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Post-Rana Plaza Monitoring: A Civil Society Initiative

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The Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD) undertook a programme titled ‘Post-Rana Plaza Monitoring: A Civil Society Initiative’ following the collapse of a building (‘Rana Plaza’) on 24 April 2013 that housed five garment factories. This tragedy claimed more than 1,130 lives of RMG workers and fatally injured thousands more. Immediately after the incidence, promises for financial and other forms of supports for the victims, and also for the RMG sector outpoured from the government, RMG manufacturers, international buyers and development partners. However, once the immediate concerns were over, the pace of delivery of commitments started to lose its momentum.

At that point in time, CPD decided to follow up on the actual delivery status of those commitments in partnership with fourteen civil society organisations and a few eminent persons in Bangladesh.

The monitoring exercise, carried out for two consecutive years from May 2013 to April 2015, led to the preparation of four in-depth reports based on field-level investigations and interviews of all stakeholders including the victims, RMG workers, factory-owners, policymakers and buyers of RMG. Besides, CPD organised four national-level dialogues; special sessions with development partners to discuss their responsibilities on this; and expert group meetings with relevant stakeholders. CPD also launched a dedicated page for the initiative on its website, published articles at home and abroad, and prepared video on the incidence.

Since this initiative was a spontaneous response to the Rana Plaza catastrophe, there was no time to mobilise resources for implementing this project. Resources from Think Tank played an important role in materializing the initiative. TTI support did in fact, provide CPD the confidence to undertake this challenging task even though it was not designed in CPD’s annual work plan initially.
The response to CPD’s initiative was overwhelming. The reports were accessed online across the world. Dialogues were widely attended and covered by the media. Several organisations and individuals were inspired to extend their assistance to the victims as they learned about the victims’ struggle through CPD’s dialogues. CPD has been included in the advisory boards of some of the key bodies engaged in the area of physical and social compliance of the industry.

The initiative was able to establish accountability on the part of key actors including the government and major buyers who were responsible for follow up actions. The initiative put forward concrete suggestions as to what should be done to address the gaps in the implementation of the planned actions. The initiative was also able to engage key stakeholders including major buyers of apparels from Bangladesh to discuss possible modalities concerning distribution of value along the value chain to incentivise investment by entrepreneurs towards better compliance in the apparels sector of the country.

Whilst there was a number of initiatives concerning various areas following the tragedy, a key distinctive feature of the CPD initiative was that it was driven by a dedicated group of partner organisations and over a sustained period of time.

Post-Rana Plaza Monitoring: A Civil Society Initiative

The Rana Plaza tragedy of 24 April 2013 shook the country as well as the international community to the core. The collapse of the building that took lives of 1,132 RMG workers was the worst man-made disaster in the country’s history. Following this tragedy there were unprecedented expressions of compassion, solidarity and support on the part of concerned citizens of the country. There was also an outpouring of commitments, financial and otherwise, from local and global institutions, groups and individuals.

However, once the immediate concerns were over and the memory started to fade, the pace of delivery on the commitments appears to have lost the momentum. In order to keep the issue alive, and to bring transparency and social and collective accountability in the process of implementing the deliverables, CPD has launched an initiative to follow up and report, on a regular basis, on the delivery status of the commitments made by involved stakeholders. CPD maintains that this initiative will also give voice to the affected RMG workers and their families.

In undertaking this initiative CPD is partnering with a number of civil society organisations in Bangladesh. They are – IAB, Ain o Salish Kendra, Ahsania Mission, ActionAid Bangladesh, CAMPE, TIB, The Daily Star, Naripokkho, Nijera Kori, Prothom Alo, BELA, BLAST, Manusher Jonno Foundation and SHUJAN.

It has been hundred days since the tragic incident, and on this occasion, CPD along with its partners is organising the dialogue titled 100 Days of Rana Plaza Tragedy: A Report on Commitments and Delivery where the results of the first monitoring report will be presented for discussion with wider audience.

CPD and its partners intend to continue this monitoring exercise for at least one year.

