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coastnet

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IRIN, originally known as Integrated Regional Information Networks, usually delivers unique, authoritative and independent reporting from the frontlines of crises.  With the motto ‘inside story on emergency, it works through a global network of more than 200 local correspondents. Recently IRIN has published an analysis titled #MeToo sex scandals spur interest in standards for the aid sector. The analysis talks about the Humanitarian Quality Assurance Initiative (HQAI) process and it has quoted Rezaul Karim Chowdhury, the Executive Director of COAST Trust. It is to be noted that, COAST Trust is the first southern NGO to be certified by the Humanitarian Quality Assurance Initiative (HQAI), an independent auditing and advisory service for relief aid agencies, based in Geneva. COAST gained its certificate in January 2018.

In the aforesaid analysis, Ben Perker says, #MeToo sexual abuse scandals that has jolted the humanitarian sector has prompted calls for proper oversight and vetting of aid agencies and workers, and for the introduction of mandatory professional standards.

The full analysis can be found from this link:

http://www.irinnews.org/analysis/2018/05/02/metoo-sex-scandals-spur-interest-standards-aid-sector

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12th May 2018. The ISCG and CCNF organized a consultation in Cox’s Bazar on “ Joint Response Planning (JRP) for Rohingya Humanitarian Crisis and affected Host Communities” in Uni Resort, Cox’s Bazar. The meeting was presided by Additional Deputy Commissioner Cox’s Bazar Mohammed Mahidur Rahman; the Chief Guest was Mohammed Abul Kalam, Refugee Relief and Repatriation Commissioner (RRRC). The key note presentation was given by Ms. Margo Baars and Ms Rhonda Gossen of ISCG. Ms. Sumbul Rizvi the Senior Coordinator ISCG gave the welcome remarks at the event.

Mr. Mohammed Abul Kalam emphasized the importance of preparing for medium term planning combining the Rohingya humanitarian response and development plans for host communities in Coxsbazar. This was reiterated by Ms. Rizvi for effective and efficient response.

“This problem is not a creation of Bangladesh” said Mr. Abul Kalam. “We are the custodians, till such time that these forcibly displaced Myanmar nationals can go home. There are increased tensions, boundaries between host community areas and camps are disappearing. Infrastructure that was meant to support 2000 people, is now supporting 30,000 people, for example. There are livelihood and security issues.”

Approximately one fourth of planned activities and requested funds under the Joint Response Plan for the Rohingya Humanitarian Crisis are targeted for the Bangladeshi host communities (336,000 persons) directly impacted by the crisis.

“The Government and people of Bangladesh have welcomed the Rohingya refugees forced to flee targeted persecution,” said Ms. Sumbul Rizvi. “Support to the host communities affected by the crisis is critical to the Joint Response Plan. Its implementation depends upon timely support from donors and through integrated social cohesion activities.”

Panelists praised the provisions under the JRP for host communities. There are 101 projects, targeted at host communities, across 10 sectors ranging from Education, Food Security, Health, WASH and others. Currently, there are 28,944 families who receive livelihoods support; 7,700 families/individuals and 500 farmers received agricultural inputs training and equipment.; 25,000 people have received micro-gardening support; eight tons of medicines has been provided to the Civil Surgeon Office.

An area where much more needs to be done is the environment. Forests shrank dramatically when the refugees began settling, wherever they could find land. But beginnings have been made. Nine grass nurseries have been established in Ukhia and Teknaf Upazila for slope stabilization, Agencies are collaborating with the Forestry Department for production of planting materials for land stabilization works to be conducted in June and July (14 sites) seedlings ready for planting with rainy season.

In preparation for the monsoon, 40 km of connecting roads in Ukhia and Teknaf is being repaired; 20 public buildings are being assessed and upgraded for possible shelters: and main waterways (canals) are being dredged to avoid overflow and flooding.

