Dhaka, May 20, 2023 – At a seminar held in Dhaka, concerns were raised by speakers regarding the disparity between humanitarian needs and received funds. They stressed the importance of promoting aid localization to reduce operational costs. The seminar, titled “State of the Humanitarian System Report 2022: Bangladesh Perspective,” was organized by COAST Foundation with support from ANLAP, a London-based network of humanitarian agencies.
The seminar, held in the Lakeshore Hotel in Gulshan, was moderated by Rezaul Karim Chowdhury of COAST Foundation. Jennifer Doherty of ANLAP presented the keynote. Mr. Md. Mizanur Rahman, Director General of the Department of Disaster Management, was the Chief Guest. Mr. Mohammed Mizanur Rahman, Refugee Relief & Repatriation Commissioner, Ms. Gwyn Lewis, UN Resident Coordinator in Bangladesh, Simon Lever, Councilor of British High Commission, and Ms. Nusrat Ghazzali, Deputy Chief Mission of IoM Bangladesh, were the Special Guests. Other guest speakers included Mr. KAM Morshed from BRAC, Mr. Gawher Nayeem Wahra from Disaster Forum, Mr. Sajid Rahman from Start Fund Bangladesh, Mr. Sanjeev Bhanja, Regional Director of Tear Fund Asia Region, and Mr. Mihir Bhatt from AIDM, India. Representatives from local and international NGOs, as well as UN agencies, also attended the seminar.
Ms. Jennifer highlighted the global escalation of conflicts, disasters, and displacement, further exacerbated by the pandemic. Forced displacement doubled to 89.3 million in 2021, with 161 million people facing acute food insecurity. The need for humanitarian aid surged to $255 million in 2021, projected to reach $339 million in 2023. Concentration of funding and limited support for UN agencies reveal vulnerabilities in the humanitarian system.
Mr. Md. Mizanur Rahman (DG-DDM) emphasized Bangladesh’s progress in disaster management, highlighting the significant reduction in cyclone-related deaths. He stressed the need to strengthen capabilities in addressing earthquakes and landslides. Mr. Mohammed Mizanur Rahman (RRRC) highlighted the importance of addressing social tensions between Rohingya and host communities, along with challenges in Cox’s Bazar due to demographic imbalance and depleting water levels. Gwyn Lewis emphasized the impact of limited funding on supporting the Rohingya people and the necessity of doing better with less. Simon Lever stressed open discussions on localization efforts and ensuring the right support reaches the right people at the right time. Nusrat Gazali highlighted the importance of consolidating efforts between various organizations for effective humanitarian responses. Sanjeeb Bhanja emphasized aid effectiveness through intersectoral coordination, while K A M Morshed stressed the importance of globally accepted indicators and tailoring responses. Sajid Rahman highlighted the challenge of resource concentration. Rezaul Karim Chowdhury emphasized the need to grant decision-making authority to local staff, provide necessary facilities, and entrust leadership to local and national NGOs.
Among others, Rafael Sterling from FAO, Wendy McCance from NRC, Shabira Nupur from International Rescue Committee, Shuvankar Chakraborty from MAP Bangladesh, Barisal, Akbar Hossain from Rangpur Protibondi Foundation, Rangpur, Ahsan Uddin from NGOP, Cox’s Bazar, Masuda Faruque Ratna from GBSS, Dhaka, Saaikat Biswas from UNRC Office, Abul Kashem from Help, Ukhiya, and Saiful Islam Kolim from Pulse Bangladesh, Cox’s Bazar, also spoke at the occasion.