 

রানা প্লাজা পরবর্তী পরিস্থিতি পর্যবেক্ষণে নাগরিক সমাজের উদ্যোগ

২৪ এপ্রিলের রানা প্লাজার মর্মান্তিক দুর্ঘটনা শুধু বাংলাদেশ নয় সমগ্র বিশ্বকে গভীরভাবে নাড়া দিয়েছে। ভবন ধ্বসের এ ঘটনায় এ পর্যন্ত প্রাণ হারিয়েছেন ১,১৩১ জন পোশাক শিল্প শ্রমিক, যা কিনা এদেশের ইতিহাসে মানব-সৃষ্ট বিপর্যয়গুলোর মধ্যে ভয়াবহতম। এ সময়ে দেশের সকল স্তরের নাগরিকদের মাঝে নিহত ও আহতদের প্রতি সমবেদনা ও সহমর্মিতা প্রকাশ এবং সহযোগিতার এক অভূতপূর্ব ঐক্যবদ্ধ প্রয়াস ছিল লক্ষণীয়। এর পাশাপাশি দুর্ঘটনা-পরবর্তী করণীয়সমূহের প্রেক্ষাপটে স্থানীয় ও আন্তর্জাতিক পর্যায়ের ব্যক্তি, প্রতিষ্ঠান এবং সংস্থার পক্ষ থেকে আর্থিকসহ বিভিন্ন ধরনের সাহায্য-সহযোগিতার অনেক প্রতিশ্রুতিও দেওয়া হয়েছে।

তাৎক্ষণিক উদ্বেগ ও উৎকণ্ঠার সময়টা পার হওয়ার সাথে সাথে ঘটনার ভয়াবহ স্মৃতিও ফিকে হয়ে আসতে শুরু করেছে; প্রতিশ্রুতি বাস্তবায়নের তাগিদেও ভাটা পড়ছে বলে প্রতীয়মান হয়। কিন্তু অতীতের মতো এবারও যেন এসব প্রতিশ্রুতি শুধু কাগজে না থেকে সত্যিকার অর্থেই পূর্ণাঙ্গ রূপে বাস্তবায়িত হয় তা পর্যবেক্ষণের জন্য সিপিডির পক্ষ থেকে একটি উদ্যোগ গ্রহণ করা হয়েছে, যার আওতায় প্রতিশ্রুত পদক্ষেপগুলোর বাস্তবায়নকে নিবিড় ও নিয়মিত পর্যবেক্ষণে রাখা হবে। সিপিডি মনে করে এ ধরনের একটি উদ্যোগের ফলশ্রুতিতে বাস্তবায়ন প্রক্রিয়ায় যথাযথ জবাবদিহিতা, সামাজিক দায়বদ্ধতা ও স্বচ্ছতা নিশ্চিত করা সম্ভব হবে; দুর্ঘটনার শিকার শ্রমিক ও তাঁদের পরিবারের সদস্যদের আশা-হতাশা ও প্রত্যাশা-প্রাপ্তির কথাগুলো জানার এবং প্রতিশ্রুতি ও বাস্তবায়নের মূল্যায়নের একটি সুযোগ সৃষ্টি হবে।

এ উদ্যোগ গ্রহণের ক্ষেত্রে সিপিডির সাথে যুক্ত হয়েছে দেশের বেশ কিছু সংগঠন ও বিশিষ্টজন। তাদের মধ্যে রয়েছে আইএবি, আইন ও সালিশ কেন্দ্র, আহসানিয়া মিশন, একশনএইড বাংলাদেশ, গণসাক্ষরতা অভিযান, টিআইবি, ডেইলি স্টার, নারীপক্ষ, নিজেরা করি, প্রথম আলো, বেলা, ব্লাস্ট, মানুষের জন্য ফাউন্ডেশন এবং সুজন।

শোকাবহ এ ঘটনার একশ দিন অতিক্রান্ত হয়েছে। এ প্রেক্ষাপটে সিপিডি তার সহ-উদ্যোক্তাদের সাথে নিয়ে রানা প্লাজা দুর্ঘটনার ১০০ দিন: প্রতিশ্রুতি ও বাস্তবায়ন পরিস্থিতি শীর্ষক একটি সংলাপ আয়োজন করেছে, যেখানে এ উদ্যোগের পক্ষ থেকে প্রস্তুতকৃত প্রথম প্রতিবেদনটি আলোচনার জন্য উপস্থাপন করা হবে।

সিপিডি এবং তার সহ-উদ্যোক্তারা অন্তত আগামী এক বছর এ পর্যবেক্ষণ কর্মসূচি পরিচালনা করার আশা রাখে।

18 May 2013: Dr Khondaker Golam Moazzem, Additional Research Director, CPD made a presentation titled “Recent Disasters in the RMG Sector and Civil Society Initiatives” at a CPD In-house Dialogue.

