Dhaka, 18th January. Today a group of rights activists criticized the role of UN ESCAP and Government of Bangladesh (GoB), the host country of the on going Asia Pacific LDC conference, as they ignored CSOs participation from a ‘broad spectrum’ and violated the ‘aid memorie’ between GoB and the UNESCAP in organizing this high level meeting of the LDCs from the Asia and Pacific. The organizers claimed this through organizing a press conference in national press club in Dhaka today. They categorically alleged that the organizers have violated the UN General Assembly resolution which emphasized and called for broader spectrum of civil society participation. They claim that, as the organizers invited corporate NGOs as civil society representatives who in fact do not challenge global financial and governance architecture. They also mentioned that in fact ERD of GoB favors the proposition of the international financial institutions and they do not want any criticism in this regard. Rezaul Karim Chowdhury, convener EquityBD, moderated the press conference while Md. Shamsuddoha of EquityBD read out the written statement. Among other organizers, Badurl Alam of La Via Campesina, Ahemd Swapna of VOICE, Sahadat Islam Chowdhuray of PRADIP, Zaid Iqbal of Bangladesh Krisak Federation, Prodip Kumar Roy of Online Knowledge Centre and Mostafa Kamal Akanda of EquityBD spoke in the press conference.
In the written statement Shamsuddoha put forward specific demand in respect of five thematic cluster of the seminar, which includes immediate debt cancellation of the LDC especially, debt of the earthquake affected Haiti must be cancelled and LDC leaders should raise this demand from here. He also demanded a UN resolution for the establishment of international court on food rights so that there wouldn’t be any protectionism that we observed in 2008 food crisis. LDCs leaders also should demand to keep agriculture out of WTO, duty free and quota free access of LDC products and tangible commitment on aid for trade to strengthen supply side of the LDCs. In respect of climate negotiation the group demanded a separate negotiating block of the LDCs and MVCs (most vulnerable countries) which should be independent from G 77 and China block that is largely dominated by the interest of the advanced developing countries. The LDC country parties should also demand the social, cultural and economic rights of the climate change induced migrants, which has been considering a major threat to the LDCs. The group has also demanded that the whole UN governance structure need to be reconsidered as the present governance mechanism failed to come up with a legally binding commitment from the country parties in Copenhagen to response global popular demand to save the planet.
The Daily New Age, 19 January 2010
Govt blasted for not allowing dissent in Asia-Pacific dialogue: Some ERD officials want to become
WB’s consultants, says EquityBD
A group of civil society organisations on Monday criticised the government for ignoring the alternative voices at the three-day Asia-Pacific dialogue on least developed countries, terming it a violation of the memoir of the conference.
They, however, expressed the hope that the high-level regional conference would come up with stronger resolutions to uphold the interests of the LDCs that include debt cancellation, right to food, protection of the environment and adequate representation of the poor in the international organisations.
The Equity and Justice Working Group, South Asian Alliance for Poverty Eradication, Online Knowledge Centre, PRADIP, Rehabilitation Center for Social Victims, Rural Reconstruction Nepal and VOICE came up with the criticism at a media conference in the National Press Club.
The civil society leaders said the Economic Relations Division, which is a co-organiser of the policy dialogue to review the Brussels Programme of Action, was contacted thrice but it did not invite them to express their alternative views at the conference.
‘Those who have been invited are supporters of the so-called neo-liberal economic regime who hobnob with organizations such as the World Bank,’ said Mohammad Shamsuddoha, secretary of the EquityBD.
Rezaul Karim Chowdhury, convener of EquityBD, said there were bad elements in the ERD who ‘desperately wanted to become consultants of the World Bank’. ‘Those officials made that lending agency the focal point for operating the multi-donor trust fund on climate change, clearly going against the position of the government,’ he said.
The development activist pointed out that the memoir of the conference talked about the participation of the ‘broader spectrum of the civil society’ but the ERD authorities ignored that for the sake of their self-interest.
Badrul Alam of La Via Campesina, Ahmed Swapan Mahmud of VOICE, Shahadat Islam Chowdhury of PRADIP, Zaid Iqbal of Bangladesh Krishak Federation, Mostafa Kamal Akanda of EquityBD and Prodip Kumar Roy of Online Knowledge Centre were among those who addressed the media conference.