Statement by H.E. Masud Bin Momen, Permanent Representative of Bangladesh to the United Nations under Cluster-3 segment of the Preparatory Committee Meeting for the 2020 Review Conference of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons
Date: 07 May 2019 Venue: TCC, UNHQ, New York
Bangladesh aligns itself with the Statement delivered by Indonesia on behalf of NAM and the relevant working papers submitted by NAM.
Atoms hold unimaginable sources of power—a power so great that it has the potential to destroy the whole world and human civilization. But this power can also bring great benefits to mankind, contribute to peace, and help us attain our sustainable development goals. Yet, between the bane and the boons, unfortunately, we have so far invested more on atom’s destructive capacity than on its peace and development potentials. We must reverse this situation and encourage further research and innovation to unlock the full potentials of atomic knowledge for the benefits of mankind.
Our Father of the Nation, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman in his Statement at the UN General Assembly in 1974 said, “Peace to sustain must be peace based upon justice”. It is with this conviction, Bangladesh strongly supports the inalienable rights of all state parties to the NPT to develop, research, production and use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes without discrimination in accordance with Article IV of the Treaty. During NPT’s grand bargain fifty years back, the nuclear-weapon states promised to pursue disarmament and facilitate peaceful uses of nuclear energy in return for non-proliferation commitments from the non-nuclear weapon states. Unfortunately, however, the developments of the three NPT pillars have never been balanced. The non-nuclear weapon states have been demonstrating great success in fulfilling their commitments, but the other side is lagging to match.
We recognize that the right to the peaceful uses of nuclear energy and technology comes with the responsibility to ensure nuclear safety and security. The IAEA has a unique role in this regard. On one hand, it has a central role in ensuring nuclear safety and security globally. On the other hand, with its mandate of Atoms for Peace and Development, it is helping member States building capacities through its technical cooperation program.
Honourable Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina envisions transforming Bangladesh into a middle-income country by 2021 and a developed country by 2041. In this journey forward, we greatly value our partnership with IAEA. We concluded the IAEA Safeguard Agreement in 1982 and its Additional Protocol in 2001. Last year, we signed our Country Programme Framework for 2018-2023 with the Agency, which focuses on food and agriculture, water, soil & environment, human health, nuclear power, nuclear and radiation safety & security, nuclear knowledge development, and industrial applications etc. Our Technical Cooperation (TC) projects on improving food safety, stress-tolerant crop varieties, and cancer management have proved immensely beneficial to the lives and livelihoods of our people. The Agency is also supporting us on our way to introducing nuclear energy as a safe, environmentally friendly and economically viable source of electricity generation through the construction of our first nuclear power plant. We are working closely on upgrading legislative and regulatory framework as well as nuclear safety & security infrastructure. Bangladesh Parliament passed the “Bangladesh Atomic Energy Commission Bill, 2017” to give renewed impetus to our endeavours in this field in conformity with international standards.
The NPT is our collective hope to reap the full benefits of nuclear knowledge. We must make sure that the dark side of atomic energy cannot overshadow the bright and promising side of it. To that end, my delegation has five specific points to make for adequate reflections in the 2020 RevCon:
First, there are external and internal linkages of almost all the sustainable development goals with the peaceful uses of nuclear energy. Indeed, the applications of nuclear science and technology have immense potentials to fulfill our socio-economic and development needs. We need to work together in a more innovative way to further contributing to the achievements of sustainable development goals through peaceful uses of nuclear energy.
Second, we highly value IAEA’s works on nuclear science and technology and the delivery of relevant applications to the Member States through its Technical Cooperation Programme (TCs). We reiterate the importance of fulfilling our commitments under Action 54 of the outcome document of the 2010 NPT RevCon to “make every effort and to take practical steps to ensure that IAEA resources for technical cooperation activities are sufficient, assured and predictable”.
Third, SG’s Disarmament Agenda encouraged responsible innovation of science and technology for promoting peaceful uses of nuclear energy. Essentially, we subscribe to this notion of responsible investment in nuclear knowledge and technology, and its dissemination. We must be careful that our own innovation does not become a cause to our own peril.
Fourth, recalling the call of the UN Charter for “the least diversion for armaments of the world’s human and economic resources” and keeping up with the spirit of the consensus GA flagship resolution on Disarmament and Development, we encourage all to explore ways and means “to make greater efforts to integrate disarmament, humanitarian and development activities”.
Fifth, we cannot overemphasize the importance of bridging the capacity gaps in educational and scientific fields among the member states in nuclear science and technology. We need to invest more on education and research, encourage the exchange of faculties, researchers, and students, and create platforms for sharing best practices for innovations in nuclear fields including in the area of ensuring nuclear safety and security.
Thank you all