CITIZEN'S VOICE ON: Sustainable Development Goal-SDG
Action/2015 Bangladesh Coalition organized a press conference to express civil society stand on SDG titled ‘Expectations and recommendations of the civil society in the implementation of sustainable development goals’ on 17 September 2015 at 11 am at Round Table Auditorium of Dhaka Reporters Unity, Dhaka.
Chandan Z. Gomes, Advocacy Director of World Vision Bangladesh delivered the keynote speech at the press conference on behalf of the Action/2015 Bangladesh Coalition. Welcome speech was given by Shabira Sultana Nupur, National Advocacy Coordinator of World Vision Bangladesh. Ranjan Karmaker, Executive Director, Steps Towards Development; S M Saikat, Executive Director, SERAC-Bangladesh and Rahatul Ashekin, General Secretary, Brit spoke on behalf of Action/2015 Bangladesh Coalition at the occasion.
The speakers, on behalf of the civil society of Bangladesh, expressed their expectation that before signing the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) in the upcoming general assembly of the UN, government will consider elimination of discrimination, establishment of equality and eradication of poverty. They will involve the general people in the implementation process of SDG as well. Government should also ensure that the key driving force to implement SDG will not be a specific group of people or the bureaucrats, only the common people will be the key factor.
Campaign on International Women’s Day 2015.
National Sharing on ‘SDG : Bangladesh Position and way forward
Action 2015: Bangladesh Coalition hosted a National Sharing on ‘SDG : Bangladesh Position and way forward’ on 10 September 2015 at 10:30 am at CIRDAP Auditorium, Topkhana Road, Dhaka. Organizations represented at the coalition include World Vision Bangladesh, SERAC-Bangladesh, HelpAge International, Brit, Save the Children, and Steps towards Development.
State Minister for the ministry of Finance and Planning M A Mannan MP was present as the chief guest of the program. Kazi Reazul Hoque, Full Time Member, National Human Rights Commission of Bangladesh; Dr. M M Akash, Professor, Dhaka University and Dr. Abul Bashar, Research Fellow, BIDS were the special guests of the program,
Professor Dr. Shamsul Alam (Senior Secretary), Member GED, Planning Commission of Bangladesh presented a keynote paper on Bangladesh’s journey with MDGs to SDGs. He pointed out how the government planning including 7th 5 year financial plan has incorporated the goals already.
The chief guest M A Mannan MP said, the government is very much optimistic in implementing sustainable development goals and engaging backward communities, strengthening systems to fight violence and injustices.
Civil society actors in the development field actively participated in the discussion and provided inputs for sharing at the UN General Assembly delegation from Bangladesh.
‘Meet the Press’ in observance of International CEDAW Day
Reservations on a few articles of the Convention for the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) should be withdrawn before signing of the Sustainable Development Goals which also emphasize removing discrimination in all spheres - Speakers of the meet the press titled 'Ensure full ratification and implementation of CEDAW' organized by Citizens' Initiatives on CEDAW, Bangladesh said that during 2 September 2015 on the eve of International CEDAW Day. They also referred to the Law Commission's recent report in favor of withdrawal of the reservation with instances of other countries.
Maleka Banu, General Secretary, Bangladesh Mahila Parishad; Asgar Ali Sabri, Director, Action Aid Bangladesh; Fawzia Khondker Eva, Gender Consultant, UNDP; Shohel Rana, Program Coordinator, UN Women; Chiro Ranjan Sarker, BRAC: Rashida Hossain, Member, Naripokkho and Ranjan Karmaker, Executive Director, Steps Towards Development argued for withdrawal the reservation on CEDAW.
The speakers urged the government to amend or scrap discriminatory sections of legislation, and change traditional and negative perception towards women in coordination with the social organizations and media.
Article 2 of CEDAW stipulates that states should condemn discrimination against women in all its forms and agree to pursue by all appropriate means and without delay a policy of eliminating discrimination against women. Article 13.1(a) refers to equality of men and women, the same rights, with regards to the right to family benefits.
Similarly article 16.1(c) requires states to ensure same rights and responsibilities during marriage and at its dissolution and (f) the same rights and responsibilities with regard to guardianship, ward ship, trusteeship, and adoption of children. Reservations were made on the above articles as the government thought these provisions conflicted with religious Islamic laws which governed family legal matters for Muslims in Bangladesh.
It is noteworthy that to ensure women's rights, CEDAW was adopted by the United Nations on December 18, 1976, and Bangladesh ratified it on 1984 with reservations in articles 2, 13.1[a], 16.1[c] and [f], which refer to elimination of discriminatory policies against women. Half the population of the country is being deprived of their rights relating to marriage, divorce, guardianship of children and ownership of assets because of the reservations. See the Press Statement.
Gender analysis of economic and social cost of local climate change in Bangladesh.
