Inside Bangladesh

PM for putting climate change victims in charge of fighting its impact

Publish: 02:36 PM, 01 Dec, 2023


Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has coauthored an article with CEO of the Global Center on Adaptation Patrick Verkooijen on climate change in the famous American weekly news magazine, Newsweek.

The article was published on Thursday (November 30) while the global leaders are convening for the COP28 climate summit in Dubai to find ways to fight climate change impact globally.

Following is the full article:

Let's Put People Back at the Heart of Climate Action

By Sheikh Hasina and Patrick Verkooijen

Climate change is a global disaster inflicted by the rich upon the poor-and increasingly upon themselves. Global leaders convening for the COP28 climate summit in Dubai need to understand that their top-down approach can never work. Rather, we need to put the victims in charge of the fight back and fund their battle.

The climate breakdown will not wait while leaders equivocate. It is already unleashing typhoons and floods on communities, and spreading hunger through crop failures and drought. Only a tiny fraction of climate funding reaches the people battling the worst effects of climate change-they are without the resources needed to protect themselves and their livelihoods, leaving them more vulnerable. Climate injustice is being exacerbated.

Climate action at a global level makes no sense unless it helps protect people on the frontlines of climate change. We need to find ways to quickly and efficiently channel all necessary funding to locally led climate-resilience initiatives. This calls for fresh thinking and a new approach. At COP28, the world needs to double down on adaptation finance. The Loss and Damage Fund must become fully operational so we can respond rapidly and urgently to meet the needs of local communities to rebuild infrastructure and adapt more effectively to climate impacts. This is also a vital step toward climate justice.

Moving from Global to Local

To ensure adaptation finance flows from developed to developing countries double to reach $40 billion by 2025, as pledged at COP26 in Glasgow, finance providers must on average increase annual adaptation flows by at least 16 percent between 2022 and 2025. Yet adaptation finance flows to developing countries declined 15 percent in 2021 to $21.3 billion. That is clearly too little. Yet less than 6 percent of this sum, and perhaps as little as 2 percent, reaches climate-resilience projects led by local communities. Estimates vary due to a lack of properly tracking and reporting money flows-and this needs to improve. But it's also because climate policy and decision-making flows from the top down.

The people who know which towns, streets, fields, and homes are most vulnerable are those who live there. We must encourage and empower them to get together and draw up and implement their own projects to protect themselves against the consequences of climate change.

This is easier said than done. Local communities often lack the time and skills to manage longer-term projects aimed at strengthening climate resilience. They need help and training to draw up project proposals; and to access funding they need basic things such as legally constituted organizations and bank accounts.

Bangladesh has always been a leader in locally led climate adaptation and recently the government has been exploring various ways to channel climate assistance to local communities. The Mujib Climate Prosperity Plan makes it easier to access low-interest loans for adaptation, has a climate risk fund to train communities and local governments to lead adaptation, expands green banking services, and explores paying communities for ecosystem services.   

Through the Global Hub on Locally Led Adaptation in Dhaka, the government is also helping scale up solutions and share best practices with other vulnerable regions of the world. These efforts are already achieving dramatic improvements on the ground.

From Challenges to Opportunities

In Mongla, the second-largest seaport in Bangladesh, the mayor and residents are drawing up a plan to identify economic opportunities in their climate challenges. Like other major cities, Mongla has seen a large influx of climate migrants even as it struggles with rising sea levels-a consequence of global warming-that are contaminating the city's fresh water supplies. Mongla is mapping settlements, identifying key climate vulnerabilities, and developing locally led initiatives. With the support of the U.K. and Canadian governments working through BRAC, an international development agency, and the Global Center on Adaptation, it is hoped that Mongla's People's Adaptation Plans might become a blueprint for other towns and cities adapting to climate change.

This shows us that locally led adaptation is the way forward. But we need to massively scale up these approaches. For that, we need to find ways to finance local communities, without creating undue risk for donors. Strong intermediary organizations can be valuable here to act as a transmission belt to accelerate People's Adaptation Plans into the portfolio of large financiers, including international finance institutions such as the World Bank and Asian Development Bank.

COP28 will only be a success if it achieves real benefits for the communities most affected by the climate crisis. This year's climate summit must ensure that finance flows to the poor communities most affected by climate change, and into locally led, appropriate, and effective adaptation. If we achieve this, the world will have taken a big step toward redressing the gross injustices of climate change.


