SDG Lab-Bangladesh organised their fourth workshop jointly with the Department of Law, Shanto-Mariam University of Creative Technology on 12 May 2018. More than 50 law students of the university attended the day-long workshop titled Embracing SDG: Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions.
Designed in an interactive way, the workshop attempted to disseminate the knowledge of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and tried to discuss specifically on all the aspects intertwined with the SDG No. 16 (peace, justice and strong institutions). The speakers highlighted the historical transformation of the SDGs and delved deeper into the inter-relationship between justice, peace, development and corruption.
Prof. Dr. Quazi Md. Mafizur Rahman, Vice-Chancellor of Shanto-Mariam University of Creative Technology, inaugurated the workshop with his warm salutations. Mentioning about Bangladesh’s pledge to adopt the goals in her national policies, he emphasised the importance of the SDGs. Then he talked about the inception and activities of the SDG Lab as he shortly introduced the facilitators.
Mr. Mahmud Hasan, Director General (Additional Secretary), Anti-Corruption Commission, discussed on the terminological definition of the SDGs. He shared the background of the MDGs and the SDGs with the attendees.
The Millennium Summit 2000 was the largest gathering of world leaders in history where United Nations Millennium Declaration was ratified by the world leaders, Mr. Hasan explained, following which the eight Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) were established. After the negotiations on the Post-2015 Development Agenda had begun, the agenda for Sustainable Development was adopted finally on 25th September, he said.
Later on, Mahmudul Hoque Moni, Senior Assistant Secretary at the BCS Administration Academy, talked on the Bangladesh perspective of developing effective, accountable and transparent institutions at all levels. First, he distinguished between the characteristics of Institutions and Organisations, then he illustrated the differences between the concepts of State, Government, Nation, Society, and Individuals. He also shed light on the institutionalised mechanism of state accountability.
The relationship between corruption and economic growth was explained thereafter by Mohammad Hossain Bindu, Junior Researcher, University of Bonn. He introduced the sand, and the grease approach. He demonstrated how the sand approach can be defended on the grounds of the detrimental impact of corruption on a country’s economy as evident from the Corruption Perception Index Report 2017. At the same time, with the example of Kenyan farmers being able to sell their goods at a good price by bribing the police officers, the speaker bolstered the grease approach claim.
Sekander Zulker Nayeen, Joint District Judge, Tangail, introduced his idea of three dimensions in access to justice for all. According to him, the first one is the typical dimension that is the opportunity to avail justice system. The second dimension is the just treatment and outcome, and he spoke on how to determine the just outcome as well. Lastly, Mr. Nayeen thinks that time duration is the third dimension. From his experience as a judge, he shared stories of cases spanning to the duration of even 50 to 60 years. Talking about the legal aid services in Bangladesh, he dissected the future plans and estimations of National Legal Aid Services Organisation (NLASO).
The participants were later tasked with solving a case in the group activity session. Their presentations on the identified and proposed solutions were followed by the discussion of the last keynote speaker, Shahed Aziz, Senior Assistant Secretary at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Mr. Aziz started his session with the history of global economic growth and gradually entered into the discussion on global institutions. He concluded his short session by classifying the international organisations, talking about the rationale behind the aids rendered by different institutions - the political, strategic, and economic interests as well as emergency or natural disaster purposes. He thinks that the goal of peace and stability, being the enabling goal to the rest, is arguably the most important one of all SDGs.
Dr. Ahsanul Kabir, Vice-Chairman of Shanto-Mariam Foundation, expressed the university's commitment to boost up creative studies and therefore its support to any innovative programmes like the workshop on SDGs.
Muhammad Nural Hoque, Head of the Department of Law, thanked the facilitators for organising the workshop and the event drew to its closing after a certificate giving ceremony.
THE EVENT WAS COVERED BY RAIHAN RAHMAN RAFID, CONTRIBUTOR TO LAW AND OUR RIGHTS, THE DAILY STAR.