World Vision Bangladesh and Steps Towards Development conducted a study on “Gender analysis of economic and social cost of local climate change in Bangladesh”. Steps Towards Development organized A National Sharing of the research report on 30 August 2015 at CIRDAP Auditorium.
Dr. A Atiq Rahman, Executive Director, Bangladesh Centre for Advanced Studies (BCAS); Dr. Mahbuba Nasreen, Director and Professor, Institute of Disaster Management and Vulnerability Studies, University of Dhaka and Dr. Abdul Matin, General Secretary, BAPA (Bangladesh Paribesh Andolon) attended the program as guest speakers. Mr. Wilfred Sikukula, Group Director of Program, World Vision Bangladesh presided over the program. Mr Ranjan Karmaker, Executive Director of Steps Towards Development presented the Key note paper of the program.
Speakers opined that gender perspective should be included during drafting all national policy and planning or taking any steps to combat affects of climate change. They demanded to find a way out to support for increasing emphasis on gender analysis through gender-disaggregated data collection, set gender sensitive indicator and standards along with considering gender perspectives of climate change.
Education, Equal Justice & Protection against Gender Based Violence of Persons with Autism, Intellectual and Multiple Disabilities.
Society for Education and Inclusion of the Disabled (SEID), Steps Towards Development and Bangladesh Protibondhi Foundation (BPF) have jointly organized a round table discussion titled “Education, Equal Justice and Protection against Gender Based Violence of Persons with Autism, Intellectual and Multiple Disabilities” on 11th August, 2015 at 3 pm at ‘Azimur Rahman Conference Hall’ at the capital's The Daily Star Centre.
Speakers urged the government to ensure training for all the teachers to give extra care at school to the children with disabilities. They said at the special schools such children are provided with only primary education.
The Chief Guest State Minister for Women and Children Affairs Meher Afroz Chumki said, “If people understood their [children with disabilities] problem, the issue would be solved to a great extent.” She also underscored the need for an early screening system for the prevention of birth of child with disabilities.
The Social Welfare Secretary Tariq-ul-Islam said his ministry had conducted a survey and listed a total of 18 lakh persons with disabilities though many might have been dropped.
BPF Executive Director Dr Shamim Ferdous; Jatiyo Protibondhi Unnayan Foundation Director Dr Anwar Ullah, Executive Director of Centre for the Rehabilitation of the Paralysed Shafiqul Islam, among others, spoke at the program.
Ranjan Karmakar, Executive Director of Steps Towards Development presided over the roundtable which was moderated by SEID Executive Director Dilara Satter Mitu.
Regional conference of Right to food 2015
Parallel session on
“Right to Food; Economic Empowerment of Women"
A parallel session titled “Right to Food; Economic Empowerment of Women" was organized at the regional conference of Right to Food 2015 on 1st June at 11 am at at Alumni (Kanakchapa) of Senate Bhaban of Dhaka University. The parallel session was jointly organized by Steps Towards Development and World Vision Bangladesh. The discussant of the parallel session were Professor Khondoker Mokaddem Hossain, PhD, Pro-Vice Chancellor of Bangladesh Open University & Founder Professor of Institute of Disaster Management and Vulnerability Studies University of Dhaka and Sharmind Neelormi, Professor, Department of Economics, Jahangir Nagar University. The session was moderated by Engr. Maksudur Rahman; MBA, FIEB, PHF, National Advisor- Economic Development, World Vision Bangladesh
At the very beginning of the session Director of Steps Towards Development, Rekha Saha welcomed and introduced the discussant and the moderator of the Program. Mr. Ranjan Karmaker, Executive director of Steps Towards Development presented the keynote paper of the session. Rafeza Begum, President, Slum Development Committee, Hazaribag, Dhaka and Lily Begum, women entrepreneur, Kilagaon, Dhaka shared their experience of their society on women’s right to food in relation with their income.
At the end of the session an open discussion was carried out by the participants; they shared their experience and gave recommendations on ensuring rights to food for women.
Gender Responsiveness of the National Budget 2015-2016:
Steps Towards Development has been working to promote Gender Responsive Budgeting (GRB) in Bangladesh since long. As part of Steps’s initiatives to make budgets more gender-responsive, a pre-budget sharing titled ‘Gender Responsiveness of the National Budget 2015-2016’ was organized on 4 May 2015 at National Press Club Conference Lounge at 3pm.
M A Mannan MP, Honorable State Minister, Ministry of Finance & Planning was the chief guest of the program. The program was presided over by Dr. Mahbuba Nasreen, Professor of Dhaka University. Panel discussants of the sharing were as follows: Dr. M M Akash, Professor, Dhaka University; Salma Khan, Former Chair of UNCEDAW Committee and Dr. Nazneen Ahmed, Senior research Fellow, BIDS.
The speakers said that the government has to allocate adequate budget and make the local government to central government to implement it. There has to be coordination between Go-NGO initiatives. Collective social movement should be build to change mind set of the society and the local government can play a coordinating role in this regard.