Govt should take 'full control' of Rohingya response | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, February 13, 2019 / LAST MODIFIED: 02:08 AM, February 13, 2019

Govt should take 'full control' of Rohingya response

Local NGOs propose

The operational cost of the UN agencies and other international non-government organisations (INGO) is eating up a large portion of donations meant for the displaced Rohingyas in Bangladesh, speakers at a press conference alleged yesterday.

To avoid such “system loss”, they opined the government take “full control” over the Rohingya response activities in Cox's Bazar to ensure “cost effective ratio” through local-international partnership.

They also alleged that the Joint Response Plan (JRP) 2019 has very little focus on localisation as per the recommendations of Grand Bargain (GB) mission, is not conflict- and security-sensitive, and lacks transparency.

Cox's Bazar CSO NGO Forum (CCNF) and the Coastal Association for Social Transformative Trust (COAST Trust) jointly organised the press conference at the Jatiya Press Club in the capital.

JRP is an annual framework and is prepared by UN agencies, INGOs, donors and Bangladesh government in coordination of the Inter Sector Coordination Group (ISCG).

Abu Morshed Chowdhury, executive director of PHALS Cox's Bazar read out a written statement in the conference.

Despite being signatories of GB commitments (proposed in September 2018), the UN agencies and INGOs have little planning for implementation of a three-year road map on localisation and “Whole of Society Approach”, they alleged in the statement.

Some 1,300 humanitarian specialists (1,000 from UN agencies and 300 under INGOs) are working in Rohingya response operation, and they use some 600 vehicles every day, according to the statement.

Organisers alleged that there is no commitment to environmental recovery and compensation to the locals in the JRP 2019.

According to organisers, around $351 have come as aid for each Rohingya family per month in 2018, which was $593 in 2017.

“Some 80 percent of the aid is spent through UN agencies, and there is lack of transparency. So there is need of implementing GB commitments,” Rezaul Karim Chowdhury, executive director of COAST Trust told The Daily Star.

To avoid waste of funds, the manpower of UN agencies and INGOs should be withdrawn from field operation, he opined.

He also cited examples of Nepal, Sri Lanka and Indonesia where the government had a stronger control and monitoring over UN agencies' and INGOs' activities in those countries.

Organisers placed a six-point demand to solve the issue, which include: local NGOs first in partnership policy; removing conflict of interest issues; participation and accountability policy toward Rohingyas; appointing 70 percent staff from locals; and common salary structure for all staff.

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