Mr. Kalam, the RRRC highlighted the need for a development plan along with the humanitarian response. He emphasized peaceful coexistence, assessing impact both in individual and community level, equity in distribution, inclusive participatory mechanism in planning and implementation. Ms. Rizvi agreed that development actors must do more in this response, prioritizing areas where refugees and host communities live.

“It is both frustrating and disappointing to see that the funding response to the JRP is meagre,” says Mr. Abul Kalam. “We urgent the international community to strongly come with support to the forcibly displaced Myanmar nationals. Otherwise it will be difficult for Bangladesh to continue providing this level of support.”

Other speakers at the consultation included the Civil Surgeon Dr. Abdus Salam, Divisional Forest Officer Md Ali Kabir, and Additional Superintendent of Police Mr. Chailau Marma. The event was moderated Mr. Abu Morshed Chowdhury and Mr. Rezaul Karim Chowdhury Co-Chairs of CCNF. Ms Sonjukta Sahani from IoM and Mr Davide from WFP has also spoke on the occasion. Locally elected leaders of local government from Ukhiya and Teknaf, namely Mr. Zafor Ahmed from Teknaf Upazila, Mr. Nur Ahmed Anwari from Hoyangkong Union, Mr. Mozaffar Ahmed from Palongkhali Union, Ms. Marzina Begum from Rajapalong Union, Ms. Tahera Akhter Mili from Teknaf Upazila also spoke on the occasion. Donor representatives included the Embassy of Sweden, ECHO, JICA and USAID. There were around 100 participants, especially from government agencies, local governments, and ISCG sector coordinators, UN agencies, INGOs, local and national NGOs and donor agencies.

The Chair of the meeting Additional Deputy Commissioner Mr Mahidur Rahman said that the ultimate solution is how we all together can expedite the safe and voluntary repatriation, and all actors should contribute to that. He concluded the meeting proposing to create separate fund for host community development.
Please Download [Bangla Press] [English Press]
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Coxsbazar, 29th April 2018. Today a delegation from Coxsbazar Civil Society and NGO Forum (CCNF) handed over a memorandum to the visiting United Nation Security Council (UNSC) delegation in Coxsbazar in a luncheon . On behalf of the UNSC delegation, the memorandum has been taken over by the Poland Representative to the UNSC Ms Joanna Wronecks . The copy has also handed over to all the luncheon meeting participants including State Minister for Foreign Affairs Mr Sharier Alam and UN Resident Coordinator Ms. Mea Seppo. The memorandum handed by a team of CCNF leaded by Co Chair Abu Morshed Chowdhury of PHALS, Bimol Chandra Sarkar of MUKTI, Moqbul Ahmed of COAST, Khaleda Akher of YPSA and Kazi Muid of SARPB.
The memorandum has contains six points demand from CCNF, these are
(1) Take resolution in UNSC to bring the Myanmar government’s people who are responsible for this “Ethnic Cleansing” in the International Court of Justice.
(2) Take resolution in UNSC to impose embargo on trade and arm business in Mayanmar.
(3) take all actions that Mayanmar government to ensure citizenship and thereby all related rights for Rohingyas as a first and foremost demand in all negotiations.
(4) Take all actions that Mayanmar government not to keep Rohingya refugees in IDP (Internally Displaced People) camp, they must be given the rights to live in their lands and must be compensated for the losses. There must be the presence of UN peace keeping forces.
(5) UN must prepare a “Environmental Recovery Fund” for Coxsbazar, as we the Coxsbazar population has already lost a remarkable level on our natural resources, i.e., water, forest etc. It should be noted that Coxsabazar population are very much depended in natural resources.
(6) UN agencies should follow their Grand Bargain commitment to minimize aid transaction cost and also to take effective participation of local people in Rohingya relief.
The six points demand have been discussed during the luncheon meeting where other high government officials, UN officials were also in presence.
Please download press release [Bangla Press] [English Press] [Memorandum to UNSC by CCNF In Cox’s Bazar]

