09 September 2013

Shipbreakers, bankers join hands to improve environmental standards:

The Bangladesh Ship Breakers Association (BSBA) and the Association of Bankers Bangladesh (ABB) on Sunday signed a joint statement expressing their commitment to improve environmental and social standards in the ship recycling industry in Bangladesh.

The statement was signed by Hefazatur Rahman, President of the BSBA and by Ali Reza Iftekhar, Vice Chairman of the ABB.

The joint statement is a follow-up of a successful roundtable meeting held in June earlier this year, which was attended by key industry representatives, the executives of several Bangladeshi banks, government officials and international experts.

The roundtable was organised by the Eastern Bank Limited Bangladesh in cooperation with the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, the German Embassy and a coalition of development finance institutions: the Dutch development bank, FMO; the German development bank, DEG; the French Development Bank, Proparco; and IFC, a member of the World Bank Group.

Reacting to this important 'milestone', Additional Secretary of the Ministry of Industries Md. Farhad Uddin commented on behalf of the Minister, saying: "This is a positive step in bringing about long-term changes in an industry that contributes to the economic growth of our country.

"The Ministry supports the commitment of the bankers and the ship-breakers association to work together and remains a partner to the process."

The FMO's Chief Investment Officer, Jurgen Rigterink, expressed his delight at the achievement of this important milestone.

"The FMO is pleased to see both associations joining forces to concretely ensure higher environmental and social standards in the ship recycling industry. The signing of this commitment statement is a clear testimony to that effect", he said.

He said it is also a good example of how development finance institutions and local partners can work together to catalyze sustainable change.

"We will continue to support on-going efforts as the implementation journey progresses."

The Netherlands Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation, Lilianne Ploumen said, "It is great to see trade relations between Bangladesh and The Netherlands intensifying. The challenge is to make this growth more sustainable and beneficial to everybody involved, including the workers that provide the heavy labour. This goes for the working conditions in ship recycling, as it goes for the textile industry. We are committed to play our part and today's signing confirms the dedication of other key players. Together, we can make it happen."

The signing of the joint commitment statement marks further recognition of the importance of environmental and social considerations in the pursuit of economic growth.

Beyond committing to work together towards improving standards and practices in Bangladesh, the BSBA and ABB have also outlined several areas within which to begin addressing the current challenges, including improving methods for hazardous waste disposal and building industry capacity to make the necessary improvements in environmental and social standards.

The Joint Commitment Statement has been supported by the Ministry of Industries, the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, the German Embassy, FMO, DEG, IFC and Proparco.

Source: the financial express. 9 September 2013

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