The 0.7 percent club

Bad news: The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development said major donors’ official development assistance fell 3 percent in 2011.

Seventeen countries committed to spend 0.7 percent of their gross national income on aid by 2015. This positioning of aid targets stemmed from an idea by the World Council of Churches in 1958, when the first goal was set to 1 percent of donor countries’ GNI. Due to several technical issues, the target was scaled down to 0.75 percent — a goal several developed countries refused to accept.

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Stop Development Dilemma |||| Stop Donor Driven PRSP

Bangladesh Government and its Bi-Lateral and Multi-Lateral Development Partners met at Dhaka on 15-16 February 2010. Targeting the meet, 21 Citizen Organisations oranised a human chain at front of National Press Club, Dhaka on 15-16 February 2010, demanding Climate Debt, Transparency and accountaility in Public Financing and Soveriegn Development National Policy.

 
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Rich countries urged to pay carbon debt
Staff Correspondent, The Daily Star, 16 February 2010
Different development organisations form a human chain in the city yesterday demanding the rich countries pay carbon debt. Photo: STAR

Speakers at a human chain yesterday called on the developed countries and donors to pay carbon debt to Bangladesh since the country is the worst sufferer of the impacts of climate change.

As climate change is the result of high carbon emission by the developed countries, they should pay the compensation, they added.

A total of 21 development organisations formed the human chain in front of the National Press Club ahead of the meeting of the Bangladesh Development Forum (BDF), which began yesterday, says a press release.

The organisations include Equity and Justice Working Group Bangladesh (EquityBD), AMKS, Bangladesh Krishak Federation, CSRL, MFTD, RCSV, Sirajganj Flood Forum, Online Knowledge Centre, Solidarity Workshop, VOICE, etc.

Another protest rally was also held in front of the DFID office in London the same day.

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CSOs urge developed nations to compensate carbon debt
 

CSO members formed a human chain in front of
National Press Club yesterday pressing for quick carbon debt
compensation. NN photo

Staff Reporter, The New Nation, 16 February 2010

Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) called upon the developed country representatives and donors, who are participating in Bangladesh Development Forum (BDF), to pay their carbon debt as compensation.

A total of 21 CSOs yesterday formed a rally and human chain programme in front of National Press Club.

A two-day-long BDF meet started on Monday.

Speakers said that the country was facing great catastrophe caused by climate change, which is the result of high carbon emissions historically by the developed countries. The developed countries are indebted to the people of Bangladesh and they should pay their carbon debt, they added.

They alleged that developed countries are not keeping their commitment in supporting the climate change-affected countries.

They mentioned in the recent years Bangladesh is facing frequent and more intense cyclonic disaster which has clear link with the climate change. Cyclone SIDR in Bangladesh in 2007 caused death of 4000 lives and $ 1.7 billion of economic loss.

Cyclone AILA in Bangladesh in 2009 caused death of 150 lives and $ 1.5 billion of economic loss. But so far Bangladesh has received less than 20 per cent of the economic loss caused by these disasters. Such huge economic fallback was making the country bound to seek fund from the IFIs and other developed countries.

Meantime Bangladesh already indebted in such a way that the country has to pay 20 per cent of its revenue budget as debt servicing liabilities, which is much higher than its annual health and education budget.

Speakers mentioned that debt business, capitalising the climate crisis, by the developed countries was injustice. The developed countries did injustice historically by utilising more atmospheric space and global public goods than their fair shares.

A rally was also simultaneously organised in front of DFID office in London. The rally was jointly organised by World Development Movement (WDM), Jubilee Debt Campaign UK, Friends of the Earth and Christian Aid.

They criticised the role of DFID as this organisation is pressing Government of Bangladesh to allow World Bank to manage multi donor trust fund on climate change. It may be mentioned that, in response to a joint call by Equity BD and WDM, thousands of people in the UK sent e-mail to the UK Prime Minister for not channeling climate funds for Bangladesh through the World Bank. They also called to their government to allocate climate fund in addition to the existing ODA commitment of the UK government.

Moreover, World Bank will take commission to operate the fund which is contrary to the motive behind creating such fund, they said. The protesters said developed nations must increase their official development assistance (ODA) to real sectors where it is so needed without unnecessarily raising debt burden to Bangladesh and at the same time earmark new climate fund to face calamities.

Organisers declared that they would organise similar rally and human chain in front of National Press Club today demanding sovereign, democratic and responsible financing to make aid reaching to poor, transparent and locally accountable.