22 July 2013: Dr Khondaker Golam Moazzem, Additional Research Director, CPD made a presentation titled “Civil Society Initiatives to Monitor the Activities after the Incidence of Rana Plaza” at a follow-up meeting at the CPD office.

3 August 2013: Dialogue on 100 Days of Rana Plaza Tragedy: A Report on Commitments and Delivery at the CIRDAP Auditorium, Dhaka.

21 August 2013: Meeting with the Development Partners on Rana Plaza tragedy: Commitments and Delivery at the CPD Office.

19 January 2014: At the third follow-up meeting with the partner organisations at CPD office, Dr Khondaker Golam Moazzem, Additional Research Director made a presentation on the second monitoring report, set to be published on 26 January 2014.

26 January 2014: Dialogue on Rana Plaza Tragedy and Beyond: An Update on Commitments and Delivery at the BRAC Centre Inn, Dhaka.

2 April 2014: Post Rana Plaza Development and Future Agenda: meeting with RMG monitoring authorities

3 April 2014: Post Rana Plaza Development and Future Agenda: meeting with trade bodies

7 April 2014: Post Rana Plaza Development and Future Agenda: meeting with development partners

9 April 2014: Fourth Discussion on Follow up of Rana Plaza Tragedy with partner organisations of Rana Plaza Initiative

23 April 2014: Dialogue on “One Year after the Rana Plaza Tragedy” at the BRAC Centre Inn, Dhaka.

23 April 2015: Dialogue on “Two Years after Rana Plaza Tragedy” at the BRAC Centre Inn, Dhaka.

23 April 2016: Dialogue on “Re-emerging from the Rana Plaza Tragedy: An Account on the Third Anniversary” at the BRAC Centre Inn, Dhaka.

23 April 2017: Dialogue on “Catalysing Social Dialogue in the RMG Sector of Bangladesh” on the eve of fourth anniversary of the Rana Plaza tragedy at the Gardenia Grand Hall, Dhaka.

Dialogue Report

Rana Plaza Tragedy and Beyond: An Update on Commitments and Delivery

Monitoring Reports

First Independent Monitoring Report
100 Days of Rana Plaza Tragedy: A Report on Commitments and Delivery

Second Independent Monitoring Report
Rana Plaza Tragedy and Beyond: A follow up on Commitments and Delivery

Third Independent Monitoring Report
One Year after the Rana Plaza Tragedy: Where Do We Stand? the Victims, the Sector and the Value Chain

Fourth Independent Monitoring Report
Moving Beyond the Shadow of the Rana Plaza Tragedy: In Search of a Closure and Restructuring Strategy

Presentation on the first monitoring report at a CPD Dialogue on 3 August 2013.

Presentation on the second monitoring report at a CPD Dialogue on 26 January 2014.

Presentation on subsequent monitoring for the third report at a CPD dialogue on 23 April 2014.

Presentation on subsequent monitoring for the fourth report at a CPD dialogue on 21 April 2015.

Presentation on subsequent monitoring for the fourth report at a CPD dialogue on 23 April 2016.

Presentation on subsequent monitoring for the fourth report at a CPD dialogue on 23 April 2017.

Other

Lessons from Rana Plaza – Professor Rehman Sobhan’s observations on the global RMG value chain and the Rana Plaza tragedy, at a meeting of the American Chamber of Commerce in Bangladesh (AmCham) on 19 August 2013.