Prime Minister   Sheikh Hasina   Global Center on Adaptation   Newsweek   COP28   Climate Change  


Inside Bangladesh

President, PM pay homage to language heroes

Publish: 09:57 AM, 21 Feb, 2024


President Mohammed Shahabuddin and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina have paid rich tributes to the martyrs of the historic Language Movement marking the Amar Ekushey and the International Mother Language Day.

Both the Head of the State and the Head of the Government paid homage by placing wreaths at the Central Shaheed Minar in the city at one minute past midnight tonight.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina arrived at the Shaheed Minar premises seven minutes before the clock struck 12 midnight, while President Shahabuddin reached the Central Shaheed Minar three minutes before the zero hour.

The President and the Premier proceeded to the altar of the Central Shaheed Minar together in slow pace while playing the historic immortal song on the Amar Ekushey "Amar Vaiyer Rokte Rangano Ekushey February . . . Ami Ki Vulitey Pari ?"

President Shahabuddin was the first to lay wreath at the Central Shaheed Minar. Just after the President, the premier placed wreath at the Shaheed Minar.

They stood in solemn silence for some time as a mark of profound respect to the memories of the Language Heroes.

Speaker, ministers, advisers to the prime minister, parliament members, chiefs of the three services, senior Awami League leaders, freedom fighters, foreign diplomats and high civil and military officials were present on the occasion.

Subsequently, flanked by cabinet members and senior leaders of the party, Sheikh Hasina, also the President of ruling Bangladesh Awami League, placed another wreath at the Shaheed Minar on behalf of the party.

Later, Jatiya Sangsad Speaker Dr Shirin Sharmin Chaudhury placed wreaths at the Central Shaheed Minar.

Earlier, on arrival at the Shaheed Minar, the President was received by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and Vice Chancellor of Dhaka University Professor ASM Maksud Kamal.

Leader of the Opposition in Parliament GM Quader also placed a wreath at the Shaheed Minar.

Later, chiefs of the three services, inspector general of police, the ambassadors and high commissioners of different countries, the heads of different international organizations, Rapid Action Battalion (RAB), Border Guards Bangladesh (BGB), war-wounded freedom fighters and Dhaka University Alumni Association (DUAA), among others, placed wreaths at the Shaheed Minar.

Later, the Shaheed Minar was opened to the public when hundreds of people from all walks of life walked barefoot with flowers in hands and humming "Amar Bhaiyer Rokte Rangano Ekushey February" to recall the supreme sacrifice of the language heroes on this day in 1952.



Inside Bangladesh

PM to hand over 'Ekushey Padak-2024' today

Publish: 11:35 AM, 20 Feb, 2024


Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina will hand over the "Ekushey Padak-2024" to 21 eminent individuals today on the occasion of the Amar Ekushey and the International Mother Language Day.

The premier will hand over the Ekushey Padak, the second highest civilian award in Bangladesh, at a programme at Osmani Memorial Auditorium here at 11 am.

President Mohammed Shahabuddin and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina yesterday issued separate messages on the occasion of awarding the Ekushey Padak.

In the separate messages, both the President and the Prime Minister wished success of the event.

The nation is set to observe the "Amar Ekushey and the International Mother Language Day" on February 21 to pay glowing tributes to the Language Movement martyrs who made supreme sacrifice for the cause of the mother language on this day in 1952.

President Mohammed Shahabuddin, in his message, said the Great Language Movement is an unforgettable event in the national history and the seed of Bangladesh's independence was sown through the language movement.

He recalled with respect the contribution of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, who led the All Party Council for Struggle on State Language formed in 1948 to establish the right of mother tongue.

President Shahabuddin said the spirit of Amar Ekushey (1952's Language Movement) is an eternal inspiration for world people of different mother tongues to protect their respective mother languages.

The Head of the State paid profound respect to the memory of the immortal martyrs of the country's long struggle for independence, including the country's Great Language Movement of February 21, 1952.

"The United Nations has declared February 21 as International Mother Language Day and our mother language day is now become a festival of honoring mother languages of all," he added.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, in her message, paid her deep respect to the memory of all the martyrs who sacrificed their lives to protect and uphold the dignity of the mother language 'Bangla' on February 21, 1952.

With utmost respect, the premier remembered all language movement veterans, including the greatest Bengali of all time, Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, who led the fight for the dignity of the Bengali language.

