United Nations Development Programme’s (UNDP) Knowledge for Development Management (K4DM) Project, in partnership with the government’s Economic Relations Division (ERD), a2i and Bridge to Bangladesh (B2B), organised a daylong seminar on Engagement of Non-Resident Bangladeshis (NRB) in National Development-The Way Forward on July 14 2019, at La Guardia Marriott Hotel in New York.
NRB engagement in national development holds immense potential. Policymakers are increasingly recognising the value that non-resident population brings to development efforts at home.
A delegation team led by Monowar Ahmed, Secretary of ERD; Sultana Afroz, ERD Additional Secretary, Wing Chief (UN) and National Project Director of K4DM; Anir Chowdhury, a2i policy advisor; Azadul Huq, chairperson of B2B, and Marina Shawkat Ali, National Project Manager of K4DM, participated in the seminar.
The objective of the workshop was to enhance NRBs’ relationship with their home country, and to facilitate development efforts with their active participation. There were lively discussions on increasing NRB involvement using the portal supported by K4DM, a way-forward document on Convention of NRB Engineers (CONE), and announcement of Convention of NRB Doctors (COND).
The seminar was chaired by Sultana Afroz, while Planning Minister M A Mannan was present as chief guest. Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Bangladesh to the United Nations, Masud Bin Momen attended the event as special guest of honour.
Sadia Faizunnesa, Consul General New York, and Md Shahabuddin Patwary, Minister (Economic) at Embassy of Bangladesh, attended as special guests.
NRBs were encouraged by the Bangladesh delegation to contribute to the country through philanthropy, investment, and expert affiliation or knowledge partnership.
The seminar also broadcasted a video speech by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.
Planning minister M A Mannan said in his speech, “To achieve all the desired goals, the Government alone cannot do it. You are the Golden Children of our soil. We need your support, we need your knowledge, we need your expertise to build the nation and to become a developed country by 2041.”
Sultana Afroz mentioned in her speech that to institutionalise the engagement of non-resident Bangladeshis, the Economic Relations Division has established the NRB Cell and assigned appropriate officials. A web portal has been established at nrb.gov.bd that contains all necessary information for NRBs to get involved in different areas.
All deputy commissioners have been requested to establish an NRB Cell in the DC Office and assign a Focal Officer to facilitate NRB funding. Besides, letters have been sent to eight Bangladesh Missions abroad to open NRB Cell and assign NRB Focal Officer.