Getting Migration Governance Right

Photo of Sheikh HasinaThe Embassy of Bangladesh in Paris is proud to share with you an article titled " Getting Migration Governance Right", authored by H.E. Sheikh Hasina, Hon'ble Prime Minister of Bangladesh. In her article, Hon'ble Prime Minister has called upon the international community to give a closer look at the issue of migration, one of the most serious challenges facing the world today. The article has been published in the Project Syndicate, a prestigious forum that provides original, high-quality commentaries to a global audience by featuring exclusive contributions by prominent political leaders, policymakers, scholars, business leaders, and civic activists from around the world.Link: Getting Migration Governance Right

Bangladesh - UNESCO Cooperation          

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Bangladesh became a member of United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) on 27 October 1972. Since then, Bangladesh has been playing an active role in this important international body not only to promote international peace and sustainable development, but also to project a positive image of Bangladesh through proactive participation in UNESCO’s activities relating to education, culture, sciences and communication and information. 

02.     Bangladesh maintains a Permanent Delegation to UNESCO in Paris. The current Permanent Delegate H.E. Mr. M. Shahidul Islam presented his credential to the UNESCO Director General on 4 October 2012. He is assisted by Mr. Md. Mohammad Hazrat Ali Khan, Counselor; and Ms. Farhana Ahmed Chowdhury, First Secretary.

03.     In recognition of its contribution to the work of UNESCO, Bangladesh has been elected as member of UNESCO’s Executive Board six times: 1983-1987, 1995-1999, 1999-2003, 2003-2007, 2009-2013, and 2013-2017. Dr. Kamal Abdul Naser Chowdhury, Senior Secretary, Ministry of Public Administration, has been appointed as the Representative of Bangladesh to the Executive Board for 2013-2017.

Photo:  Ambassador M. Shahidul Islam with DG, UNESCO and former Chairpersons of General Conference and Executive Board and of UNESCO

04.     In addition, Bangladesh has been serving in the following Intergovernmental Committees/Commissions of UNESCO:

(i)          Vice President of General Conference of UNESCO:

Bangladesh was elected Vice President of the 38th General Conference of UNESCO, the highest decision making body of this important UN Agency dedicated to the promotion of international peace through education, culture, science, and information and communication. The election took place when Mr. Nurul Islam Nahid, Hon’ble Minister of Education of Bangladesh led the Bangladesh delegation to the 38th General Conference held at UNESCO Headquarters in Paris from 03-18 November 2015. The term of Bangladesh as Vice President will expire in November 2017.

Photo: Mr. Nurul Islam Nahid MP, Hon’ble Education Minister of Bangladesh delivers keynote speech at the 38th General Conference of UNESCO

(ii)         Committee on Conventions and Recommendations:

Bangladesh got elected as the Chairperson of the Committee on Conventions and Recommendations during the 199th Session of Executive Board. Currently, Dr. Kamal Abdul Naser Chowdhury, Bangladesh Representative to Executive Board is serving as the Chairperson of the said Committee for the term 2015-2017.

The Committee on Conventions and Recommendations (CR), composed pof 30 member states, is one of the permanent subsidiary bodies of the Executive Board responsible for examining compliance of UNESCO conventions and recommendations as well as basic human rights that fall under the jurisdiction of UNESCO.  

Photo: Dr. Kamal Abdul Naser Chowdhury, Representative of Bangladesh to EXB of UNESCO

(iii)       Headquarters Committee:

H. E. Mr. Shahidul Islam, the Ambassador and Permanent Delegate of Bangladesh was elected as the Chairperson of the Headquarters Committee for the term 2013-2015 for the first time since Bangladesh became the member of UNESCO. This position has facilitated Bangladesh to be more visible and enabled her to be more engaged in the management of different establishments of UNESCO Headquarters.

Photo: Bangladesh Ambassador to UNESCO presides over Headquarters Committee Session

 

During his term as the President of Headquarters Committee, different reforms in the management of Headquarters’ Complex have been undertaken, including construction of advanced security post to reinforce UNESCO’s security, renovation of various Conference Halls and reform in the rental scales for use of UNESCO Headquarters which enabled UNESCO to generate additional financial resource at the time when UNESCO is facing severe financial crisis.

