High Level Event on Tackling the Unfinished Agenda: Accelerating the MDG Progress. Address by Her Excellency Sheikh Hasina, Hon’ble Prime Minister, Government of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh New York, 24 September 2013

High Level Event on Tackling the Unfinished Agenda: Accelerating the MDG Progress. Address by Her Excellency Sheikh Hasina, Hon’ble Prime Minister, Government of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh
New York, 24 September 2013

Bismillahir Rahmanir Rahim
The Secretary General Mr. Ban Ki-moon,
The Administrator of UNDP, Ms. Helen Clark,
The President of the World Bank, Dr. Jim Yong Kim,

Distinguished Guests,

Assalamu Alaikum and Good Morning to you all.

The theme we are discussing today “Tackling the Unfinished Agenda: Accelerating the MDG Progress” is most appropriate. I thank the speakers, especially the United Nations Secretary General Mr. Ban Ki-moon, the UNDP Administrator Ms. Helen Clark, and the World Bank President Dr. Jim Yong Kim for their valuable contributions. I am happy to express my thoughts on the issue before you all.

Bangladesh has already met several MDGs covering reduction in poverty, gender parity in schools, under-five mortality rate, containing HIV infection, usage of insecticide-treated bed nets, and detection and curing of TB. The development partners, the UNDP and the World Bank, have been supporting our progress. Our government, during its election in 2008, identified the lagging MDGs and by 2010, a comprehensive MDG financing framework and policy was developed. This was used as a base for our 6th Five Year Plan from 2011 to 2015 with a strong MDG achievement strategy for the period, ending 2015.

The UNDP Human Development Report of 2013 has singled out Bangladesh among a handful of developing countries for its stellar performance in achieving MDGs ahead of schedule. It identified innovations in social policy as instrumental factors for accelerating development. These innovations included targeted social safety net programs like education of girls at primary, secondary and post-secondary levels to attain gender parity which delays the marriage and reduction in infant and maternal mortality. These were instrumental in raising women’s participation in the labor force from 24% in 2010 to 36% at present.

Innovations also included schemes which helped 11.53 million destitute women and their families to come out of poverty, start small businesses, educate their children and improve their nutrition intake. The schemes also provided seasonal jobs for 2.74 million ultra-poor; training and temporary employment for 2 years to 57,000 educated youths; 200,000 slum dwellers to gain access to clean water, sanitation, and economic opportunities; multi-lingual schools for children of ethnic groups to start schooling in their own mother tongue; using natural gas as a clean alternative to carbon-based fuel; banning of polythene bags; introducing new brick laying technology to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 40%, and reducing CFC emission by 93%.

Consultations with our development partners have helped us to prepare a set of goals for the post-2015 Development Agenda, many of which closely match with the High Level Panel’s recommendations. Among the goals is the cross-cutting nature of inclusive development which is already ongoing under the National Social Protection Strategy; importance of addressing inequality with the High Level Panel’s recommendation for, “Leave no one behind”; increase employment opportunities and ensure worker’s rights; ensure quality education and skills for all, particularly the youth for their employment; sustainable development and adaptation and mitigation programs to face the challenges arising from climate change, including land and water management, linking ecosystems and poverty reduction and sustainable energy.

Also included is good governance by strengthening institutions, frameworks and strategies on empowering people; reforming the judicial system through ICT services; reform of the national legal aid service; and wide ranging services through the 4,582 Union Information and Service Centers; improved disaster preparedness through “Disaster Management Committees” at every level of administration; the use of ICT to disseminate disaster warnings through mobile phones; and the newly piloted “disaster Resilient Habitat” to improve the resilience of the entire communities.

However, for the overall success of the Post-2015 Development Agenda what is needed is forging a new, pragmatic and responsible global partnership for sustainable development. It would need to take into account financing to meet the challenges emanating from climate change, fulfillment of the ODA commitments, trade facilitation, and South-South and the Triangular Cooperation. The interest and cooperation shown by the United Nations and its agencies, particularly the UNDP, and the World Bank and importantly our development partners must continue. Their commitments and increasing support are essential to attain the MDGs and the goals set out in the Post-2015 Development Agenda.

I thank you all.