Mustafa Kamal Akanda of EquityBD moderated the rally where Badrul Alam of La Via Campesina, Feroz Ahmed of Lead Trust, Prodip Roy of On Line Knowledge Centre, Shamsuddoha and Rezaul K. Chowdhury of EquityBD also spoke.

From the human chain the organisers released a joint statement developed by twenty-one organisations which include Arpon, AMKS, Eso, Bangladesh Krishak Federation, CSRL, EquityBD, Kishani Shova, Lead Trust, On line Knowledge Centre, Potikrit, La Via Campesina, MFTD, Prantik, Purbasha, RCASV, Swadin Bangla Garments Sramik Federation, Solidarity Workshop, Sirajganj Flood Forum, Uddipan, Voice, EquityBD and World Development Movement -UK.

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Developed nations urged to pay back their carbon debt : Civil society protest in Dhaka, London
Staff Correspondent, The Daily New Age, 16 February 2010 

Some 21 civil society organizations called upon the developed country representatives and donors, who are participating in Bangladesh Development Forum, to pay their ‘carbon debt’ as compensation for global warming and climate change.
   The Bangladesh government on Monday began a two-day dialogue with multilateral lenders and donor countries in Dhaka seeking approval of the poverty reduction strategy, a lender-driven development document.
   The rights activists, who also staged a human chain, said that Bangladesh is facing the most catastrophic fall out of climate change, which is the result of high carbon emissions, historically, by the developed countries.
   The protesting rights organizations are — Arpon, AMKS, Eso, Bangladesh Krishak Federation, CSRL, EquityBD, Kishani Shova, Lead Trust, On line knowledge centre, Potikrit, La via campesina, MFTD, Prantik, Purbasha, RCASV, Swadhin Bangla Garments Sramik Federation, Solidarity Workshop, Sirajganj Flood Forum, Uddipan, Voice and World Development Movement, UK.
   They formed the human chain in front of National Press Club to remind the donor and developed country representatives to keep their commitment to help the poor nations in facing the challenge of climate change.
   They expressed their dismay that the developed countries were not keeping their commitment in supporting the countries vulnerable to climate change.
   In a joint statement, they also claimed that the developed countries are indebted to the people of Bangladesh and they should pay their carbon debt.
   Mustafa Kamal Akanda of EquityBD, Badrul Alam of La Via Campesina, Feroz Ahmed of Lead Trust, Prodip Roy of On Line Knowledge Centre, and Shamsuddoha and Rezaul K Chowdhury of EquityBD, among others, also spoke at the human chain.
   In the statement they mentioned that in recent years Bangladesh has been facing recurring and more intense cyclonic disasters which have clear link with the climate change.
   Cyclone SIDR in Bangladesh in 2007 took a toll of 4,000 lives and US $ 1.7 billions of in economic loss. Then again cyclone AILA in Bangladesh in 2009 caused death of 150 people and destroyed property worth US $ 1.5 billions.
   But so far Bangladesh has received less then 20 per cent in aid to recover the economic loss caused by these disasters.
   Meanwhile Bangladesh is already indebted in such a way that the country has to pay 20 per cent of its revenue budget as debt servicing liabilities, which is much higher than its annual health and education budget.
   The rights activists mentioned that debt business, capitalizing the climate crisis, by the developed countries was an injustice. The developed countries did injustice historically by utilizing more atmospheric space and global public goods than their fair shares.
   Meanwhile, another rally was also organized in front of the office of Britain’s donor agency, Department for International Development, in London.
   The rally was jointly organized by World Development Movement, Jubilee Debt Campaign UK, Friends of the Earth and Christian Aid.
   They were critical of the role of DFID as this organization is pressing Bangladesh government to allow World Bank to manage the multi-donor trust fund on climate change.
   Besides, in response to a joint call by EquityBD and WDM, thousands of people in the UK sent e-mails to the British Prime Minister for not channelling climate funds for Bangladesh through the World Bank.
   The also called upon the British government to allocate special climate funds in addition to the existing ODA commitment.
   Organisers declared that they would hold a similar rally and human chain in front of national press club on Tuesday, demanding sovereign, democratic and responsible financing to ensure that aid reaches the poor through a transparent and locally accountable means, a press release on Monday said.

