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BASUG (Bangladesh Support Group) in the Netherlands celebartes 10th anniversaay

38Ansar Ahmed Ullah ::

The Netherlands based European Bengali diaspora organisation BASUG (Bangladesh Support Group) celebrated its 10th anniversary with a day long programme on Sat 31 Oct 2015 at The Hague, the Netherlands.

The day long programme started with an international conference on the ‘Role and Contribution of Migrants and their Remittance in Sustainable Development’ that included a photo exhibition, screening of a documentary film and cultural function that was held at the Bel Air hotel in the Hague.

At the opening, the founding President of BASUG Mr Bikash Chowdhury Barua shared the experience of the last 10 years of working in development field with other stakeholders and exchanged ideas and sought suggestions as to how to take the organisation forward in an effective way. During the past 10 years BASUG has emerged as a professional diaspora organisation, has been able to widen its network both at the national and international level and has drawn attention and appreciation from different quarters, both from the governments and the private sectors.

Mr Barua also said, during its journey of 10 years BASUG leadership not only took part in many national and international events, but also played a positive role in those events. BASUG is perhaps, the only diaspora organisation, which is taking part in all Global Forum on Migration and Development (GFMD) since 2007 in Brussels. BASUG was accredited to take part in the first Informal dialogue on Migration and Development at the UN General Assembly at the UN in 2006.

Mr. Obaidul Muktadir Chowdhury, Member of Parliament of Bangladesh inaugurated the event as chief guest, while Mr. Sheikh Mohammad Belal, His Excellency the Ambassador of Bangladesh in the Netherlands, Mr. Lothar Kleipass, Chief Executive of International Ländlicher Entwicklungsdienst (ILD), Germany, Mr. Bob van Dilen, Expert CORDAID, The Netherlands and Mr. Freirik Kampman, Policy Officer Migration and Development, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands attended the occasion as guests of honour.

Speakers mainly emphasised on global partnership for sustainable development, cooperation with partners, setting goals and objectives. Attention was drawn of the importance of remittance and their influence on the country and society. Acknowledging its importance of the sender was highlighted. Remittance that flows in from glittering Dubai to the frozen Canada – the people contribute to 70-80% of the remittance of the country.

Remittance is usually not investigated in a positive way in the productive sector which can eventually generate production in a sustainable way – was voiced by several speakers.  Agro based industry, agricultural aqua cultural, leather, medicine and ship building   – these areas are still lacking proper financial support from home and abroad. Through this the economy of the country can benefit significantly. Lack of implementation of laws was noted which greatly discourages the senders to invest in long term planning.

BASUG was requested to visit Malaysia and other Asian countries from where the Bangladeshi migrant workers send their hard earned money home. Suggestions were made to visit these migrant workers, exchange views and motivate them to invest in a manner which benefit the immediately family and the country as a whole.

In the second session of the programme Dr. Corazon Dee of PUM Netherlands and Chairperson ERCMOVE/EPICERMOVE, Mr. Antony Otieno Ong’ayo, Lecturer, Department of Human Geography in Utrect University, Mr. Ram Thapa, Honorary Consul General of Nepal in Germany and Professor Gerd Junne, Director of The Network University, Amsterdam delivered their presentations, while BASUG Advisor and Director Projects Dr Ahmed Ziauddin from Belgium moderated the session. BASUG’s Secretary Sudheir Nannan conducted the whole programme. Project Coordinator of BASUG Germany AHM Abdul Hai delivered vote of thanks at the end of the panel discussion. In attendance was BASUG’s UK co-ordinator Ansar Ahmed Ullah.

The conference was followed by a cultural function with the Bangladeshi and Sri Lankan dance performance of Ms Natali Sufia,classical music performance of tabla expert Mr Niti Ranjan Biswas, Belgian music artist Mr Hans Vermeersch and Bangladeshi-Dutch singer Deepika Nannan-Barua.

The event was organised with the support of Oxfam Novib.   Notably, BASUG Diaspora and Development is a Europe based diaspora organisation working on among others, migration and development, remittance and gender issues. Apart from the Netherlands, it has its registered offices in Germany and Bangladesh. It has also Chapters in Italy and the U.K.