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Press Releases written by Voice
28 April, Bali – The NGO Forum on ADB officially opened its Forum annual meeting (FAM) today at the Palm Beach Hotel & Resort in Bali, Indonesia.
Over 70 participants representing different organizations from Indonesia, the Philippines, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Nepal, Armenia, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Kazakhstan, the United States, Australia, and the Netherlands attended the first day.
The first session dealt with big picture issues. Pieter Jansen of BothENDS talked about the ongoing financial crisis from the European perspective. He compared the situation before the financial crisis and after the crash. He further said that the removal of controls over the financial sector has made the financial institutions masters of economy instead as its servants.
Stephanie Fried of the Environmental Defense Fund delved on private equity funds (PEF) which promotes secrecy in the middle of the global financial crisis. Though there is an international push for the re-regulation of financial architecture and an increase in transparency measures due to the global financial crisis, she said the ADB has proposed the further deregulation of risky investments and weakening of its Safeguards Policy. She said that PEFs are a key component of the ADB’s private sector development strategy.
Speakers at a discussion yesterday said that international capitalist mode of productions, speculative capital, unjust and ndemocratic role of International Financial Institutions (IFIs) and multinational corporations are the major causes of recent financial crisis. The discussion titled `IFIs are the Major Barriers to Development Effectiveness: Linking Financial Crisis to Food, Debt and Climate Change' has been held at the Cirdap auditorium, Dhaka on 16 October. The discussion was moderated by Ahmed Swapan Mahmud, executive director of VOICE while eminent economist and also a teacher of Dhaka University Prof. Abu Ahmed, eminent leader of Workers Party of Bangladesh Haider Akber Khan Rono, economist, leading economist Dr. Piash Karim, renowned leader general secretary of Biplabi Workers Party Saiful Haq spoke as panel discussants.
Bangladesh is passing through multi-faceted challenges in the recent past propagated by its economic depression due to deregulation of the state machinery dictated from International Financial Institutions. Commoner's life and livelihood is highly suppressed from inflation, unemployment and unprecedented risks. Triple attack of food, fuel and financial crisis on the global economy is also affecting peoples' daily life as the country is a net food importing LDC and its remittance mostly comes from by exporting garments and frozen foods along with low skilled manpower. Bangladesh needs increased investment in food, griculture, employment generation along with spending in basic services. But the govt. can not invest more as they have
to pay back more than USD 1500 million for debt servicing per annum to World Bank, IMF, Asian Development Bank and to other bi-lateral donors, which is more than 15% of it's national budget. Besides new loan programs in the name of Multi Donor Trust Fund proposed to be managed by World Bank will trap its citizens to new debt burden. Massive awareness needs to be created to
challenge this undemocratic venture of the Bank.
[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.