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VOICE initiated their Food Sovereignty Campaign in 2002 with an aim to build critical awareness and strengthen social movements on the people’s sovereign right to seed and food. Due to the neo-liberal economic framework imposed by the World Bank, IMF, the WTO and other IFIs, the agriculture system in Bangladesh has been decimated by structural adjustment policies and a seed market diluted with outside exports. Chemical fertilizers and pesticides have caused environmental damage to local ecosystems and soil. There is a need to establish and uphold the people’s right to preserve their own seeds, and support the development and dissemination of ecologically-friendly agricultural production at the grassroots level.
VOICE is also supporting a broad-based solidarity campaign calling for an end to patents on organic life forms by multinational corporations, as well as a general ban on further development of ‘terminator’ seed technologies and the use of genetically-modified food in food aid.
[Dhaka, 19 September 2014] Speakers demanded a people-centred Post 2015 development framework ensuring the meaningful participation of all concerned stakeholders where civil society in the process leading up to Post 2015 Summit. 69th United Nations General Assembly 2014 that is to commence next week in New York focuses on the theme “Delivering on and implementing a Transformative Post-2015 Development Agenda”. United Nations is preparing a new sustainable development framework with its member states as the Millennium Development Goal (MDGs) will get end in 2015. Speakers also urged to adopt a strong, inclusive and legitimate Post 2015 framework to success the Millennium Development Goals.
The press conference titled “A Transformative Post 2015 Development Agenda : Citizens’ Demands and Expectations” was held today ( Friday) in city’s Dhaka Reporters Unity auditorium organized by a rights group VOICE and Beyond 2015. President of Karmajibi Nari and former senior research fellow of BIDS Pratima Paul Majumder, Executive Director of VOICE Ahmed Swapan Mahmud, Director of Supro and also the member of Beyond 2015 Alison Subrata Baroi, Chief executive of Online Knowledge Centre Prodip Kumar Roy spoke before the press.
A national seminar on `Post 2015 Development Agenda: Towards a Transformative and Rights Based Development Framework’ has been held on 24 May at National Press Club, Dhaka while it was attended by a large number of stakeholders including NGOs, academicians, civil society organizations, trade unions, women groups, rights organizations, students. Organzied by VOICE, a rights based organization and Beyond 2015, the seminar was presided over by eminent economist Dr. Kazi Khaliquzzaman while Rustom Ali Foraji, MP, Dr. Rashed Al Mahmud Titumir, executive director of Unnayan Onneshan, and Ahmed Swapan Mahmud, executive director of VOICE spoke at the seminar among others. Farjana Akter, coordinator of VOICE presented a key discussion paper.
A public dialogue on `Post 2015 Development Framework: People’s Right and Participation’ has been held on 3 May 2014 at Bogra in the Municipality auditorium while it was attended by a large number of stakeholders including NGOs, civil society organizations, trade unions, women groups, rights organizations, youth, lawyers and cultural groups. Nurul Islam Omar, Member of Parliament attended the occasion as Chief Guest while Abdul Latif Mondal, President of Bangladesh Union Parishad Chairman Association presided over the meeting. Ahmed Swapan Mahmud, executive director of VOICE and also the executive member of Beyond 2015, which is a global CSO platform working on the post 2015 development agenda was present as Key discussant in the program. It wa smoderated by KGM Faruque, executive director of PAVE-Bogra.
WTO must end its business
Farjana Akter, VOICE
Since its inception of the World Trade Organizations (WTO) in 1995, policies made by the multilateral giant blocked the access of developing countries to international markets. WTO, the promoter of `globalization' introduces injustice and undermines human rights through it's biased policies and regulations. In the ninth ministerial conference taking place in Bali from 3 -6 December 2013, WTO should give back Least Developed Countries (LDCs) rights and listen to their legal demands. LDCs has been struggling to get Quota-Free and Duty Free market access to intrenational markets, subsidy in agriculture since long.
The empty promise of Agreement of Agriculture (AoA) needs to be readdressed, meanwhile, it has worsened the conditions of the millions subsistence farmers and small-scale food producers in the developing countries, while giving scope to corporations to accumulate more profit.
The institution needs to uncover the discriminatory rules and regulations for developing countries with a strong reform within it. Developing countries are demanding for ensuring simple and transparent rules of origin for duty-free market access, it asks for preferential market access for their services sector.