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Dhaka, 29 April, 2018: Today, from a human chain, in front of National Press Club, 30 rights based civil society organizations, NGOs and disaster networks demanded for prioritizing disaster and climate-resilient infrastructure. The human chain titled “Remembering devastating cyclone 29th April 1991: Govt. must prioritize disaster/climate resilient infrastructure” was organized the remembering devastating cyclone victims of 29th April 1991. From the human chain, speakers asks UN agencies and INGOs to keep off from direct project operation in Bangladesh rather to provide space to local NGOs leadership followed by their commitments in WHS summit 2016 and Grand Bargain.

The human chain was jointly organized by Online Knowledge Society, ARPAN, Alok Jatra, UDDIPAN, Udayan Bangladesh, Unnayan Dhara Trust, SDO, COAST Trust, National Women Farmers Association, , National Workers Alliance, Disaster Forums, Dak Diye Zai, Dwip Unnayan Sonhstha, PSI, Palli-Bangla Unnayan Sangtsha, Bangladesh Workers Federation, Bangladesh Association of Farm Labour Federation, Bangladesh Bhumihin Samity, BDPC, Muktir Dak , Labor Resource Center, SANGRAM , CDP, Sankalpo Trust, Nature Campaign,NIRAPAD, Prantojon and DACOP.

Mustafa Kamal Akand of COAST Trust moderated the human chain, while Shawkat Ali Tutul from the same organization read out the position paper and the demands. Among others Abdul Kader Hazari of ARPAN, Subal Sarker of Bangladesh Bhumihin Samity, Zayed Iqbal Khan of Bangladesh Krishak Federation, Tajul Islam of Disaster Forum and Laila Kabir of BDPC also spoke at the occasion.

Shawkat Ali Tutul said, last 27 years after the devastating cyclone 1991 there was a little initiative from the government to construct disaster and climate resilient infrastructures in Bangladesh. But government emphasised metro rail, electricity power generation, bridges, flyovers, four-lane roads, multi-storeyed building, and expressways like mega project. This is true that a country like Bangladesh needed for such growth oriented development but disaster and climate-tolerant infrastructures should get the first priority otherwise coastal and disaster prone population will leave their own inhabitant and create extra over burden in the big city like Chattogram and Dhaka.

Abdul Kader Hajari said, every year, the tidal and floodwater inundates hundreds of acres of land in the island, coastal land with saline water. Coastal people are facing the challenges with their own capabilities. He demanded to increase government support in the livelihood activities of the people of these Chars and coastal people.

Zayed Iqbal Khan said, even after 27 years of the devastation, there have no visible initiatives on protection of the coastal people. They are still leaving in risk and in vulnerable condition. He demanded to prevent the intrusion of saline water to the coastal areas to save the agricultural through construction of permanent embankment in coastal belt.

Lila Kabir said, the ground water layer mostly of hilly areas and other parts of the country has deep down. Bangladesh will face severe water crisis in the future if there is no control of the underground water lifting and storing surface water is not increased. She also urged the government to allow more community radio in the chars and coastal areas so that the weather forecasting, news and cautionary signal is easily accessible to the people.

Tajul Islam said, due to stormy weather almost every year many fishing boats capsized and fishermen missing in the sea. But as there has no appropriate registration system for the boat and for the fishermen the victim families get no support from the government and even the boat owners ignore to recognize the victim fishermen. He asked the Government should ensure registration of the boat with the local authorities of Upazila adminstration.

Mustafa Kamal Akand in his closing speech asked the United Nations agencies and INGOs in Bangladesh to keep their commitment at WHS and Grand bargain. He requested UN and INGOs to keep off from direct operation rather provide space to local NGOs leadership.
Please download related paper [Bangla Press] [English Press] [Leaflet]
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IRIN, originally known as Integrated Regional Information Networks, usually delivers unique, authoritative and independent reporting from the frontlines of crises.  With the motto ‘inside...