Draft remarks by HE Permanent Representative of Bangladesh, Mr. Masud Bin Momen, at the “High-level Meeting on Sustainable Tourism, Trade and Global Digital Assets in support of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UNSDG’s)”, Co-organized by the Permanent Mission of Suriname, World Assets Digital Cryptology Committee (WADCC) and the United Nations Association of El Salvador (UNA-SV), 17 January 2017, 15:00 to 18:00pm, Conference Room
Ladies and gentlemen,
Let be begin by commending the Permanent Mission of Suriname, World Assets Digital Cryptology Committee and the United Nations Association of El Salvador for organizing this event. I thank the organizers for inviting me to speak at this event.
The specific issues covered in the theme are relevant and can make important contributions to the realization of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
The 2030 Agenda recognizes international trade as an engine for inclusive economic growth and poverty eradication, and an important means to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). It embodies some ambitious targets in the field of trade, such as, significantly increasing the exports of developing countries and doubling the least developed countries’ share of global exports by 2020. The Agenda also calls for realizing the timely implementation of duty-free and quota-free market access for all LDCs.
While we are in the second year of realizing the 2030 agenda, it is disappointing not to see any tangible progress in the international trade. We rather see some reverse trends. Latest UNCTAD report on trade and development suggests that the global trade slowed down dramatically to around 1.5 percent in 2015 and 2016, compared to 7 percent growth before the crisis. Exports of LDCs have also fallen by more than 20 percent in 2015.
Concrete measures need to be adopted to realize the SDG targets in the field of trade. We must reform trade rules to make them fairer and more pro-development. Addressing trade barriers and providing trade capacity through aid for trade are also important. We also need to focus on structural transformation through sufficiently developing the manufacturing sector, high value addition and value retention by entering into the global value chains and adding technology and knowledge content into the manufacturing sectors.
The 2030 Agenda sets a specific target to devise and implement policies to promote sustainable tourism that creates jobs and promotes local culture and products (target 8.9). In recent years, tourism has emerged as a fast growing vibrant sector contributing nearly 10 percent to the global GDP and generating one in every eleven jobs globally.
Unlocking the potentials of this sector would require appropriate policies and mechanisms at the national and international levels. Engagement of the private sector, along with the government sector, is vitally important. Countries need to invest in branding, marketing and reaching out to the potential markets. Building tourism infrastructure, ensuring stability, safety and security are key prerequisites for sustainable tourism development. Progress in the realization of GATS in all four Modes can also make important contributions to the promotion of tourism.
The recent surge in the information and communication technologies has promoted the digital assets exponentially. Digital assets and digital media have a major impact on our economic, social and cultural lives. The enormous storage capacity in cyberspace is changing the patterns of our economic, social and political lives. Digital assets are providing resources, knowledge and entertainment in an inconceivable magnitude at a shortest possible time. It can make important contributions to promote education, expertise and research and development.
The digital assets also make worth billions of dollars in commercial terms. The social media companies are now generating billions of dollars in businesses. Research studies suggest that the global digital asset management (DAM) market is expected to surpass $5 billion by 2025.
However, there is a big asymmetry in getting access to digital assets. Appropriate infrastructure is essential to get full benefits out of these resources. Peoples need access to internet, electricity, equipment and literacy and numeracy to harness the full potentials offered by the stock of global digital assets.
Turning to Bangladesh, its record in attaining the MDGs was very impressive. Taking inspiration from our considerable success in MDGs, we have embarked on implementing the SDGs which are much more diverse and ambitious. As the Government has identified, 56 targets fully align with our national 7th five-year plan, 103 are partially aligned whereas 11 targets are not directly relevant for Bangladesh to implement. Our Government has undertaken a mapping of its capacity involving 49 Ministries; funding requirements and possible sources, effective and efficient data management, utilizing the existing capacity of the civil society organizations and private sector, and developing an effective monitoring and evaluation mechanism. Handbook of Targets Mapping was officially launched on 8 December 2016.
As far as the institutional arrangements are concerned, an SDG monitoring and implementation committee has been formed with 15 key implementing ministries which cover more than 80% of public investment spending. Prime Minister’s Office is leading the coordination and a Cabinet Secretary-ranked officer has been appointed as the Principal Coordinator to monitor the plan and coordination of SDGs.
Keeping in mind that SDGs implementation would require multi-sector approaches, Government has involved CSOs, NGOs and business sector in this exercise. Our Government is of the view that a strong monitoring within the government and shadow oversight from CSOs will build synergy in the SDG journey.
One of the primary objectives of our Government is to make a “Digital Bangladesh” reflected in our country’s development strategy “Vision 2021”. Promotion of trade, tourism and digital assets would greatly contribute to our efforts towards development. While we are committed to do our bit, concrete actions at the global level in these crucial areas would support us immensely in our journey.
I thank you all for your kind attention.