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Conference on "The Changing Face of Global Development Finance"

By voice - Posted on 02 February 2008

Conference on "The Changing Face of Global Development Finance"
Ahmed Swapan writes from Ottawa, Canada, February 2, 2008

A conference on "The Changing Face of Global Development Finance - Impacts and Implications for aid, development, the South and the Bretton Woods Institutions" has been held in Ottawa on February 1 and 2, 2008. The conference was co-organized by the Halifax Initiative and co-hosted by the Canadian Council for International Cooperation, The North-South Institute, and The Reality of Aid Network. Civil society organizations from the North and the South attended the two day conference that dealt with a number of sessions concerning the Bretton Woods Institutions.

The conference provided an overview of the current international financial system and its institutions, identified the shifts that are currently taking place, looked into the potential challenges, and examined the alternatives to the World Bank and International Monetary Fund.

Reclaiming People’s Rights to Public Services and Natural Resources

By voice - Posted on 30 January 2008

A Seminar was held today (January 30, 2008) at the Women’s Voluntary Association auditorium in Dhaka titled “Reclaiming People’s Rights to Public Services and Natural Resources,” as part of the programs scheduled for the 2008 Global Economic Justice Forum currently taking place.

Ahmed Swapan Mahmud, executive director of VOICE, moderated the seminar, which began with a presentation on Access to Natural Resources by Rubayat Ahsan, Research fellow, VOICE. Sardar Arif Uddin, Team Leader of Action Aid Bangladesh, Ms. Aude Leroux-Levesque, VOICE Communications Intern, Dr. Piash Karim, Professor of Economics and Sociology at BRAC University, also presented speeches in the seminar.

Dr. Piash Karim protested against the privatization of major industries like jute and water. He warned against the privatization of WASA as it will turn an essential service into a business for profit, just like what happened in many African countries. He said that it is possible to reclaim ownership over the land and forests with a democratic government that is participatory and accountable. The struggle for rights to public services is a global struggle, he said, citing many examples from the past 100 years of similar injustices.

Unity against harmful global policies urged

By voice - Posted on 26 January 2008

Saturday January 26, 2008

Staff Correspondent - New Age
http://www.newagebd.com/2008/jan/26/nat.html

The Global Economic Justice Forum has urged the people to be united against the harmful global policies imposed on the country.
   The forum suggested that the policies for 'people's globalisation' should be given more emphasis than trade globalisation, which protects corporate interests only.
   It also recommended creation of a new world order which will ensure food for all.

Accountability of foreign donors, lenders stressed

By voice - Posted on 25 January 2008

Friday, January 25, 2008

Staff Correspondent - New Age
http://www.newagebd.com/2008/jan/25/nat.html

Foreign aid should be free of conditionalities and donors or lenders must be accountable to the people and governments of recipient countries, rights campaigners said on Thursday.
   External finance only accounts for two per cent of the country’s gross domestic product, and 75 per cent of the foreign money goes back to donor countries and lending agencies in the forms of consultancy fees and payments for foreign procurements, said Piyash Karim, professor of economics at a private university.

Press Conference: From Paris 2005 to Accra 2008: Will Aid Become More Accountable and Effective?

By voice - Posted on 24 January 2008

A Press Conference was held on January 24, 2008 at the Dhaka Reporters Unity titled ’From Paris 2005 to Accra 2008: Will Aid Become More Accountable and Effective?’ in the context of the Paris Declaration and the upcoming High-Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness in Accra, Ghana in September 2008. The conference was organized by the Aid Accountability Group, a newly-formed group of civil society organizations.
A Press Statement was read out by Ahmed Swapan Mahmud, executive director of VOICE and coordinator of the Aid Accountability Group, examining the perspectives of civil society regarding Aid Effectiveness and the High-Level Forum. Dr. Piash Karim, Professor of Economics and Sociology at BRAC University, Omar Tareq Choudhury, Director of Proshika, Zakir Hossain, Executive Director of Nagarik Uddyog, and Saiful Huq, General Secretary of the Workers Party of Bangladesh also presented speeches in the press conference.

Breaking the Cycle of Neo-Liberal Economy: How the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund Stand Against the People

By voice - Posted on 22 January 2008

 

breaking the cycle of neo-liberal hegemonySUMMARY - The World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, for the past few
decades, have provided third-world countries with loans and grants in
the name of such lofty pretexts as ‘poverty reduction’ and
‘international development’. These loans inevitably come tied with
conditions which hinder the country’s growth, a case of stepping on
someone’s chest even as they are being helped up.