As the martyrs of Ekushey are the illustrious sons of the nation, the recipients of the prestigious Ekushey padak in different categories are also pride of the nation, the prime minister said, adding that award-prize inspires people in their way of life although these personalities do not work for such awards or prizes.

With the spirit of Amar Ekushey, we are awarding the prestigious Ekushey Padak to all those who have made great contributions in various fields in the development of art, literature, science and culture and building an enlightened society in the country, Sheikh Hasina added.

Noting that during the tenure of the Awami League government, the amount of money given to the award recipients has been increased several times, she said in the last 2020, it has been increased to Taka four lakh each.

A total of 565 distinguished individuals and reputed institutions were awarded 'Ekushey Padak' in recognition of their contributions in various fields in national life, the premier mentioned.

The young generation following the path of this year's Ekushey Padak awardees and institutions will play an active role in building the 'Sonar Bangla' (golden Bangladesh) envisioned by the Father of the Nation and enrich our language and literature by practicing Bengali's glorious history, tradition, art, literature and culture in days to come, she hoped.

The premier said a total of 21 individuals will get the country's second-highest civilian award, the Ekushey Padak, this year in recognition of their contributions to various fields.

This year two people got the award in the Language Movement category, one in making documentation on the Liberation War, 11 in Shilpakala (acting, music, recitation, arts and painting), two in social service, one in education and four in language and literature.

Md Ashrafuddin Ahmed and valiant Freedom Fighter Hatem Ali Mia (posthumously) have been named for the award in the Language Movement category.

Jalal Uddin Kha (posthumously), Freedom Fighter Kolyani Ghose, Bidit Lal Das (posthumously), Andru Kishore (posthumously) and Shuvra Deb will receive the award in the category of Shilpakala (music) while Shibli Mohammad in Shilpakala (dance), Doly Zahur and MA Alamgir in Shilpakala (acting), Khan Md Mustafa Walid (Shimul Mustafa), Rupa Chakrabarti in Shilpakala (recitation), Shajahan Ahmed Bikash in Shilpakala (painting), Kawsar Chowdhury in Shilpakala (documentation), Md Ziaul Haque and Rafique Ahmed in social service, Muhammad Samad, Luthfur Rahman Ritan, Minar Mansur and Rudra Muhammad Shahidullah (posthumously) (language and literature) and Professor Dr venerable Jinabodhi (education) have been named for the awards.

The cultural affairs ministry confers the award with a gold medal, a certificate of honour and cash.


Inside Bangladesh

Counter conspiracies against country's prosperity: PM Hasina tells expatriates

Publish: 11:01 AM, 19 Feb, 2024


Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has asked the expatriate Bangladeshis to give a befitting reply to the conspiracies against the country's prosperity with correct information.

"Some people don't want the progress of the country and the continuation of democracy. They are conspiring against the country's prosperity by giving false information. You (expatriate Bangladeshis) have to give a reply to the conspiracies raising correct information," she said.

The prime minister made the remarks while exchanging views with the leaders of All European Expatriate Awami League at her Place of Residence in Munich, Germany on Sunday afternoon.

She asked them to maintain communication with the leaders of their host countries and inform them of the real pictures of Bangladesh. “Every expatriate will have to work as an ambassador of Bangladesh,” she said.

She said some Bangladeshis try to tarnish the image of the country in foreign lands. “Stay vigilant so that they can’t do it,” she added.  

Noting that her government has been establishing 100 special economic zones and several high-tech parks across Bangladesh, Sheikh Hasina called upon the Bangladeshi diaspora to invest personally or with foreign partners in Bangladesh. “You can search your investment partners. You can invest in Bangladesh,” she said.

The PM said the expatriate Bangladeshis can contribute to the socio-economic development of Bangladesh and its people, she said.

Focusing on her government’s measures to ensure the country's overall development, she said, "We have ensured development up to the grassroots."

She said Bangladesh has got the status of a developing country and will start its journey towards becoming a developing nation in 2026.

So, the expatriate Bangladeshis can play a pivotal role to smoothen the journey towards a developing nation, she added.

The PM said they have been working to transform Bangladesh into a developed, prosperous and Smart Bangladesh by 2041.

Sheikh Hasina reiterated that Bangladesh held the country's most free, fair and credible election on January 7, 2024 since 1975.

Foreign Minister Hasan Mahmud and Bangladesh Ambassador to Germany Mosharraf Hossain Bhuiyan, among others, were present.