Photo: Bangladesh Ambassador in his capacity as President of Headquarters Committee together with DG UNESCO inaugurates renovated Salon des Delegates

Bangladesh has been elected again as one of the members of the Headquarters Committee for the term 2015-2017.

Photo: Bangladesh Ambassador in his capacity as President of Headquarters Committee together with DG UNESCO inaugurates renovated Salle X, the room dedicated for Executive Board meetings.

 

(iv)      Intergovernmental Council of the International Program for the Development of Communication (IPDC):

Currently, Bangladesh is serving as the Vice Chairman of this important program in the UN system, which is mandated to mobilize international support in order to contribute to sustainable development, democracy and good governance by strengthening the capacities of developing countries and countries in transition in the field of electronic and print media. Mr. Mortuza Ahmed, Information Secretary represents Bangladesh in the 8-member Bureau of IPDC Council, which is responsible for project selection, approval and allocation of funds for media development in developing countries.

Bangladesh’s election to the Bureau of IPDC Council is recognition to the development of a free and responsible media in Bangladesh that stands out as unique in a developing country.  

   

(v)        Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO(IOC):

Bangladesh has been elected as the member of the Executive Council of IOC for the term 2015-2017. Membership to this body would enable Bangladesh to derive benefits of the expertise, technological know-how,   advice about Blue Economy, disaster risk reduction from this important Commission.

    (v)    Legal Committee:

              Bangladesh got elected as one of the members of the Legal Committee of              during the 198th Session of Executive Board of UNESCO.

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Photo:  Mr. Abul Hassan Mahmood Ali, M.P., Hon’ble Foreign Minister of Bangladesh offering a Painting on the landscape of Bangladesh to DG, UNESCO following his meeting with her at UNESCO Headquarters

Bangladesh and World Heritage List

05.     In 1994, the World Heritage Committee launched the Global Strategy for a Representative, Balanced and Credible World Heritage List. Its aim is to ensure that the List reflects the world's cultural and natural diversity of outstanding universal value. To be included on the World Heritage List, sites must be of outstanding universal value and meet the selection criteria.

06.     Two cultural sites and one natural site of Bangladesh have been inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List:

(i)          Historic Mosque City of Bagerhat (inscribed in 1985)

07.    Situated in the suburbs of Bagerhat, at the meeting-point of the Ganges and Brahmaputra rivers, this ancient city, formerly known as Khalifatabad, was founded by the Turkish general Ulugh Khan Jahan in the 15th century. The city’s infrastructure reveals considerable technical skill and an exceptional number of mosques and early Islamic monuments, many built of brick, can be seen there. To read more: http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/321

Photo: 60-dome Mosque, the most representative mosque of the Historic Mosque City of Bagerhat

 

(ii)        Ruins of the Buddhist Vihara at Paharpur ( inscribed in 1985)

08.     Evidence of the rise of Mahayana Buddhism in Bengal from the 7th century onwards, Somapura Mahavira, or the Great Monastery, was a renowned intellectual centre until the 12th century. Its layout perfectly adapted to its religious function, this monastery-city represents a unique artistic achievement. With its simple, harmonious lines and its profusion of carved decoration, it influenced Buddhist architecture as far away as Cambodia. Read more: http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/322  .

Photo: Ruins of Buddhist Monastery in Paharpur, Bangladesh

 

(iii)       The Sundarbans (inscribed in 1997) 

09.     The Sundarbans Reserve Forest (SRF), located in the south-west of Bangladesh between the river Baleswar in the East and the Harinbanga in the West, adjoining to the Bay of Bengal, is the largest contiguous mangrove forest in the world.  The immense tidal mangrove forests of Bangladeshs’ Sundarbans Forest Reserve, is in reality a mosaic of islands of different shapes and sizes, perennially washed by brackish water shrilling in and around the endless and mind-boggling labyrinths of water channels. The site supports exceptional biodiversity in its terrestrial, aquatic and marine habitats; ranging from micro to macro flora and fauna. The Sundarbans is of universal importance for globally endangered species including the Royal Bengal Tiger, Ganges and Irawadi dolphins, estuarine crocodiles and the critically endangered endemic river terrapin (Batagur baska).  It is the only mangrove habitat in the world for Panthera tigris tigris species. Read more: http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/798 .

