Statement delivered by H.E. Ambassador Masud Bin Momen, Permanent Representative of Bangladesh to the United Nations at the General Debate of the Second Committee of the 73rd Session of the United Nations General Assembly (8 October 2018, CR-2, UNHQs)
At the outset, I would like to congratulate you and all other members of your bureau on your election. We are confident that under your leadership the second committee will have a fruitful and successful discussion of the issues vital for development of our countries. I would also like to express our appreciation for H.E. Mr. Sven Jurgenson, Permanent Representative of Estonia and Chair of the Second Committee for the 72nd UNGA for his excellent leadership.
My delegation aligns itself with the statements delivered by Egypt, as the Chair of the G77, and Malawi, as the Chair of LDCs.
The 2030 Agenda provides a wonderful vision before us to establish a just and prosperous world based on equality, dignity, justice and shared responsibility. However, the world is going through visible changes such as protracted economic stagnation, fiscal austerity measures, increasing threat to multilateralism, growing protectionism in rich countries, sustained decline in global partnerships for development including failure in delivering on commitments; and also the new and emerging threats posed by climate change events. The advent of the 4th Industrial Revolution will compound our uncertain future. These have enormous potential to impact our lives and the way we do businesses. Therefore, we need a serious and focused discussion on these issues in the Second Committee and find out ways to collectively change the situation for a better future.
The development trajectory of Bangladesh speaks for its commitment and determination to ensure a prosperous future for its people. Under the visionary leadership of its Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, bold and resolute development plans and people-centric policies coupled with a whole of society approach and reforms in fiscal and other policies were adopted which have put Bangladesh on a solid social and economic foundation.
Bangladesh is the 43rd largest economy in the world in terms of nominal GDP. With an average GDP growth rate of 7.86%, poverty rate has dropped to 21.4% in 2018 with extreme poverty rate 11.3%. We are setting up 100 Special Economic Zones that would help create 10 million job opportunities in Bangladesh.
Power generation capacity has gone up to 20,000 megawatts in remote areas without transmission lines, power supply is being ensured with the help of 5.5 million solar panels. 90% of our population has come under electricity coverage. With the launch of the work on the Rooppur Nuclear Power Plant, the first of its kind in Bangladesh, we have moved a step ahead in the peaceful use of nuclear energy. We have ensured food security and people’s access to medical facilities. Multipurpose programmes have been taken to ensure social safety-net for the underprivileged section of the society. 99% of our people have access to sanitation and 88% to safe drinking water thanks to several initiatives taken by the Government. ICT has been our tool to ensure good governance and accelerate the pace of development. The efforts to realize ‘Digital Bangladesh’ had appealed to the millions of youth in Bangladesh. Widespread introduction of Internet-based public service delivery has led to growth in job creation at the grass root level. We have made significant progress in infrastructure development by constructing roads, highways, bridges, across the country.
We are implementing various mega development projects such as the construction works of the 6.1 km Padma Multipurpose Bridge with our own resources. Our journey to space technology has started this year with the launching of our first satellite which we have named after our Father of the Nation, Bangabandhu Satellite. Bangladesh has earned global accolades for closing gender gaps and empowerment of women. Our government has put in place legal and developmental policies to establish women rights and to integrate them with the development efforts of the country. These have created job opportunities for them as well. Bangladesh is one of the most climate vulnerable countries. We are committed to Paris Agreement and had submitted our Nationally determined Contributions in 2016 that articulates our climate related actions for adaptation and mitigation of the emission of the GHGs. We are implementing different projects for protecting the country from the negative impacts of climate change and natural disasters with our own resources mostly.
One landmark moment in the history of our development came this year when we qualified for graduation from the LDC category for the first time. Graduation comes with certain challenges. We are preparing ourselves to cope up with the situation that we will face after the withdrawal of the benefits we used to enjoy as an LDC. Our focus will be diversifying the economy and exploring new markets. Transforming our huge population into a skilled manpower will be one of the main thrusts. We also aim at creating a technology-driven society and fostering an innovation-led growth. Implementation of our nationally pronounced visions to become a Middle-Income Country by 2021 and a developed country by 2041 would guide us to look for innovative ways to boldly tackle the challenges accompanied with graduation.
Building on its success in the implementation of the MDGs, Bangladesh embarked on the journey for implementing the SDGs by integrating it into its Seventh Five Year Plan. We have prepared the “Mapping of Ministries/Divisions by Targets in the Implementation of SDGs” and the “National Action Plan for SDGs Implementation”.
However, the “SDG Financing Strategy: Bangladesh Perspective” reflects an estimate of the annual resource gap in implementing the SDGs. It shows that like many other developing countries, financing will be the biggest challenge for Bangladesh as an additional amount of USD 66.32 billion will be required per year on an average from 2017 to 2030.
We are aware of the considerable data gap that exists as a barrier to the proper monitoring of the SDGs implementation. Hence, SDG Tracker has been designed and developed to create a data repository for monitoring the implementation of the SDGs and other national development goals.
While we are making sincere efforts to overcome these challenges, it is indeed essential that our development partners continue to provide us support in the areas critical for our development.
Water is a crucial element for development. The Prime Minister of Bangladesh Sheikh Hasina played an active role as a member of the High-Level Panel on Water and remains committed to follow up on the implementation of its recommendations. We urge the member states to take urgent actions on proper appraisal, management and investment in water.
The United Nations System continues to play a big role in the development of the countries like Bangladesh. We welcome the UN Development System Reform efforts and hope that in the implementation phase of the UNDS repositioning, the needs and priorities of the developing countries particularly the LDCs would be emphasized on.
Before I conclude, let me reitrate that my delegation expects the Second Committee to focus on in its deliberations the challenges before the full realization of the 2030 Agenda and the Addis Ababa Action Agenda. The member states must identify the factors that prevent progress in the means of implementation recognized in these Agendas including ODA, trade, FDI, domestic resource mobilization, technology transfer, and support for capacity building. The multilateral, rule-based trading system must be ensured. The South-South Cooperation as a complement to North-South Cooperation must be enhanced. Let me also highlight that tackling inequality and creating decent jobs in the wake of the 4th industrial revolution would be a big challenge. We need to find ways so that the jobs created by the new technologies can be availed and the benefits of the technological changes are shared broadly.
Bangladesh delegation will remain constructively engaged in the work of the Second Committee.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.