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কার্বন নিঃসরণে ক্ষতিগ্রস্ত বাংলাদেশকে সহায়তা দেওয়ার দাবিতে গতকাল প্রেসক্লাবের সামনে মানববন্ধন করা হয়। ছবি : বাংলার চোখ, The Daily Kaler Kantha
ঢাকায় মানববন্ধনবাংলাদেশকে কার্বন-ঋণ দেওয়ার দাবি নিজস্ব প্রতিবেদকউন্নত বিশ্বের অতি-মাত্রায় কার্বন নিঃসরণের শিকার বাংলাদেশকে কার্বন-ঋণ পরিশোধের দাবি জানিয়ে গতকাল সোমবার রাজধানীতে মানববন্ধর কর্মসূচি পালন করা হয়েছে। ঢাকায় শুরু হওয়া বাংলাদেশ উন্নয়ন ফোরামের সভা সামনে রেখে ২১টি নাগরিক সংগঠন যৌথভাবে জাতীয় প্রেসক্লাবের সামনে ওই মানববন্ধন করে।
সংগঠনের নেতারা উন্নত রাষ্ট্রগুলোকে তাদের প্রতিশ্রুতির কথা স্মরণ করিয়ে দেন। ইক্যুইটিবিডির সদস্য মোস্তফা কামালের সঞ্চালনায় মানববন্ধন চলার সময়ে বক্তব্য দেন লা-ভিয়া ক্যাম্পেসিনার বদরুল আলম, লিড ট্রাস্টের ফিরোজ আহমেদ, অনলাইন নলেজ সেন্টারের প্রদীপ রায়, ইক্যুইটিবিডির মোঃ সামসুদ্দোহা ও রেজাউল করিম চৌধুরী।
গতকাল ব্রিটিশ সরকারের আন্তর্জাতিক উন্নয়ন সংস্থার (ডিএফআইডি) লন্ডনের কার্যালয়ের সামনেও ওয়ার্ল্ড ডেভেলপমেন্ট মুভমেন্ট, জুবলি ডেব্ট ক্যাম্পেইন-ইউকে, ফ্রেন্ডস অব আর্থ ও ক্রিশ্চিয়ান এইডের উদ্যোগে সমাবেশ করা হয়েছে বলে জানান ঢাকার কর্মসূচির আয়োজকরা। সমন্বিতভাবে বাংলাদেশ ও লন্ডনের কর্মসূচি গতকাল পালন করা হয়।জাতীয় প্রেসক্লাবের সামনে আজ বেলা ১১টায় বিভিন্ন দাতাগোষ্ঠীর দেওয়া আর্থিক সহযোগিতা স্বচ্ছ এবং স্থানীয়ভাবে জবাবদিহিমূলক করার দাবিতে মানববন্ধন কর্মসূচি পালন ও সমাবেশ করা হবে।

Interest rate of Indian state credit higher than other overseas loans

A proposed Indian credit worth $1 billion for Bangladesh could be the easiest loan deal between the two neighbours but its interest rate is going to be higher compared with loans from multilateral and bilateral lenders, officials and experts said. Moreover, indications are there that Dhaka might be forced to swallow the ‘costly’ form of financial assistances, suppliers’ credit, under which New Delhi would sell out its products as a condition to bankrolling the credit.
The prime minister’s economic adviser Mashiur Rahman at a seminar on Sunday said the proposed loan programme under the Indian state credit had been offered at an interest rate of 1.75 per cent plus LIBOR (London Inter-bank Offered Rate) with a repayment period of 20 years after a grace period of five years. 