Inside Bangladesh

Grameen Bank responds to allegations of Dr. Yunus

Publish: 08:23 PM, 16 Feb, 2024


Grameen Bank issued a press release on Thursday (Feb 15) refuting the accusations made by Dr. Muhammad Yunus regarding the Grameen institutions, terming them as misleading, false, illegal and deliberate.

According to the media release, the Grameen Bank Board of Directors recently undertook initiatives to establish the legal rights of its impoverished and landless members.

In the 155th board meeting held last Monday (Feb 12), the chairman and a specified number of directors were nominated to the boards of seven institutions, including Grameen Telecom and Grameen Kalyan.
However, Dr. Muhammad Yunus allegedly made several misleading and untrue statements during a press conference, which Grameen Bank believes undermines the rights of its 1.05 million members and their families. Therefore, the bank deemed it necessary to clarify its position and provide accurate information on the matter.
According to Grameen Bank authorities, the bank possesses the legal authority to appoint a chairman and a specified number of directors in institutions created with its financial cooperation and benefits. Detailed references supporting this claim are provided in the Articles of Association of Grameen Telecom (Articles 51, 35(iii), 51) and Grameen Kalyan (Article 32(iii)), as well as Article 48 of the Articles of Association.
Grameen Bank asserts that Dr. Yunus was nominated as the chairman of Grameen Telecom in 1995 and Grameen Kalyan in 1996 in accordance with the Articles of Association of these institutions. This nomination process continued with the recent nominations made during the 155th board meeting.
Contrary to Dr. Yunus's claims during the press conference, Grameen Bank refutes the assertion that its power to nominate directors was abolished by changes to the Articles of Association of Grameen Telecom and Grameen Kalyan in 2009. The bank labels Dr. Yunus's statement as false, fabricated, misleading, and deliberate.
Besides, Dr. Yunus's claim of ownership over Grameen Bank and the institutions it created is challenged by Grameen Bank, which states that such assertions conflict with the interests of its 1.05 million borrowers, are unethical and violate the law.
The bank says that Grameen Bank is a statutory body established by the Grameen Bank Ordinance 1983, owned by the Government of Bangladesh and its borrower shareholders, a matter that has been affirmed by the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court.
Besides, Grameen Bank contests Dr. Yunus' assertion that institutions or banks created by government order cannot legally establish or own private limited companies. The bank argues that the establishment of Grameen Kalyan was proposed by Dr. Yunus himself during the 42nd board meeting held on April 25, 1996, while he served as the managing director of the bank.
In line with the legal provisions, representatives from the bank visited six institutions located in the Grameen Telecom Building to implement the decision of the 155th board meeting.
Despite Dr. Yunus's allegations of extortion during the press conference, Grameen Bank states that its representatives were welcomed and cooperated with on that day. They handed over the decision letter of the Grameen Bank board meeting to the higher authorities of the institutions in accordance with the rules.
The Board of Directors of Grameen Bank expresses hope that the decisions made during the board meeting will contribute to fulfilling the commitment upon which Grameen Bank was established, for the greater welfare of the rural poor and to protect their interests.
Earlier, Dr. Yunus, along with Managing Director of Grameen Telecom Nazmul Islam and Managing Director of Grameen Kalyan AKM Moinuddin Chowdhury, held a press conference at Grameen Telecom Bhawan in Mirpur of the capital on Thursday afternoon, where Dr. Yunus claimed that every institution in the building was established with profits from business activities and thus beyond Grameen Bank's jurisdiction.

Grameen Bank   Dr. Muhammad Yunus  


Inside Bangladesh

Bus-auto rickshaw collision leaves 7 people dead in Mymensingh

Publish: 04:31 PM, 16 Feb, 2024


At least seven people, including an autorickshaw driver, died in a head-on collision between a speeding bus and a CNG-run autorickshaw in Alalpur area of Mymensingh Sadar upazila on Friday afternoon, according to police.

The identities of the victims could not be known immediately, said Md Anwar Hossain, officer-in-charge (investigation), Kotwali Model Police Station.

He said the accident happened around 12:00 pm when the bus crashed into the autorickshaw coming from the opposite direction on the Mymensingh-Sherpur regional road in the Alalpur area, leaving all seven dead on the spot.

All the victims except the driver were passengers in the autorickshaw, he said.

Details about the fatal accident would be shared later, the police officer added.

Mymensingh   Accident   CNG   Autorickshaw