Op-eds and Interviews on the RMG Sector

Moving forward from the Rana Plaza tragedy
Dr Fahmida Khatun.  The Daily Star on Monday, 24 April 2017

Fourth Anniversary of The Rana Plaza Collapse: Where do we stand?
Dr Khondaker Golam Moazzem. The Daily Star on Monday, 24 April 2017

Post-Rana Plaza initiatives and sustainability of the RMG sector
Dr Fahmida Khatun. The Daily Star, 20 April 2015

রানা প্লাজা ধস ও পোশাকশিল্পের ভবিষ্যৎ
Dr Khondaker Golam Moazzem. Prothom Alo, 6 November 2014

ব্যর্থতা আসলে সব পক্ষের
Dr Khondaker Golam Moazzem. Prothom Alo, 25 October 2014

Macro Review of the RMG Sector: Gains, Challenges and Policy Responses
Dr Khondaker Golam Moazzem. The Daily Star, 24 June 2014

On the Rana Plaza tragedy
Professor Mustafizur Rahman. The Daily Star Online, 22 April 2014

রানা প্লাজা-পরবর্তী উদ্যোগে সমন্বয়হীনতা রয়েছে
Professor Mustafizur Rahman. Shokaler Khobor, 22 April 2014

Nine Months into Rana Plaza Tragedy: Where do we stand?
Dr Khondaker Golam Moazzem and Adiba Afros. The Daily Star, 27 January 2014

শ্রমিক অধিকারঃ প্রতিশ্রুতি বাস্তবায়ন কতদূর?
Dr Khondaker Golam Moazzem. Prothom Alo, 26 January 2014

রাজনৈতিক অস্থিরতা কাটলে পোশাকশিল্প এগিয়ে যাবে
Dr Khondaker Golam Moazzem. Kaler Kantho, 12 January 2014

রূপান্তরের জন্য আলোকিত দৃষ্টিভঙ্গি ও নতুন ভাবনা দরকার
Professor Mustafizur Rahman. Prothom Alo, 6 November 2013

RMG Sector: Navigating the Challenging Times Ahead
Professor Mustafizur Rahman. The Daily Star, 3 November 2013

পরিবারের ব্যয় মেটানোর মত মজুরি হওয়া বাঞ্ছনীয়
Dr Khondaker Golam Moazzem. Shokaler Khobor, 13 October 2013

মালিকপক্ষের প্রস্তাবে বিস্তারিত তথ্য-উপাত্ত নেই
Dr Khondaker Golam Moazzem. Prothom Alo, 28 September 2013

উপসম্পাদকীয়: তৈরি পোশাকশিল্পে ন্যূনতম মজুরি পুনর্নির্ধারণে বিবেচ্য বিষয়াবলি
Dr Khondaker Golam Moazzem. Banik Barta, 24 September 2013

পোশাকশিল্পে ওয়েকআপ কল যথাযথ সাড়ায় সম্ভাবনার জানালা খুলে যাবে
Professor Mustafizur Rahman. Samakal, 22 May 2013

তৈরি পোশাক খাত: এগোনোর পথ 
Dr Fahmida Khatun. Prothom Alo, 10 May 2013

আন্তর্জাতিক উৎপাদন চেইন এ শ্রমিকের অংশগ্রহণ কতটুকু আশীর্বাদের?
Dr Khondaker Golam Moazzem. Bonik Barta, 1 May 2013

শ্রমিক স্বার্থ দেখার কেউ নেই
Dr Debapriya Bhattacharya. Samakal, 28 November 2012

পোশাক শিল্পে নারীশ্রমিকের অর্থনৈতিক উন্নয়ন – তিন দশকের অভিজ্ঞতা
Dr Khondaker Golam Moazzem. Bonik Barta, 8 March 2012

 

Relevant Issues

Professor Mustafizur Rahman’s blog post on Post-Rana Plaza Monitoring: A Civil Society Initiative, on INSPIRED website, funded by the European Union under the European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights (EIDHR).
June 2014

NYU Stern School of Business report on Rana Plaza collapse cites CPD Independent Monitoring report
April 2014

The Prime Minister’s Office responds to CPD Dialogue
January 2014

Professor Mustafizur Rahman urges to improve RMG Sector working conditions
October 2013

Lessons from Rana Plaza – Professor Rehman Sobhan‘s observations on the global RMG value chain and the Rana Plaza tragedy
August 2013

 

Relevant Publications

CPD-UNFPA Paper Series Paper 26 – The Sexual Harassment of Industrial Workers: Strategies for Intervention in the Workplace and Beyond
June 2003

Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) Risk in the Readymade Garments (RMG) Sector of Bangladesh: Causes and Responsibilities
April 2013

 

CPD Dialogue Reports related to the RMG Sector

Report 103 – বিনিয়োগ পরিবেশ ও শিল্পাঙ্গনে সাম্প্রতিক ঘটনাবলী [Bangla] April 2011

Report 91 – শিল্পে কর্মপরিবেশের নিরাপত্তাঃ আমাদের কি কিছুই করণীয় নেই? [Bangla] September 2007

Report 90 – পোশাক শিল্পে সাম্প্রতিক অস্থিরতাঃ সমাধান কোন পথে? [Bangla] September 2007

The Daily Star Online interviewed CPD Executive Director Professor Mustafizur Rahman on Rana Plaza collapse. Published by The Daily Star Online on 22 April 2014.

Professor Mustafizur Rahman, Executive Director, CPD interviewed by The Daily Star Online on Rana Plaza collapse. Published by The Daily Star Online

 

Following the Rana Plaza collapse, CPD Research Director Dr Fahmida Khatun participated at a BBC Sanglap (Dialogue) with panellists Mr HT Imam, Prime Minister’s Adviser on Public Administration Affairs; Member of the Advisory Council of Awami League; Dr Fahmida Khatun, Research Director of Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD); Mr Md Atiqul Islam, President of Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) and Mr MK Anwar, Member of the National Standing Committee of BNP; Former Commerce Minister.

(left) Panellists: Mr HT Imam - Prime Minister's Adviser on Public Administration Affairs; Member of the Advisory Council of Awami League; Dr Fahmida Khatun - Research Director of Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD), one of the country's leading think-tanks; Mr Md Atiqul Islam - President of Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) and Mr MK Anwar - Member of the National Standing Committee of BNP; Former Commerce Minister.

Reblogged from BBC Bangla website, report published on 28 April 2013.

 

Naripokkhoone of the partner organisations of the Post-Rana Plaza Monitoring Initiative, has cooperated in preparing a documentary titled “The Victims of Rana Plaza Bangladesh.”

rana-plaza-naripakkha-docu-youtube

 

The video published on 14 June 2013 reveals that the death toll in the Rana Plaza tragedy reached 1139, plus 2 rescue workers. Lots of victims, mainly women, were trying to recover from injuries. Left with no income, most of them were suffering without proper healthcare while some were unable to take up work again. The documentary questions what is being done for these women?

 

The Washington Post on 27 November 2013 ran an article on the aftermath of the Rana Plaza Tragedy – a building hosting five garment factories in Savar, Dhaka caved in claiming the lives of 1,132 workers in April 2013. Dr Khondaker Golam Moazzem, Additional Research Director, CPD opined on different aspects of the extreme aftereffects, some of which are yet to be resolved.

Andrew Biraj/Reuters – A relation of a garment worker, who is still missing after the Rana Plaza building collapse, cries during a protest in front of the site. Hundreds of garment workers and activists gathered in front of the Rana Plaza site seven months after its collapse.

 

 

BBC Radio quotes CPD’s first monitoring report as regards medical and financial help the survivors and families of the deceased received since the collapse.

web-bbc

It’s five months on from the collapse of the 8 storey building in Dhaka, in which more than a thousand workers died, and several thousand lost arms or legs or were paralysed. The safety campaigners agree that Western brands pulling out of Bangladesh would be the worst result for the country’s four million garment workers and the families who rely on their earnings.

 

Market competition infringes RMG workers’ rights – Professor Sobhan tells French daily Libération: Professor Rehman Sobhan’s comments have been featured in a report in the French Newspaper Libération that denounced the lack of support for the survivors of Rana Plaza Tragedy that took lives of 1,132 RMG workers in April this year.

 

Australian portal ABC.com investigative journalism show Four Corners reporter Sarah Ferguson sets out to find the real cost of cheap clothes.

rana-plaza-web-australia

In recent years, Australian companies have flooded into Bangladesh to take advantage of lax labour laws and the lowest wages in the world, paid to the predominantly young, female workers in the factories. The collapse of Rana Plaza turned the world’s attention to the shocking conditions workers in the country’s clothing industry are forced to endure.