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[12 October, Dhaka] Speakers at a press conference said that the international financial institutions (IFIs) have a disastrous consequences over people's life and livelihood over the years due to policy prescriptions and bad projects of IFIs. The press conference was held at the Dhaka Reporter's Unity in the city today to observe the Bangladesh Week of Action against poverty, hunger and unjust development paradigm. The Bangladesh Social Forum organized the press conference on the eve of World Bank-IMF annual general meeting scheduled from coming 15-17 October in Washington DC.
Participants from various civil society organizations agreed to monitor closely the
policies, projects and programs of the Asian Development Bank (ADB) in Bangladesh in the face of changing nature of the ADB. Speakers critically evaluated recently drafted the national action plan on climate change. The national action plan was drafted without any public participation especially the vulnerable communities.
The day long consultation on Environment and Climate Change: Role of the ADB in Bangladesh held at the Mohammadpur auditorium attended by nearly 40 representatives from NGOs, civil society organizations, academicians, journalists and human rights activists across the country. Speakers demanded that international financial institutions (IFIs) and northern multinational companies should shed the climate hypocrisy if they want to consider impacts of climate change on people.
The event was organized by Voice, a research and advocacy organization based in Dhaka and Manila based NGO Forum on ADB- an international civil society networks.
[Voice, Mymensingh, 18 September 2008]
A dialogue on water sector transparency and accountability has been held in Mymensingh Pourashava auditorium organized by Voice, a Dhaka based research and advocacy organization. Mayor of Mymensingh pourashava, Advocate Mahmud Al-Noor Tarek presided over the occasion while Additional District Commissioner of Mymensingh Mohammad Mohsin attended as a special guest. Representatives from local government and engineering department, NGOs, CSOs, professional bodies, business communities, journalists, members and councilors of municipality attended the function. The dialogue was moderated by Ahmed Swapan Mahmud, executive director of Voice.
VOICE/ Aid Accountability Group/ Right to Food Movement
Statement on Climate Change
[Dhaka, Bangladesh, September 2008]
London Conference on Climate Change is taking place on September 10 2008 for strategic decision to overcome climate change crisis. A Multi-donor Trust Fund is to be initiated as discussed in an earlier conference by UK government’s Department for International Development held in Dhaka in March 2008. Bangladesh government will present a paper titled Climate Change Strategy and Action for Bangladesh in London Conference. This statement expresses some critical concerns toward London Conference and calls stakeholders at all levels including development actors, socialmovement groups, indigenous communities, fisher folks, farmers, women, human rights activists, professional bodies, trade unions, NGOs, CSOs, communities,vulnerable and marginalized groups, citizens and political actors for endorsement.
The disastrous consequence of climate change has already threatened the planet and global communities. However, the strong resistance is presence among the northern as well as southern communities to change the existing system of over consumption
[VOICE, Dhaka, 19 June 2008]
Speakers in a meeting strongly criticized the Long Term Strategic Framework (LTSF) for 2008-2020 of Asian Development Bank for its anti-poor stand showing blanket biasness toward private sector led development. The meeting was organized by a research organization ‘Voice’ in the Supro conference room on 19 June 2008. Ahmed Swapan Mahmud, executive director of Voice moderated the meeting while it was attended by civil society organizations, trade unionists, farmers’ organizations, NGOs, students, activist groups and civil society actors.
Farjana Akter, programme coordinator of Voice presented the key note speech terming the long term strategy as anti-poor. She said that the ADB is far behind its commitment to reduce poverty, rather its involvement with corporate sector makes the poverty situation worsen in the region.
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.
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.
VOICE is committed to fair and democratic media representation through all forms of Information and Communication Technologies. VOICE recently acquired a video production kit, including an editing suite, and has already produced 2 video documentaries. VOICE also continues to be visible in the news. In the News Coverage section, there is a selection of articles written about VOICE or VOICE activities over the last 5 years.
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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.
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.