Rights Group called the Government to clarify WB on MDTF

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Dhaka, 18th February 2010. Today, an alliance of eleven rights organizations, called the government to make clear the role of the World Bank in the management of country’s Multi Donor Trust Fund (MDTF). The alliance, led by Equity and Justice Working Group Bangladesh, made this call through organizing a press conference in the National Press Club, Dhaka. They also criticized the role of the country’s development partners and termed their approach ‘colonial’ as they have been consistently pushing Bangladesh to accept World Bank to manage the multi donor trust fund.

The rights groups are; CSRL, EquityBD, Lead Trust, On line knowledge Center, La via Campesina, Prantik, RCASV, Swadin Bangla Garments Sromik Federation, Uddipan, and Voice,

In a written press statement, secretary general of EquityBD, Md Shmasuddoha, said that since the establishment of MDTF in September 2008, the major contributors to this fund, the UK government, and also other EU countries, has been creating pressure to the government to channel this fund through the World Bank. The local development agent of the UK government, the DfID, is insisting so against the wishes of the government. In this backdrop the rights groups both in the UK and Bangladesh criticized such a role of the developed countries. They claimed that the rich countries want to steer the management of climate fund trough establishing authority of their allied forces, the IFIs, in its management.

Although the government of Bangladesh opposed such donors condition earlier, but, after the recently held ‘Bangladesh Development Forum’ meeting it seems that government is going to accept WB’s role on MDTF in the name of Technical Assistance from the Bank. In a joint briefing with the development partners, Finance Minister AMA Muhith said ‘technical and fiduciary management of the fund might be given to the WB. Such statement is just opposite to the government’s previous position and, we presume that donors in the BDF meet make the country bound to accept the WB’s role on the MDTF.

Speakers from the press conference raised the question on the necessity of technical assistance for the WB for such a small amount of trust fund while Bangladesh has proven experiences of managing huge volume county’s development budget by its own. Accepting WB under such a ground is a lame excuse and this is just to satisfy donor’s whim. Speakers urged the government to make the role of the WB on MDTF public. They also demanded a unified country position, irrespective of political differences, against donor’s hegemony and their colonial approach.

Among others, Badrul Alam of La Via Campesina, Shahadat Islam of PRADIP, Mustafa Kamal Akanda, Sanat Kumar Bhowmik of EquityBD spoke in the press conference.

Please Download Press Release [English] [Bangla] [Position Paper]

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