The civil society leaders have also questioned ISCG and UN role in distribution of Central Emergency Response Fund
Leaders of Cox’s Bazar CSO NGO Forum (CCNF), a platform of local NGOs in Cox’s Bazar district, on Tuesday raised questions over the role of the ISCG (Inter Sectoral Management Group), which provides an umbrella to manage the Rohingya response led by UN agencies and their partners.
They said the ISCG is effectively shutting out local NGOs and local government bodies from the process.
The civil society leaders have also questioned ISCG and UN role in distribution of Central Emergency Response Fund (Cerf), which they termed as top-down and pre-decided matter. None of the Cox’s Bazar origin NGO received the fund, they said.
They also said that the UN hardly respected the Grand Bargain commitment, or even the recently announced IASC (Inter Agency Standing Committee) guideline on localization during Covid-19.
IASC is the highest UN body formed in view of a UN general council resolution for coordinated and principled humanitarian response.
The CCNF raised the questions during a virtual press conference on the recent distribution of Covid-19 Cerf in Rohingya response. The press conference was attended by media persons from both Dhaka and Cox’s Bazar.
Moderated by Rezaul Karim Chowdhury, co-chair of the CCNF and executive director (ED) of COAST, the press conference was addressed among others by Abu Morshed Chowdhury, co-chair of the CCNF and ED of PHALS (Program for Helpless and Lagged Societies), Bimol Chandra Dey Sarker, co-chair and CEO of Mukti Cox’s Bazar, and Sheuly Sharma, ED, Jago Nari Unnayan Sangstha, Cox’s Bazar.
In his address, Abu Morshed Chowdhury said that the UN and ISCG this time gave very little time for a bid, and attached a number of conditions that restricted the local NGOs to apply. “But from discussing with high officials it is already understood that who will get funds was already decided from on-top,” he said, strongly suggesting a conspiracy or some form of distortion of the process.
e also said that International NGOs should bring funds from their own origin country, not raise funds or compete with local NGOs in Bangladesh and Cox’s Bazar. In future, all Rohingya response funds should be decided in Cox’s Bazar level with the involvement of local administration for better accountability, transparency and cost effectiveness, Morshed added.