[Dhaka, 22 September 2013] Speakers told that the ICT Act (amendment) 2013 sharply conflicts with Bangladesh Constitution’s Article 39 and 43 which guarantee freedom of expression and right to privacy respectively. Terming it as a ‘black law’, speakers urged the government not to enact as a law. A press conference titled ‘ICT Act (Amendment) 2013: Challenges for Right to Privacy and Freedom of Expression’ was held by VOICE in the city’s national press club today while it was jointly collaborated with Bangladesh Manobadhikar Shangbadik forum, Campaign on Citizen’s Right to Information, Bangladesh ICT Journalist Forum, Somewherein.net Blog, Online Knowledge Society, Shushashoner Jonyo Procharabhijan (SUPRO) and School of Communication and Cultural Metaphysics.
Monjurul Ahsan Bulbul, CEO, Boishaki Television, Khairuzzaman Kamal, Executive Director, Bangladesh Manobadhikar Shangbadik Forum, Zakir Hossain, Executive Director of Nagorik Uddog and Convener of Campaign on Citizen Right to Information, Syeda Gulshan Ferdous Jana, Acting Managing Director, Somewherein.net Blog and, Farjana Akhter, Programme Coordinator, Voice spoke at the press briefing while Ahmed Swapan Mahmud, Executive Director of Voice moderated the session.
[Dhaka, Tuesday, 4 June 2013] Civil society right groups network EquityBD and VOICE in a press conference held at the city’s national press club criticized United Nation High Level Panel (UN HLP) report on post 2015 agenda terming it “as lofty goal and empty bowl” and said that the report is in fact a far short in transforming economies. The UN HLP report has just published on 30th June 2013 in New York. The UN HLP was co chaired by UK Prime minister Davide Cameron, Indonesian President Dr. Susilo Bambang and Liberian President Alen Johnson Sirlef. Moderated by Rezaul Karim Chowdhury, chief coordinator of Equitybd, the position paper was read out by Ahmed Swapan Mahmud, executive director of Voice.
Speakers criticized the UN HLP report for over emphasizing on free market and private sector financing for development. They said the report has not been able to strike a balance between private sector and public financing. They urged that free market notion is responsible for reproducing poverty and global inequality and widening the gap between rich and poor. They have also mentioned that generically private finance always look for profit rather than growth with justice and equity.
Beyond 2015, a global civil society campaign on the post-2015 development agenda which brings together more than 700 organizations in over 100 countries welcomes the UN High Level Panel’s ambitious report on the post-2015 agenda.
Reacting to the launch of the report, Neva Frecheville of CAFOD in the UK and co-chair of Beyond 2015 said “Civil society has been clear on the need for a universal framework to replace the MDGs in 2015. The High Level Panel has reiterated this demand, and this will hopefully galvanise action in both developing and developed countries, helping tackle the underlying causes of global poverty, inequality and environmental degradation and thus shifting the current development paradigm. We applaud the Panel for its boldness in pushing developed countries to reform trade, tax and transparency policies, to tackle illicit capital flows, to regulate global financial and commodity markets, and to prompt large multinational corporations to report on the social, environmental, and economic impact of their activities. These actions, more than aid alone, will help bring about the transformation required in this world. For this vision to become reality there needs to be a major change in political will and in global cooperation, and that will be the real challenge.”
Reality check, a quarterly report published by Reality of Aid Network. Please find the summary below:
As 2015 draws to a close, the whole international development community is in a rush to come up with a new framework and process that will set common objectives over the next years- a new development agenda that will truly bring about changes in peoples’ lives. The United Nations’ high level panel on global sustainability suggests global sustainable development goals to replace the MDGs.
As the whole international community rethinks development, moving away from the business-as-usual approach to end poverty and inequality, so is the opportune time to push for one of the potentially powerful instruments to fight poverty - policies that are comprehensive and coherent towards achieving sustainable development.
But while governments are required to implement policies that are consistent with the goal of promoting sustainable development, what is not highlighted is that policy incoherence stems from the implementation of neo-liberal policies that are imposed on developing countries.
To download the new issue of Reality Check "Policy Coherence for Sustainable Development", please click the following link:
Rio de Janeiro, Sunday, June 17, 2012
Civil society activists from across the world joined for a protest on Sunday inside the Riocentro convention center to push the messsage: “Our Future, Our Voice.”
The activists, part of the Rights for Sustainability campaign, taped their mouths and held placards before gathered media.
The protest was in reaction to a lack of voice for civil society at Rio+20; back-tracking on the Rio principles established at the 1992 Earth Summit; and the prioritizing of unregulated corporate interests over human rights and equity.
Paul Quintos of IBON International, which coordinates the NGO Cluster on Rights and Equity at Rio+20, and the Rights for Sustainability advocacy platform, said: “Civil society’s ability to promote the voice of the people it represents has been steadily eroded throughout the
process leading up to Rio+20."
“Instead of progress and solutions in negotiations, we are seeing back-tracking on commitments established in 1992. Principles that protect human rights and equity are disappearing, watered down or remain devoid of concrete means to implement them.