July 18, 2024, 10:47 am

Rezaul Karim Chowdhury

2023-05-20 23:46:05 BdST

Speakers highlight concerns over humanitarian funding gap and advocate for localization of aidState of the Humanitarian System Report 2022 Launched in Dhaka

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. This concern arises due to an increase in humanitarian crises and affected individuals, coupled with a decrease in funding.

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 was moderated by Rezaul Karim Chowdhury of COAST Foundation while the keynote was presented by Jennifer Doherty of ANLAP.

Mr. Md. Mizanur Rahman, Director General (DG) of the Department of Disaster Management, was the Chief Guest, Mr. Mohammed Mizanur Rahman, Refugee Relief & Repatriation Commissioner (RRRC), Ms. Gwyn Lewis, UN Resident Coordinator in Bangladesh, Simon Lever, Councilor of British High Commission, Ms. Nusrat Ghazzali, Deputy Chief Mission of IoM Bangladesh were present as the Special Guests.

The event also featured esteemed guest speakers, including Mr. KAM Morshed, Senior Director of Advocacy for Social Change at BRAC, Mr. Gawher Nayeem Wahra from Disaster Forum, Mr. Sajid Rahman of Start Fund Bangladesh, Mr. Sanjeev Bhanja, Regional Director of Tear Fund Asia Region, and Mr. Mihir Bhatt from AIDM, India.

Representatives from local, international NGOs, and UN agencies were also present at the seminar.

During her presentation, 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. Funding gaps persist despite reaching $31.3 billion in 2021, and attacks on aid workers increased by 67%. Concentration of funding and limited support for UN agencies reveal vulnerabilities in the humanitarian system.

Mr. Md. Mizanur Rahman 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 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. Repatriation, collaboration with NGOs and INGOs, and the engagement of local communities were emphasized.

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.

The role of local responders and the promotion of local sourcing of resources were acknowledged.

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 and the need for equitable fund distribution and empowering local organizations.

Rezaul Karim Chowdhury recognized Bangladesh's success in combating COVID-19 and 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 Md. Kalim from Pulse Bangladesh, Cox's Bazar, also spoke at the occasion.

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