Photo: The Sundarbans, largest mangrove forest in the world, is the abode of The Royal Bengal Tiger    

10.     There are many cultural and natural sites of outstanding value to humanity located on the territory of Bangladesh. Currently, the Government of Bangladesh and UNESCO Secretariat are working closely to inscribe new sites on the World Heritage List so that the international community becomes aware of these heritage sites of outstanding value.

   Bangladesh and Representative List of Intangible Cultural Heritage

11.          UNESCO established its lists of Intangible Cultural Heritage with the aim of ensuring the better protection of important intangible cultural heritages worldwide and the awareness of their significance. So far, two intangible cultural heritage elements from Bangladesh have been inscribed on the UNESCO Representative List of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity: (i) “Baul Songs” (traditional music) inscribed on the List in 2008; and (ii) Traditional art of Jamdani weaving.  

(i) “Baul Songs” (traditional music) inscribed on the List in 2008

12.     The Bauls are mystic minstrels living in rural Bangladesh. Their music and way of life have influenced a large segment of Bengali culture, and particularly the compositions of Nobel Prize laureate Rabindranath Tagore. Bauls live either near a village or travel from place to place and earn their living from singing to the accompaniment of the ektara, the lute dotara, a simple one-stringed instrument, and a drum called dubki. Bauls belong to an unorthodox devotional tradition, influenced by Hinduism, Buddhism, Vasinavism and Sufi Islam, yet distinctly different from them. Baul poetry, music, song and dance are devoted to finding humankind’s relationship to God, and to achieving spiritual liberation. Baul music represents a particular type of folk song, carrying influences of Hindu bhakti movements as well as the shuphi, a form of Sufi song. Songs are also used by the spiritual leader to instruct disciples in Baul philosophy, and are transmitted orally.  

Photo: A Baul with his “Ektara”, the typical musical instrument of baul singers

 

(ii) “Traditional art of Jamdani weaving” inscribed on the List in 2013.

13.     Jamdani is a vividly patterned, sheer cotton fabric, traditionally woven on a handloom by craftspeople and apprentices around Dhaka. Jamdani textiles combine intricacy of design with muted or vibrant colours, and the finished garments are highly breathable. Jamdani is a time-consuming and labour-intensive form of weaving because of the richness of its motifs, which are created directly on the loom using the discontinuous weft technique. Weaving is thriving today due to the fabric’s popularity for making saris, the principal dress of Bengali women at home and abroad. The Jamdani sari is a symbol of identity, dignity and self-recognition and provides wearers with a sense of cultural identity and social cohesion.  

Photo: Jamdani weaving in Dhaka, Bangladesh

 

13. Moreover, some more nomination files are submitted by the Government of Bangladesh to UNESCO to be evaluated for the cycle of 2016 and 2017 and later to be inscribed in the list of Intangible Cultural Heritage by being positively recommended by the Intergovernmental Committee for the safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage.

 

Establishment of International Mother Language Institute of Bangladesh as UNESCO Category II Institute:

14.     During the 38th General Conference of UNESCO, on 7th November 2015, International Mother Language Institute of Bangladesh (IMLI) was declared as UNESCO Category II Institute. Later, on 12 January 2016, the last procedural step of establishing IMLI as UNESCO category II Centre was completed with the signing of the IMLI agreement by H. E. M. Shahidul Islam, the Ambassador and Permanent Delegate of Bangladesh to UNESCO from Bangladesh side and Assistant Director General, Education, Mr. Qiang Tang from UNESCO side.

