Speakers at a discussion emphasised conducting a joint risk assessment in Cox’s Bazar as locals affected by Rohingya crisis are not getting fair share of benefits of development programmes.
An effective and holistic development plan should be taken based on that assessment, they told a meeting in Cox’s Bazar on Thursday.
COAST Trust and UNHCR jointly hosted ‘Together for Better Rohingya Response until the Repatriation and Facilitating Development in Cox’s Bazar’ programme, according to a press release.
The speakers called for making education top priority in development plan and ensuring participation of local Civil Society Organisations (CSO) and local union parishads (UP) at all levels.
Rezaul Karim Chowdhury of COAST Trust and Abu Musrhed Chowdhury of Cox’s Bazar CSO NGO Forum moderated the discussion where KM Abdus Salam, Director General of the NGO Affairs Bureau, was present as the chief guest.
Barrister Manzoor Hasan of Center for Peace and Justice of BRAC University, Shireen Hauqe of Naripokkha, Disaster Management Experts Abdul Latif Khan and Nayeem Gowhar Warha, Cox’s Bazar chief at IOM Manuel Manoise Periera, Hinako Talki, Senior Operations Manager of UNHCR, Camp In-charge Abu Zafar Oabidullah and Assistant Commissioner of District Commissioner Office Jinnat Shahid Pinky also took part in the discussion.
Salam said the NGO Bureau is trying to ensure coordination in implementing programmes for Rohingyas and the locals. “We should consider that a portion of the funds are earmarked for the local area and it is also important to ensure transparency in the activities of the NGOs,” he said.
Hinako Talki said UNHCR is implementing about 80 programmes in the local areas, and many are working on infrastructure development. “UNHCR is working to ensure the livelihood of 6,000 vulnerable women,” he said.
Latif Khan said instead of identifying the risks or problems separately, a joint risk assessment is needed.
Rezaul Karim Chowdhury said the government has nine mega projects in Cox’s Bazar including airport, railway, power plant and shelter. “Every effort must be made to keep Cox’s Bazar free from terrorism to ensure that there is no obstacle in implementing the mega projects,” he said.
Upazila chairmen and vice-chairmen from different Upazilas, chairmen of different Union Parishads, teachers, students, journalists, representatives of civil society, national and international NGOs and UN agencies, in-charges of six camps also attended the programme.