STATEMENT BY DEPUTY PERMANENT REPRESENTATIVE OF BANGLADESH TO THE UNITED NATIONS, ON AGENDA ITEM 26: SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT, AT THE THIRD COMMITTEE OF THE 71TH SESSION OF THE UNITED NATIONS GENERAL ASSEMBLY (New York, 4 October 2016)
Madame Chair, Excellencies, Distinguished Delegates,
At the outset, allow me to extend our warmest congratulations to you Madame Chair and the other members of the Bureau on your election. I assure you of the fullest cooperation of Bangladesh delegation in discharging your duties during this session of the Third Committee.
Bangladesh aligns itself with statement given by Kingdom of Thailand on behalf of Group of G-77 and China. However, I would like to share my views and my country’s experience on Social Development on my national capacity.
During last two decades, the world has made much progress in social sector particularly reducing poverty. But progress has been uneven across regions and within countries. Major global trends such as climate change, recurring economic, food and energy crisis, violent extremism, refugee movements demonstrate that— achievement in reducing poverty, creating employment or promoting social inclusion—- can be suddenly weakened or reversed.
It has been twenty-one years since the World Summit for Social Development was held in Copenhagen and the adoption of the Copenhagen Declaration and Programme of Action. But poverty eradication still remains a global and major challenge for the international community. Social exclusion continues to be a challenge in many parts of the world, by virtue of growing inequalities and decent-work deficits.
This is an important year for social development. The UN member states adopted the ‘New York declaration for Refugee and Migrants’ a few days ago. We are also celebrating the 30th anniversary of the Declaration of Right to Development which provides us an opportunity to recommit ourselves to implement its provisions for achieving a just and equitable world
Last year, the member states adopted the historic the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the Paris Agreement, the Addis Ababa Agenda. The momentum, for progress in those areas, must be matched by progress in achieving the objectives of the Copenhagen Declaration and Programme of Action on Social Development.
Poverty eradication through people’s empowerment has always been on the top of development priority of the government of Bangladesh. Our people-centric model with its seven elements; poverty eradication, education, skill development, elimination of discrimination and extremism, inclusion, participation and employment generation is guiding the government to realize its vision 2021for a poverty-free prosperous country.
Bangladesh has made commendable progress in respect of most of the social indicators in last two decades. It has sustained a GDP growth rate of 6+ percent in recent years and touched the landmark growth rate 7 percent in 2015-16[ according to the World Bank report] that has played a positive role in eradicating poverty. The robust growth has been accompanied by corresponding improvement in several social indicators such as increase in the life expectancy (which is 70.4 years in recent years) and lower fertility rate (2.3 in 2014), despite having one of the world’s highest population densities. In a World Bank report published yesterday, the population living below poverty line is 12.9% in 2015-16 which was 56.7% in 1991.
Significant progress has been made increasing equitable access in education. The net enrolment ratio in Bangladesh in the primary school is 97.7 %. Bangladesh has already achieved gender parity in primary and secondary enrolment. The proportion of population using safe drinking water and improved sanitation is 98% and 56% respectively -which is the highest among the South Asian counties.
Despite our many social, economic and environmental challenges, and more importantly resource constraints, we have made substantial progress in bringing the issue of disability to the forefront. Particular attention is being given to ensuring the right to education of children with disabilities. Apart from formal learning, skill development programme and vocational training are imparted to PWD to help them to get self-employed. Our resolution entitled’ Addressing the socio-economic needs of individuals, families and societies affected by autism spectrum ( ASD) developmental disorders and other associated disabilities’, was adopted with consensus by all member states in 2012.
Bangladesh continue to underscore the crucial role of international cooperation, including north-south, south-south and triangular cooperation, in realizing the internationally agreed development goals, and most importantly, in promoting the Programme of Action of the Copenhagen Summit. Bangladesh underlines the need to focus on a more strengthened, coherent and integrated development approach, including the fulfillment of commitments on internationally agreed official development assistance, and the timely implementation of all commitments under the global partnership for development.
We are pleased to note that since the proclamation of the International Year of the Family in 1994, the international community continues to undertake a range of activities and commitments in support of its objectives. We continue to recognize that the observance of the twentieth anniversary of the International Year of the Family in 2014 provided a useful opportunity to strengthen national family-centered policies and programmes.
Bangladesh stresses importance on effective enforcement of labour laws with regard to migrant workers, inter alia, those related to their remuneration, their working conditions and condition of their health, safety of work and right to freedom of their associations.
Finally, I would like to conclude my statement by urging all stake holders to renew their commitments to further advance social development by intensifying their efforts to implement Copenhagen Declaration and Program of Action within the context of 2030 sustainable development agenda. We expect the role of the Commission for Social Development should be strengthened as a potential platform for following up the social dimension of the SDGs.