Society for Bangladesh Climate Justice

Minutes of Meeting held on 28 Non 2010; Venue: 9870 Rathburn Drive, Burnaby BC

Time: 12:00 noon to 2:30 pm

 

I.        Meeting – Agenda and Attendance

 

1.            A meeting of the Executive Committee (EC) was held on 28 November/2010 in Burnaby at the residence (9870 Rathburn Drive, Burnaby) of the Executive Director. The meeting was chaired by the ED Dr. Mohammad Zaman. Those attended the meeting include Dr. Iqbal Bhuiyan - Director Program; Mr. Tareq Islam – Director Research; Dr. Abdul Matin – Director, Networking; Mr. Mahbubul Islam – Director Finance; Mrs. Khaleda Banu – Director Community Liaisons; Dr. Khalilur Rabbani- Director Administration; Mr. Rafiqul Islam, Member-EC; and Mrs. Kawsar Hossain, Member-EC.  Advisor Dr. Harun Rashid also attended the meeting.

 

2.            Regrets were received from Mr. Rabi Alam, Advisor; and Mr. Nazrul Islam, Member-EC.  Mr. H. Jahangir, Member-EC, sent e-mail from Dhaka wishing a “successful” meeting, with a request to hold EC meeting more frequently.    

 

3.            The Chair welcomed all EC members to the third meeting of the year, and regretted that a planned meeting in August-September was not possible due to personal time constraints. The ED mentioned that more frequent meetings will be planned in the future, including “e-meeting” that was held on 7 April 2010.  Having said that, the ED read out the agenda for the meeting, and asked for any additions and/or amendments.

 

4. During the discussion on the agenda, Mr. Rafiqul Islam inquired whether development projects like the Padma Bridge, Phulbari Coal mine, and eviction of rickshaws in Dhaka city could be included in the agenda.  This led to a discussion (by Dr. Matin) on the mandate and scope of work of the Society, with a suggestion that only climate relevant issues should remain SBCJ’s focus.  The ED gave a ruling that the projects have relevance to environmental and sustainability issues and merit discussion under the proposed community level development seminar.

 

5.            At that point, Mr. Tareq Islam moved a motion to adopt the agenda, and it was supported by Dr. Iqbal Bhuiyan.  The agenda thus approved included:

 

(a)    Brief update on activities since the last meeting held in June/2010

(b)   Climate change adaptation Proposal – current status

(c)    Half-Day Community level Seminar in January 2011 - Theme: Bangladesh Development - Issues and Challenges (focus: climate change, Padma Project, BEN/BAPA Seminar in Dhaka; others?)

(d)   2010 AGM - Membership renewal; AGM date___?

(e)   Others – (i) Bangladesh Independence Celebration 2011 – 40 Reasons to be Proud of Bangladesh; (ii) Response to CCPA Climate Survey (Dr. Tim Takaro/CCPA -Stephanie

 

 

 

II.      Update by ED

 

6.         The ED provided a brief update on activities since the last meeting held in June/10 and highlighted on a number of developments over the past several months:

 

(i)     Bangladesh Climate Adaptation Project

 

7.         The ED informed of the latest round of meeting (held on 24 Nov/2010) with SFU colleagues regarding the preparatory work on the Letter of Intent (LOI) to be submitted to SSHRC end of January 2011. The meeting was attended by Associate Dean Dr. Duncan Knowles, Dr. Wolfgang Haider, Dr. Robert Anderson, Advisor Dr. Harun Rashid and ED Dr. M. Zaman.  The Team agreed on the approach and the theme. The proposal will address adaptation to climate change focusing on social learning, behavior change, capacity-building, social mobilization, community led action for climate solutions, and policy changes directed to “solutions” based local knowledge and practices.

 

8.            The ED requested Dr. Rashid to brief further, following the update, and walk us thru the next steps in the LOI and the proposal.  The ED further mentioned of his meetings In Dhaka with Stamford VC and Dr. Elahi. The Stamford University of Bangladesh (SUB) will be the counterpart institution in the proposed research in Bangladesh.

 

(ii)   Meetings with Climate Groups in Vancouver/BC

 

9.         The ED informed the meeting of the growing awareness in BC about climate/environmental refugee issues – for example:  First,  CCPA, with BC Government funding, is already conducting a research titled “Getting BC Prepared for Climate Refugees” led by Dr. Tim Takaro/SFU.  A draft survey instrument was circulated earlier and the survey will start soon targeting directors of various “service-providers.” Second, Pacific Institute of Climate Solutions (PICS), is a multi-university consortium funded by BC Ministry of Environment endowment of $90 million, is another group working for climate solutions in BC, particularly working with non-government, community organizations. SBCJ must liaison and network with PICS on the research and policy outcomes. Third, the Multicultural Helping House Society (MHHS), which deals with immigrants and refugee settlements with BD Government funding, will likely deal in the future with “climate refugees” in terms of settlement and adaptation in Vancouver. Fourth, in a recent luncheon meeting at the SFU Downtown campus the ADB President Mr. H. Kuroda spoke on global economic issues and challenges.  One important focus of the lecture was climate change as a development issue. He expressed concerns for countries like Bangladesh and others confronting climate crisis, and underscored the need for adaptation to climate changes, including mainstreaming climate adaptation to infrastructure development for future sustainability.

