A day-long workshop titled “Embracing SDG: Perspective Bangladesh and Beyond” was jointly organised by SDG Lab and Department of Law and Human Rights, University of Asia Pacific (UAP) on May 20, 2017, at UAP. SDG Lab is an initiative of some Chevening Scholars with a mission of youth empowerment and policy advocacy to align development initiatives with the SDGs. Through debate and discussion, SDG Lab works to generate and disseminate knowledge, especially among youths. The aim of this interactive programme was to share ideas and thoughts around SDGs in order to create an aware and informed young generation in Bangladesh. H.E. David Ashley, Deputy High Commissioner, British High Commission, Dhaka was the Chief guest at the concluding session of the workshop while Professor Dr. Jamilur Reza Chowdhury, Vice-Chancellor, University of Asia Pacific, presided over the session.
50 students and young professionals participated in this daylong workshop. There were five thematic sessions addressing seven sustainable development goals. Mahmudul Hoque Moni who is currently working as a Senior Assistant Secretary conducted the first session on ‘the Brief History of Development’ followed by a session on Good Health and Well Being (SDG Goal 3). Relating to public health and wellbeing he focused on the governance issues around smoking and tobacco control in Bangladesh. He mentioned that Bangladesh being the first signatory state of the Framework Convention of Tobacco Control (FCTC) created a legal framework in order to control tobacco.
Rezwan Siddiqui who is currently the Local Pathway Fellow of the UN Sustainable Development Solution Network conducted his session on ‘Climate Action and Sustainable Cities’. He particularly emphasised on the role of young people in pursuing the goals of SDGs. He advocated for being compassionate and sensible towards the environment and for turning knowledge into action to tackle Climate Change.
The workshop was continued by Mahmuda Rahman Khan, Senior Program Development Specialist, USAID Bangladesh, who spoke on SDG goal No. 5: Gender Equality. She showed the distinction between ‘sex’ and ‘gender’. She believes that following 4 steps can help us achieve gender equality: awareness, organizational development, capacity building and program design, planning and monitoring- sex disaggregated data. Later on Md. Lokman Hossain, lecturer,Department of Law and Human Rights, UAP conducted a session on ‘Ensuring inclusive and quality education for all and promoting lifelong learning’. He depicted why education matters and how it ensures sustainable development.
Sekander Zulker Nayeen, who is working as a Joint District Judge at the Dhaka Court conducted a session on ‘Access to Civil Justice’. He pointed out the impediments in accessing justice system and constraints during the proceeding of the case. He advocated for social awareness and legal aid, legal framework for regulating the conduct and ethics of lawyers, ensuring good public governance, reformation to judicial administration for timely disposal of cases and use of ADR.
The last session was conducted by Mohammad Golam Sarwar, Lecturer, Department of Law, University of Dhaka on ‘Human Rights and SDGs’. He focused on the dilemma between Human Rights and Development. He opined that true development is freedom mediated and this concept requires more attention on human development along with economic growth.
Later on Professor Dr. Md. Obaidul Hoque, a Chevening Scholar and an Associate Professor of International Relations at University of Dhaka moderated the plenary session where the outcome of the afore mentioned sessions was analysed. Chief Guest, H.E. David Ashley, Deputy High Commissioner, British High Commission, Dhaka in his speech urged the students to be humble, questioning, empathetic, brave and bold. He expected that the participants would pursue to learn and utilise the knowledge on SDGs further. Professor Dr. Jamilur Reza Chowdhury, Vice-Chancellor, University of Asia Pacific, in his concluding speech elaborated the importance of SDG in our national perspective. He thanked the Chevening Scholars who formed the SDG Lab and promised to support in its future initiatives.
Rezwan Siddiqui, Sekander Zulker Nayeen, Mohammad Golam Sarwar, and Mahmudul Hoque Moni are the four young professionals who studied in different UK universities under the auspices of the UK Government’s FCO Chevening Scholarship. They are working towards the progression of SDGs with their thinking and acting continuously based on their ideas and experiences to build an inclusive society attaining sustainable development.
The event was covered by Md. Azhar Uddin Bhuiyan, student of law, University of Dhaka.