in Uttara on the topic of “Gender Empowerment through Reflect Circles in Rural Bangladesh.”
Ahmed Swapan Mahmud, executive director of VOICE, and Parker Mah, VOICE ICT (Information and Communications Technologies) Intern, presented the seminar, which led off with an introductory speech by the Vice-Chancellor and Founder of IUBAT, Prof. M. Alimullah Miyan. The seminar culminated in the first-ever public screening of a new documentary production by VOICE, ‘Reflect Circles: Realities of Change,’ on the subject of their Reflect Circles.
The Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness was endorsed on March 2nd, 2005, by more than one hundred signatories such as ministers, heads of agencies and senior officials, including all major donor and recipient governments. It presents a road-map intending to improve the efficiency of international aid. Along with giving the developing countries more power in the formulation and implementation of their policies, the Paris Declaration is based on 5 major principles: ownership, alignment, harmonisation, managing for results, and mutual accountability, that should, if applied, help achieve development outcomes that are more aligned with the developing countries' realities and needs.
For the first time, the Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness has been translated by VOICE into Bangla, so can now be easily spread amongst the Bangladeshi community.
Click below to access the full Paris Declaration, Bangla version.
64 International civil society organizations including VOICE stated to ADB Board of Directors in a joint statement to discontinue it's involvement with the Phulbari Coal Project, Bangladesh. The project has already raised serious concerns among the people about displacement, human rights violations, environmental degradation, as well as the violation of several ADB policies. The project is scheduled for approval by the ADB board on 3rd June 2008.
To read the full letter and the details and reasons behind the opposition to this project, download it below in PDF or Word format.
VOICE publishes three books on the topic of international aid and its consequences on the Bangladesh economy
VOICE recently published three new English-language reports on the topic of international aid and its
consequences on the Bangladesh economy.
Revealing PSI: People’s resistance against policy conditionalities of the IMF
Global Capital vs. Local Economy: Conditionalities of the IMF and Fiscal Reform
Breaking the Cycle of Neo-Liberal Economy: How the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund
Stand Against the People
Thursday, February 28, 2008
Staff correspondent - New Age
Jonoganatantra Andolon, a social organisation, on Wednesday demanded that the government ensure the security of Professor Anu Muhammad.
It also demanded a proper investigation into the death threat to Anu Muhammad and the trial of those responsible.
The five-point demand, which was placed at a press conference in Dhaka, also includes restoration of a democratic environment, freedom of expression, active role of the state in ensuring the security of the citizens and ensuring human rights including the right to participate in political, cultural and economic activities.
A TOT (training for trainers) on Economic Literacy and Budget Analysis for Governance (ELBAG) was held in Dhaka, from February 24 to 28 2008. The TOT, organized by ActionAid Bangladesh, brought together many different NGO actors of Bangladesh, including VOICE. The main objective of the TOT was to start an ELBAG process in Bangladesh to promote greater social mobilization, and the bringing together of various groups to focus on areas such as economic literacy, budget analysis, public distribution and the functioning of local services. The TOT learning process focused on a participatory method, with group discussions on the local economy, the household political economy, aid regime and its implications on the structure of budget, budget analysis, etc, and various activities like a budget exercise. The main facilitators of the TOT were Ravi Duggal, consultant from India, Thao Hoang, Regional Coordinator for Governance, ActionAid Asia, and Asgar Ali Sabri, Sector Head for Social Development and Economic Justice, ActionAid Bangladesh.
VOICE already published, in June 2007, a Manual on Economic Literacy, to support the ELBAG process by making the economic literacy notions understood at the grassroots level.