Intervention by H.E. Dr. A. K. Abdul Momen, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Bangladesh at Second Committee on agenda items 21 (a): Role of the United Nations in promoting development in the context of globalization and interdependence, 21 (b): Science and technology for development and 21 (d): Culture and development. CR-2, CB, 23 October 2013
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
1. My delegation aligns itself with the statements made by Fiji on behalf of the G77 & China, and Benin on behalf of LDCs.
2. Although we have several sub-items under the agenda item of “globalization and interdependence”, let me focus on three issues: (1) development in the context of globalization and interdependence, (2) science and technology for development, and (3) culture and development.
3. There was a time not so long ago when there was debate on the pros and cons of globalization. The heated discussions on it among political leaders, academia, civil society and other stakeholders have now ceased, because everyone now realizes that globalization is here to stay, whether you like it or not. Now, the issue is how to take advantage of this globalized world to ensure maximum benefits. Here I come to the second part of the agenda item – the issue of interdependence.
4. When I get up in the morning, I take tea produced in Sri Lanka or Bangladesh while the cup is from England. I tune either to CNN or BBC. I take breakfast cereal produced in USA and a banana from Ecuador. I get my shoe manufactured in Bally, my shirt either from China or Bangladesh. I pick up my Samsung iphone made in Korea, I get into my car manufactured either in USA, Japan, or Germany, and I fill up my tank with gas either from Saudi Arabia or Qatar. My car parts are made in China, its GPS in USA, glass in Belgium, engine in Germany and it is assembled in Detroit by a company jointly owned by USA and Japan. This is an example of living in a globalized world of interdependence.
5. So the concept of globalization itself is a manifestation of interdependence and it endorses the view that for long term sustainability of development, no country, or countries, should be left behind. The reality, unfortunately, is different. The report of the Secretary General on this issue points out that LDCs are not being able to gain from today’s global economic situation, and the divergence between LDCs and other developing countries have widened with globalization. The report expresses concern that these inequalities are likely to widen in the coming days.
6. I am sure many of you will agree that this trend must be stopped and preferably reversed. To mainstream the LDCs in the global interdependent life of today, the development partners need to come forward and fulfill their commitments that they have pledged to LDCs in the areas of market access, trade facilitation, adaptation to climate change, migration, remittance, and the like. Bangladesh has been able to cope well with globalization, however that is not the case for many countries in our group, and UN needs to play a critical role of ensuring that tangible development takes place in the context of globalization and interdependence in the countries that are lagging behind.
7. That automatically brings us to the issue of science and technology for development. Bangladesh has put high importance on the issue of science, innovation and technology as part of its national development strategy. It is pursuing ‘Digital Bangladesh’ — an action-oriented program to make best use of technology and ICT. To improve service delivery in education, healthcare and the like, to encourage grass root participation in governance and to reduce corruption, to provide nearly 400 different day-to-day services, it has set up 4,542 UISCs. By use of appropriate technology, Bangladesh has attained nearly self sufficiency in food and reduced poverty by more than half. It also achieved MDG-3 and 4. As my country is prone to natural disasters, Bangladeshi scientists have innovated crops that are flood resistant, and can grow in saline environment.
8. Unfortunately, that is not the case with many LDCs. As per SG’s Report, the poorer countries of the world, particularly the LDCs are disproportionately outdated in the area of science and technology. The report points out that out of more than 788,000 scientific journals published globally in 2009, only 1,400 published by LDCs, that means around 2 in 1,000. This clearly shows the deplorable condition of LDCs in Science, Technology and Innovation.
9. To overcome this situation, and to mainstream into the highway of technology, the LDCs need support of the global community. In Istanbul, global leadership agreed to the idea of Technology Bank and Science and Technology Supporting Mechanism for LDCs. We are thankful to Turkey for offering to host the Technology Bank. We believe once the Bank starts its activities, and its regional centers are set up in LDCs to disseminate information, coordinate and transplant them into practice, things will have a jump-start. We call upon all development partners, and developing countries who are comparatively better off and also to private sector and entrepreneurs, to help LDCs leapfrog in the area of science and technology, an enabler to help improve their productive capacity.
10. On the issue of culture and development, Bangladesh firmly believes that culture like technology is an enabler and key driver of comprehensive development. Culture has been integral to Bangladesh’s birth as a nation. Our aspiration to self-determination was inspired by a cultural movement –the Language Movement of 1952 – that gradually evolved into a political struggle for autonomy and independence. The supreme sacrifice that we made to protect and preserve our language and culture has been immortalized by UNESCO by declaring the 21st February as the International Mother Language Day.
11. Culture must be considered to be a cross-cutting issue across the entire spectrum of the sustainable development agenda. Bangladesh has been promoting and furthering the “Culture for Peace”. We believe all violence, wars, misunderstanding and instability emanate from a mindset of intolerance, hatred and ignorance and to have sustainable peace, stability and development, we have to inculcate a mindset of tolerance, respect and love for others and acceptance of diversities. We remain open to any constructive suggestions on the possibility of formulating an integrated development goal involving culture within the overall post-2015 development framework.
12. Finally, let me reassure you, Mr. Chair, my delegation’s willingness in engaging and contributing substantively in the discourse and actions regarding development in the context of globalization, interdependence, science, technology and culture.
I thank you.