‘This will be the easiest loan Bangladesh has ever received from its big neighbours,’ the communications minister, Abul Hossain, told New Age.    The communication ministry is expected to receive a half of the amount for funding a dozen transport-related projects. The credit was sought during the prime minister’s visit to New Delhi in January, he said. 
Ever since the visit and Hasina-Manmohan joint communiqué, economic experts and analysts inquired about the proposed billion-dollar credit programme as available public data showed Bangladesh had been receiving loans from many bilateral countries and multilateral lenders at a lower than 1.75 per cent interest rate.
Since 1973, Bangladesh has signed more than 150 loan deals with the Asian Development Bank. The interest rate of about 90 per cent of such deals is 1 per cent. Between 1988 and 2008, Dhaka struck 39 credit deals with Tokyo, all on 1 per cent interest rate, according to an ERD publication.
The experts inquired about the nature of the loans as the government has not clarified the matter as yet. Former caretaker government finance adviser Mirza Azizul Islam observed there was ambiguity in the proposed credit which needed to be clarified. He observed if it was suppliers’ credit, the country might be compelled to buy products from India at a higher rate.
Records showed more than one-third of the loans Dhaka received from New Delhi until 2008 were hard-term borrowings with higher than 5 per cent interest rate plus LIBOR and the suppliers’ credit which forced the recipient country to buy commodities from the lending country.
Since its independence in 1971, Bangladesh has received assistance of around $440 million in the form grants ($113 million), commodity aid ($151.1 million) and project aid ($176) till 2008 from New Delhi, according to a publication of the Economic Relations Division.
The first bilateral financial deal was signed on May 15, 1972, between Dhaka and New Delhi for bankrolling of 80 million Indian rupees. It was mostly hard-term borrowing as its interest rate was 6.25 per cent with a five-year repayment period and one-year grace period.
There have been 24 other hard-term loans and 18 suppliers’ credits offered by India for Bangladesh until now. For the suppliers’ credits, Bangladesh needs to bear service charges of 12.5 per cent in addition to around 5 per cent in annual interest rate, said the ERD publication.
A meeting between the finance minister, Abul Maal Abdul Muhith, and the Indian high commissioner to Bangladesh, Rajeet Mitter, on Saturday on the implementation aspects of the proposed billion-dollar credit indicated that bulk of the amount would be in the form of suppliers’ credit.
Rajeet Mitter told reporters after the meeting technical works had already begun under the joint communiqué.    ‘Three components — supply of locomotives and passenger coaches, buses, and dredgers — were included in the joint communiqué the technical works of which have already begun,’ he said.    In reply to a question, he said they had also talks with their Bangladesh counterparts about the required supplies and the specification.
Multilateral lenders such as the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank have strong reservations about suppliers’ credit.    They have always suggested that the country should not to go for suppliers’ credit as purchase rate for products becomes at last double than the actual prices.

– Shakhawat Hossain, The Daily New Age, 14 February 2010

G7 pledges to cancel Haiti debt

The world’s leading industrialised nations have pledged to write off the debts that Haiti owes them, following a devastating earthquake last month. Canada’s finance minister announced at a summit in Iqaluit, northern Canada, that Group of Seven countries planned to cancel Haiti’s bilateral debts. Jim Flaherty said he would encourage international lenders to do the same.  Bi- and multilateral lenders including international bodies cancelled some $1.2bn (£800m) of Haiti’s debt in 2009.

 “We are committed in the G7 to the forgiveness of debt, in fact all bilateral debt has been forgiven by G7 countries vis-a-vis Haiti,” Mr Flaherty said at the end of the two day gathering of finance ministers in the Arctic town. “ It must be right that a nation buried in rubble must not also be buried in debt ”

Gordon Brown UK Prime Minister

“The debt to multilateral institutions should be forgiven, and we will work with these institutions and other partners to make this happen as soon as possible,” he added. At least one million people are in need of aid in Haiti after the magnitude 7.0 earthquake which struck in mid-January, killing more than 200,000 people.

 The G7 group – which includes Canada, the US, UK, France, Germany, Italy and Japan – has been under pressure to help Haiti recover since the 12 January quake by cancelling the money owed by Haiti. Haiti was rated as the poorest nation in the western hemisphere even before the earthquake struck.

 Though exact figures are difficult to obtain, the exact amount owed bilaterally to G7 countries is believed to be quite small. Venezuela and Taiwan are Haiti’s other biggest bilateral creditors.  

Brown’s pledge

In Iqaluit, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown hailed the pledge, saying: “It must be right that a nation buried in rubble must not also be buried in debt”. “The UK has already cancelled all debts owed to it by Haiti and I strongly welcome today’s G7 commitment to forgive Haiti’s remaining multilateral debt,” he added. “We will work with others to make sure this is delivered.”

 On Friday, the US voiced support for the plan to extend international debt relief for Haiti. “The earthquake in Haiti was a catastrophic setback to the Haitian people who are now facing tremendous emergency humanitarian and reconstruction needs, and meeting Haiti’s financing needs will require a massive multilateral effort,” said Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner.

 He said the US would seek to reach an agreement for the funds owed to the multilateral donors, which include the Inter-American Development Bank, the International Fund for Agricultural Development and the International Development Association.

 Mr Geithner also echoed the call by the head of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Dominique Strauss-Kahn, to provide full relief of the country’s outstanding debt to the body, including a $102m emergency loan approved in January.

 Last June, the international community agreed to cancel some $1.2bn (£800m) of the country’s total debt of $1.9bn owed to bi- and multilateral lenders including the IMF, World Bank and the US government, as part of a programme for heavily indebted poor countries.

 UK-based charity Oxfam has urged the writing off of about an additional $900m (£557m) that Haiti still owes to donor countries and institutions.