Photo: International Mother Language Institute, Dhaka, Bangladesh

Photo: Signing ceremony of IMLI Agreement

 

Bangladesh and UNESCO Conventions:

10. International Standard-Setting Instruments: Bangladesh is signatory to 12 such instruments, including:

• Convention concerning the Protection of the World Culture and Natural Heritage, of 1972 (Bangladesh ratified on 3/8/1993);

• Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage (Bangladesh ratified on 11/06/2009);

• Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural

Expressions (Bangladesh ratified on 31/05/2007);

• Convention Against Doping in Sport of 2005 (Bangladesh ratified on 22/10/2007).

 

Persons associated with UNESCO:  Ms Bibi Russell, UNESCO Artist for Peace (designer for development).

 

UNESCO Office in Dhaka:

·         Established: in November 1995

·         Head : Ms. Beatrice Kaldun

Bangladesh National Commission for UNESCO

·         Date of establishment: April 1973;

·         Chairperson ex-officio (since January 2009): H. E.  Mr. Nurul Islam Nahid, Minister of  Education; 

·         Secretary-General  (since October 2010): Mr. Md. Sohorab Hossain 

·         Secretary ( since 2013) : Mr. Md. Monjur Hossain;

·         Associated Schools: Bangladesh joined the Associated Schools Project Network

·         (ASPnet) in 1968. Coordinated by the Bangladesh National Commission for UNESCO, last information available gives 38 schools participating in various pilot projects.

·          UNESCO Clubs: There are 60 UNESCO Clubs in Bangladesh

Photo: Ambassadors  & Permanent Delegates of the Executive Board Member States of UNESCO

 

Glimpse of various UNESCO Events organized by the Permanent Delegation of Bangladesh to UNESCO:

Photo: Cultural Event titled “Celebrating Linguistic & Cultural Diversity” organized on the occasion of International Mother Language Day 2016

Photo: Cultural Event titled “Celebrating Linguistic & Cultural Diversity” organized on the occasion of International Mother Language Day 2016

Photo: Cultural Event titled “Celebrating Linguistic & Cultural Diversity” organized on the occasion of International Mother Language Day 2016

Photo: During the inauguration ceremony of the Painting Exhibition organized during Int. Women’s Day 2014

Photo: Inauguration of the International Women’s Day Painting Exhibition by Director General, UNESCO

Photo: H. E. Mr. Shahidul Islam introducing Bangladeshi Painter to the Int. Women’s Day Painting Exhibition

Photo:  Inauguration of the Painting Exhibition ‘RESILIENT BANGLADESH: LIVING IN HARMONY WITH NATURE by the Bangladeshi artists

Photo:  Inauguration of the Painting Exhibition ‘RESILIENT BANGLADESH: LIVING IN HARMONY WITH NATURE by the Bangladeshi artists

Photo: Celebration of International Mother Language Day 2015 at UNESCO Headquarters

Photo: Celebration of International Mother Language Day 2015 at UNESCO Headquarter

Photo: Sitar Recital by renowned Sitar player Ms. Alif Laila organized at the ‘ Circle of Delegates’

Photo: H. E. the Ambassador with the Representative of Bangladesh to UNESCO, Representative of Vietnam to UNESCO and Sitar player Ms. Alif Laila

 

Photo: Bangladeshi Buddhist Scholar participating in the Seminar organized during the occasion of International Vesak Day 2016

Photo: Paricipation of Bangladeshi artists in the Cultural Programme organized during the occasion of International Vesak Day 2016

Photo:  “Recitation of Poetry” in participation of the Representatives of Various Members States to Executive Board to UNESCO during the 197th Session of EXB, organized at the Circle of Delegates of UNESCO

05. Bangladesh holding following prestigious posts in UNESCO:

- Bangladesh has served as the Vice Chairperson of the Executive Board for the term 2013-2015.

- Chair of the ASPAC Open ended Working Group in election matters (2013-2015)

- Bangladesh Permanent Delegate to UNESCO H.E. M. Ambassador Shahidul Islam is now holding the post of the Vice- President of the UNESCO Circle of Delegates. (2015-2016)