 

(iii) BEN/BAPA Conference on Urbanization, Traffic Jam and the Environment (7-9 Jan 2011)

10.       The ED informed about the upcoming BEN/BAPA Conference in Dhaka in January 2011. The event is co-sponsored by some 50 institutions/agencies. Plans are now underway for many district-level “pre-conferences” as a lead to the main event on 7-9 January. The event is almost becoming a “social mobilization” within the country on urban issues, development and the future of Bangladesh. An important highlight of the event would be NRBs participation, particularly from Canada and the US.  In this regard, the ED mentioned of his meeting with Dr. Feroze Ahmed of BUET, Coordinator of the Conference at the Bangladesh end.

11.         Finally, the ED mentioned two-related tasks as our role in the meeting. First, an “Open Letter” (as proposed by Mr. Rafiqul Islam) from SBCJ as a support to this timely conference highlighting climate issues, local/global responsibility and SBCJ’s future work, including research and development networks in Bangladesh. Second, a paper by ED titled “Climate Change Impact and Urban Migration: Confronting the Looming Crisis” at the Conference. Since ED will not be in Dhaka at that time, Dr. Rabbani – who will be attending the meeting – will read out the paper.

 

III.    Discussion on the Agenda and Resolutions

12.          Discussion on Update by ED: The update by the ED was followed by a discussion, which focused on (i) the relevance of networking with MHHS (by Dr. Matin) and need for networking with other similar groups (by Dr. Iqbal Bhuiyan), and (ii) apparent absence of any communication with the EC regarding the meeting with MHHS (by Dr. Matin).  Several members (Mr. Tareq Islam, Ms. Khaleda Banu) remarked that any work aimed at networking with similar organization (either by ED/or EC members) should be welcomed over processes and that more networking is needed with local agencies and organizations. The ED (and Dr. Iqbal and Dr. Rashid, who also attended the meeting) further explained the scope of the meeting within MHHS within the context of networking and not any program initiative, which is subject to EC discussion and approval.  The ED assured that EC will be kept in the loop in the future. However, he underscored the need for taking more initiatives by EC Directors as per their defined scope of work and responsibilities in the Constitution.   

13.          Climate Project in Bangladesh: Advisor Dr. Rashid further briefed on the current status of the Climate Adaptation Project in terms of LOI write up and shared responsibilities by the SFU/Team Members. He assured that the draft final LOI will be circulated among the EC for comments and review, prior to finalizing the proposal. The ED reminded the EC members that such research undertakings are always time consuming and requires lots of patience and follow up work.  It was resolved that Advisor Dr. Rashid will continue his role in finalizing the LOI/proposal in collaboration with SFU/Team Members. It was also resolved that the ED will maintain regular contacts and liaison with Dr. Rashid and keep the EC updated about the developments through mails or EC meetings.

14.          Community-level Seminar on Bangladesh:  All EC members unanimously supported the idea to holding a community-level seminar on Bangladesh’s development experience as a “community event and awareness program.” The discussion, however, centered on the timing and modality – for instance, (i) pre-AGM half-day or (ii) merge with GVBCA’s Independence Day celebration for 2011 (scheduled for 10 April/2011); or (iii) a separate full day program to be sponsored by all Bangladeshi-Canadian organizations (under the leadership of GVBCA) in Vancouver, preferably in later par of summer to Celebrate 40 years of Bangladesh Independence in 2011.   After considering pros and cons of the various options, it was resolved in favour of Option IIIthat a separate event would be organized under the leadership of GVBCA.  It was further resolved that the President of GVBCA (also Director-Finance, SBCJ) will call a meeting of all Bangladeshi-Canadian organizations in the month of December (2010) to carry forward the idea and to form a committee for the Celebration of 40 years of Bangladesh Independence in 2011.   The Committee would be responsible to plan and conduct the Celebration.

 15.         2010 AGM and Membership Renewals:  The ED informed that only 16 out of 70 paid members are in “good standing” for 2010 AGM.  Therefore, a major drive must be underway to renew membership and to raise new members.  It was resolved that: (i) SBCJ will open a “booth” at the GVBCA’s Bijoy Dibosh Program on 19 Dec/2010 (Director-Program Dr. Iqbal Bhuiyan and Director-Networking Dr. Matin will organize the booth); (ii) All EC members would help in membership renewal and recruitment of new members; (iii) ED will give specific responsibility to individual EC members to renew membership of a designated list of members; (iv) ED will notify an AGM date to be held in the first week of January 2011.

16.          Two other items (under “others”) in the agenda were already addressed during discussions on climate change and Bangladesh seminar: (i) 40 Reasons to be Proud of Bangladesh will be covered by the Community-level seminar.  It was resolved that the ED will provide response to CCPA Climate Survey and copy the responses to EC members. 

 17.         The ED thanked all members for a very productive meeting. The EC members noted the hospitality of the ED and thanked him for hosting the meeting. The ED declared the meeting over at 2:20 pm.  

 

Minutes prepared by

 

Mohammad Zaman

01 December 2010