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Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina of Bangladesh addresses the general debate of the General Assembly’s 78th session.

Shun path of confrontation and work together for the SDGs, urges Bangladesh leader

UN Photo/Laura Jarriel
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina of Bangladesh addresses the general debate of the General Assembly’s 78th session.

Shun path of confrontation and work together for the SDGs, urges Bangladesh leader

UN Affairs

The Prime Minister of Bangladesh on Friday appealed to world leaders gathered at the UN “to shun the path of war and confrontation, and to work collectively for enduring peace ... and economic prosperity for our people and future generations.”

Sheikh Hasina said that achievement of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in developing countries has been greatly impeded by lingering impacts of the pandemic, the effects of an existential climate crisis, and the wide ramifications of the war in Ukraine affecting global food, financial, and energy securities have greatly impeded the.

Looking ahead to next year’s Summit of the Future to reset the global push to attain the SDGs, she said: “We must make all efforts to collectively address the common challenges of humanity to secure a peaceful, prosperous, and sustainable future for all.”

Bangladesh’s development

Addressing the annual debate of the UN General Assembly,  the Prime Minister went on to say that Bangladesh has been transformed from a lower-middle income country to a middle-income country and noted that the country’s poverty rate has reduced from 41.5 per cent in 2006 to 18.7 per cent in 2022.

She outlined the efforts her Government has taken to expand social safety net coverage to ensure social and financial security of destitute women, widows, the elderly, persons with disabilities, persons of third gender and other marginalized segments of the society. 

She noted, “in the current fiscal year, a total of $12 billion have been allocated for the social safety net programmes.”

Emphasizing on Bangladesh’s commitment to ensure women empowerment and gender equality within a stipulated timeframe, she said: “We have given special attention to overall education including female literacy… Starting from the primary to higher education, about 23 million students are being provided with stipend, scholarship and one time grant. More than half of those recipients are female.”

Climate Action

Turning to climate change, Ms. Hasina pointed out that despite contributing less than 0.47 per cent of global emissions, Bangladesh is one of the most climatically vulnerable countries in the world. She added that adverse effects of climate pose serious threats to the country’s security and economic prosperity. 

Calling upon the major emitters to submit and implement ambitious NDCs, she said: “The developed economies must fulfill their $100 billion commitments… We also demand an urgent operationalization of loss and damage funds as agreed in COP27.”  

Highlighting he Government’s commitment to the cause, she noted “we established the ‘Bangladesh Climate Change Trust Fund’ back in 2009 to finance climate adaptation and allocated 480 million US dollars to this fund so far from our own resources.” 

Keeping the peace

Bangladesh continues to participate in UN peacekeeping operations, and as of now 188,000 men and women from Bangladesh have served in 55 peacekeeping missions in 40 countries. 

Expressing concern at the continued prevalence of terrorist threats which are now taking new shapes due to misuse of information and communication technology, Ms. Hasina said that “My Government maintains a 'zero tolerance' policy against terrorism and violent extremism.”

Turning to the Rohingya crisis, the Prime Minister stated that it has been six years of the mass displacement of the Rohingyas, saying that “the refugees want to return to their own country, Myanmar, and live a peaceful life there.”

She requested the international community to bring those destitute people hope of a brighter future in their own land and thereby foster safety and stability in the region. 

Full statement available here.