Speakers at the concluding session of the second annual conference of BDCSO Process, a platform of 700 local civic organisations in Bangladesh, called on the United Nations (UN) to work with local NGOs on equality and transparency.
At the virtual session on Saturday titled "United Nations in 75 Years: Building Government-Civil Relations in Development and Sustainable Peace," speakers called on the UN to support multilateralism or pluralism, reads a press release.
Executive director of Manusher Jonno Foundation Shaheen Anam, who presided over the session, said, "At the international level, we will fight to maintain the multilateralism of the UN, but at the national level we should not be considered as opponents. We need to treat local NGOs on an equal footing. The leadership of local NGOs should not be disregarded in addressing the Rohingya crisis."
As the chief guest, Nazrul Islam, director general of Multilateral Economic Affairs under the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said, "There should be coordination between the UN and the civil service organisations. The government recognises the leadership role of local NGOs."
Special guest Roberto BCO of Social Watch, Uruguay, said, "Rich countries are obstructing UN efforts to establish peace. While rich countries spend $273 per capita on the world's population for their military spending, their allocation to the UN is only $7 per capita. The entire budget of the UN is less than that of the New York Police Department!"
The UN fund is a contribution of the taxpayers, so the UN needs to ensure full transparency and accountability to the national government and the local people, he added.
Smriti Patel of A4EP, Switzerland, said, "Local NGOs need to be heard at the top level in the UN decision-making process. The UN needs to be held accountable to its local partners for all the money."
The session was moderated by Rezaul Karim Chowdhury, national coordinator, BDCSO Process. Special guests at the event were Dr Dipankar Dutta of Oxfam International and many others.