Statement by H.E. Dr. A K Abdul Momen, Ambassador, and Permanent Representative of Bangladesh to the UN
On Agenda Item 55: Questions Relating to Information, New York, 18 October 2013
I would like to congratulate you, on your election as chair of the Special Political and Decolonization Committee during the sixty-eighth session of the General Assembly. We also extend our congratulations to the Members of the Bureau. My delegation assures you and the Bureau of its full support and cooperation in the course of this Committee’s deliberations.
We appreciate observance of The International Peace Keeping Day to pay tribute to all men and women serving/having served in United Nations peacekeeping operations for their high level of professionalism, dedication and courage, and to honor the memory of those who have lost their lives in the cause of peace. We take great pride in the fact that 112 of Bangladeshi peace keepers made their supreme sacrifices while working under UN Blue Helmet. We have been urging for a long time for DPI publication or documentary that highlights this great sacrifice. This heroic contribution by peace keepers from all countries need to be recorded for today’s youth and tomorrow’s leaders.
We therefore, proposed to erect a Wall inside the UN commemorating the names (and also country) of each of our heroes that made their supreme sacrifice for global peace and stability. May I request the DPKO and DPI to take necessary initiative and appeal our fellow member countries to support such initiative.
Another area where Bangladesh will be pleased to extend support and cooperation to DPI is climate change. Bangladesh is one of the worst victims of it although it has near zero contribution to global warming. Bangladesh faces a lot of frightening consequences because of global erratic climate change. What is alarming is that a meter rise in sea level would inundate 18 percent of our land mass, directly impacting 20 to 30 million people. These displaced people known as climate migrants will be forced out of their homes, traditional jobs or profession and they are likely to over-crowd our slumps in cities and towns. Other low-lying countries will face the same challenge and as per estimates, nearly 400 million will be uprooted from their homes. It is time for the DPI to appraise the global community of the impending dangers of such massive migration and we all have to work together to face this challenge.
We strongly urge for greater international cooperation to support developing countries facing similar problem. Developing countries require funding to prepare as much as possible to face the consequences of global warming. When sea-level will rise, the current polders or embankments of Bangladesh have to be raised at least by a meter and such will cost over $24-$30 billion alone. We seek DPI’s help to spotlight the cases of such issues. For a long time, we have been urging for procurement of video footages by DPI’s UNifeed Programme, either from its own local sources or through UN system partners, that depict the story of coastal states and small island countries about the impending crisis facing them unless there is concrete global action to counter it.
We always offer our assistance to make the International Mother Language Day, being observed on 21st February every year, at the United Nations and elsewhere better known. Given our historic role in defending the right to speak in one’s mother language, our interest in this observance is obvious. International Mother Language Day should not be a mere formal event; meaningful worldwide observance of this day will promote awareness of linguistic and cultural diversity and multilingualism specially at a time when numerous small languages are under threat of annihilation due to globalization and economic disintegration. It may be recalled from the course of world history, many cultures and civilizations have been shattered because of the disappearance of their languages.
Bangla is the 7th largest spoken language and nearly 275 million people speak, write and talk in this language. The UN created a P-3 position for it as early as 1982 for running a UN-Bangla radio program. That post was closed down later on and Bangla program was initially out-sourced and then closed down abruptly in 2012. We are pleased that UN has re-started the Bangla radio program but it’s not enough. We would request you to re-instate the old P-3 post for it so that the activities of UN can be shared with people outside the four wall of the UN Secretariat building.
We recognize various promotional activities being performed by UNICs worldwide. We believe these activities will certainly contribute to eradication of poverty, bringing awareness of the youth, empowerment of women, ensuring sustainable development and so on. Before I conclude
Mr. Chairman, let me reiterate our support for the DPI and reassure you our fullest cooperation in steering committee’s work to a successful conclusion.
I thank you Mr. Chairman.