The detrimental effects these conditions have had on Bangladesh are
immeasurable, but that does not mean they should pass unnoticed. VOICE
has published this report, a combination of media articles, two
insightful essays, and the summary of a seminar conducted by VOICE on
the eve of the WB-IMF Annual General Meeting held in Washington DC in
2007 on the subject of the subjugation of Bangladesh to World Bank and
IMF policies.

This report will examine the neo-liberal hegemony currently
ensnaring the country from different perspectives, and also stand as a
historical analysis of the role of IFIs in Bangladesh thus far.

Revealing PSI: People’s resistance against policy conditionalities of the IMF

By voice - Posted on 22 January 2008

SUMMARY - policy support instrumentA Policy Support Instrument (PSI) is a policy consisting of abstract
terms and conditions.

Usually, high profile IMF and government
officials discuss such policies. Academics, researchers, and analysts
working on policy issues understand the salient points, but it is
extremely difficult for the general public to understand the logic and
loopholes of such a deal.

During the recent visit of the IMF delegation to Bangladesh, there
were significant discussions and debates around their PSI offer.
Different stakeholders emerged, voicing their concern about the issue
through the media and other outlets. Civil society members, activists,
business groups and the media in Bangladesh once again proved
themselves active in the resistance against IMF impositions. The news
media published reports, opinion, comments, and analysis on the issue,
raising awareness all around the country.

This report is as much a commentary as a compilation of
formerly scattered information about PSI, and has attempted to
demystify PSI going from the definition to the analysis. Different
reports and views of newspapers also help to shed light on the issue
and to document what happened with respect to the PSI agreement.

Global Capital vs. Local Economy: Conditionalities of the IMF and Fiscal Reform

By voice - Posted on 22 January 2008

global capital vs. local economy

SUMMARY - A battle is currently being raged in the global marketplace between
global and local economies. However, with the force of millions of
dollars of global capital supporting it, and a powerful influence over
the local governments and policymakers, the global side is definitely
not playing fair.

The World Bank (WB) and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) have
been lending money to Bangladesh for many years, ostensibly under the
banner of ‘aid’. These loans inevitably come tied with conditions,
which hinder the country’s growth and keep down its people.
IMF-sanctioned policies, such as privatization of public services,
reduction of trade tariffs, supplanting local industries with cash-crop
oriented export industries, and many more, have left Bangladesh and its
people at the mercy of a free market economy which has no qualms with
profiting from the poverty of others.

VOICE participates in the GK3 Conference in Kuala Lampur, Malaysia

By voice - Posted on 15 December 2007

The World Association of Community Radio broadcasters (AMARC) activities were held from December 11 to 13, 2007, at the third Global Knowledge Conference GK3 Event on the Future, in Kuala Lumpur,
Malaysia. One of our VOICE staff, Ms Farjana Akter, joined the AMARC-GK3 programme. As a member of AMARC-WIN delegation, Farjana Akter joined a seminar organized by AMARC on the `Role of Women Broadcasters vis-à-vis Good Governance'. The main objective of this seminar was to empower rural women to promote good governance through community media. The seminar was attended by various community radio broadcasters, NGO activists, and women groups from different regions of the world.

During the seminar, panelists said that Community radio can be used by rural women to empower themselves in their daily life, and that it should be a priority on the agenda because it can help increasing the participatory practice in a society, which leads to the people's governance. Community radio can facilitate the people's access to information and promote their participation on the local level decision-making process, which ultimately results in a greater participatory governance and a more democratic society.

Compensation from polluters demanded

By voice - Posted on 14 December 2007

Friday, December 14, 2007

Staff Correspondent - New Age
http://www.newagebd.com/2007/dec/14/met.html

Researchers and development experts at a briefing on Thursday called for compensation from the countries responsible for environmental degradation with burning huge fuels every year.
   They made the demand at the news briefing styled ‘Linking aid, FDI, International Institutions to Climate Change’ organised by VOICE, a development organisation, at Dhaka Reporters’ Unity.

   They also called for reduction in emission of greenhouse gases by polluters like the USA, Australia and China, budgetary allocation for compensation regarding to environmental challenges, ban on ADB aid on Phulbari Coal Project and compensation of $150 million for damage to Sundarban caused by the cyclone.
   VOICE executive director Ahmed Shopon Mahmud, ActionAid official Amanur Rahman Aman, Professor of Socioeconomics Department at BRAC University Pias Karim and two Canadian researchers Parker Mah and Aude spoke at the news conference.