Source: The Daily Star, 07 February 2010

MEETING OF Ad hoc committee of GEJF

Meeting Brief
Ad hoc Working Committee Global Economic Justice Forum (GEJF)
Held at INCIDIN Office, Dhaka | November 01, 2008

Propositions

Agenda: Transformation of GEJF into Bangladesh Social Forum:

  • The committee decided that transformation of GEJF is not a relevant concern for initiation of Bangladesh Social Forum process. So this agenda should be dropped for further discussions on any of these two forums.
  • However both forums can exist side by side considering the merits and mandates of these two.
  • Regarding Bangladesh Social Forum process, further communication will be made from a separate National Facilitation Team to be convened by Md. Hilaluddin as per the proposal came from the members of the working committee.

Meeting Participants

  • Karmojibi Nari – Abdullah Al Mamun
  • APIT – Tahmina Yasmin
  • WAVE – Mohsin Ali
  • SUPRO – Prodip Roy
  • VOICE – Ahmed Swapan
  • BARCIK – Kamruzzaman Sagar
  • ActionAid – A.R. Aaman
  • Sadhin Bangla Garments SKF – Shamima Nasrin and MAK Azad
  • INCIDIN – Ratan Sarkar
  • Angikar – Md. Hilaluddin

Absent:

  • Roots: Moslehuddin Swapan

Global Economic Justice Forum (GEJF)

Brief Report of the Meeting of Global Economic Justice Forum (GEJF)
September 02, 2008 | Venue: BARCIK Office, Dhaka

Agenda

·        How   could we carry forward the GEJF process?

Discussions and Decisions

General

Mr. Sukanto from BARCIK welcomed everyone and the house requested Mr. Mohsin from Governance Coalition to preside over the meeting. Then Aamanur Rahman from ActionAid Bangladesh discussed briefly about agenda of the meeting. Regarding the GEJF process, two kinds of statement were found and discussed. Some participants said GEJF should be an annual forum for the anti-neoliberal activists and should be a platform for culmination of experiences and innovation around the economic justice issues. Some others said only a single event can not culminate all these activism and there should have series of actions throughout the year. Some other emphasized the importance of these two side by side, as only an annual event can not sustain the issues and on the other hand a structured process will give it a project look which will be additional burden for the whole members/ organizers.

Finally it was suggested by the house that a small working group would be formed to work on this issue along with the modalities to run the forum effectively. This group will sit on 08-09-08 at 3.00pm at WAVE office, Lalmatia, Dhaka. The house proposed the following persons as volunteers of the ad hoc working committee. The committee will place their suggestions by this month through email notification. After Eid vacation a general meeting will be summoned to discuss on the proposals. This ad hoc committee will keep functioning only up till next general meeting.

Ad hoc Working Committee Volunteers:

  1. Mr. Sukanto – BARCIK
  2. Ratan Sarkar – INCIDIN
  3. Ahmed Swapan – VOICE
  4. Prodip Roy – SUPRO
  5. Maliha Shahjahan – APIT
  6. Md. Hilaluddin – Angikar Bd
  7. Shamima Nasrin – Sadhin Bangla GSKF
  8. Asgar Ali Sabri – ActionAid Bangladesh
  9. Mohsin Ali – WAVE/ Governance Coalition
  10. Mosleh Uddin Sapan – ROOTS
  11. Shirin Akter – Karmojibi Nari 

 Meeting  Participants

  1. Mir Abul Kalam Azad, Sadhin Bangla
  2. Shamima Nasrin,  Sadhin Bangla
  3. T alib Bashar Nayan – Unnayan Dhara
  4. Kamruzzaman Sagar – BARCIK
  5. A. R. Aaman – ActionAid Bd
  6. Sharifuzzaman Sharif – Nagorik Sanghati
  7. Mohsin Ali – Wave Foundation
  8. Faizullah Choudhury – BUP
  9. Sk Giasuddin Shuvro – PSTC
  10. Feroza Begum – Bachte Shekho Nari
  11. Maliha Shahjahan – APIT
  12. Ratan Sarkar – INCIDIN
  13. Farhat Jahan – ActionAid Bd
  14. Sukanto Sen – BARCIK
  15. Farzana Akhter – VOICE
  16. Abdur Rashid – Angikar Bd
  17.  Khalid Hossain – Rupayan/ Jute Protection Committee
  18. A lamgir Islam Lablu -SPS
  19. Marufia Nur Shifa – Karmojibi nari
  20. M oslemUddin Sapan – Roots
  21. Jakir Hossain – JJS
  22. Prodip Roy – SUPRO