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 discussion of the issues vital for the development of our countries. I would also like to express our appreciation for H.E. Mr. Jorge Skinner-Klee Arenales, Permanent Representative of Guatemala and Chair of the Second Committee for the 73rd UNGA for his excellent leadership.
My delegation aligns itself with the statements delivered by the State of Palestine, as the Chair of the G77, and Malawi, as the Chair of LDCs.
The success of the 2030 Agenda would depend on how effectively we have been able to forge strong partnership through multilateral efforts. The vision to transform the world and create quality would remain elusive if we fail to contain increasing threats to multilateralism, protectionism in rich countries, and sustained decline in global partnerships for development. When the world is grappling with so many developmental challenges, this Committee has a great responsibility to look into these challenges and reflect them realistically in the resolutions it adopts.
The Government of Bangladesh recognizes that ‘development for all’ must be the motto to create a prosperous country which was envisioned by our Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. 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 have put Bangladesh on a solid social and economic foundation.
Poverty eradication, sustainable growth, protection of the environment and human-resources development are some of the key features of our development strategy. Our exports grew 3 times from 2005-06 to reach US$ 37 billion in 2017-18. Per capita income grew 3.5 times. Our GDP growth has now reached 8.13%. Between 2005-06 and 2018-19, our investment rose from 26% to 31.5% of GDP; and private sector investment grew five times to US$ 70.8 billion.
Bangladesh has achieved one of the fastest poverty reduction rates in the world with 21.4% poverty rate in 2018, and 11.3% extreme poverty. It has been ranked 34th in World Economic Forum’s Inclusive Development Index.
A key development strategy in Bangladesh has been addressing inequality through social safety net system, decent work and financial inclusion of the vulnerable groups in the form of cash, food, asset, wage-employment, training, savings and community support. These programmes are now covering nearly a quarter of the population and accounting for 2.58% of our GDP. Moreover, 1.645 million people with such disabilities and needs are receiving allowances from the government.
Having achieved the milestones of gender parity and cent percent enrollment, we are now focusing on enhancing the quality of education with emphasis on e-learning, and qualified teachers. Our school drop-out rate has gone down from 50% to 18%. Since 2010, we have been distributing textbooks for all students up to Grade 10. 2.3 million students in primary and higher studies were awarded scholarships while 12.3 million mothers are receiving stipends through mobile phone.
We have created an extensive network of 18,000 community clinics and Union Health Centers to bring the entire population under health coverage. Maternal, infant and child mortalities, malnutrition, stunting, low weight, all have been consistently going down due to these actions.
We are investing in human capital through equal access to technology. This is also an effort to offset the negative impacts of emerging technologies such as 4IR on our job market. Country-wide 5800 digital centers are taking 600 e-public services to people’s doorsteps. Bangabandhu Satellite-1, which we launched last year has eased the expansion of broadcast-based services in remote areas and improved communications for development.
We are building our first ever nuclear power plant in Rooppur leveraging on the principle of peaceful use of nuclear energy. 93% of our population has already been brought under electricity coverage. Bangladesh is now the second largest user of solar home system in the world.
‘Blue Economy’ is our new frontier of opportunities and to harness its potential in the Bay of Bengal we have developed a policy and a Plan of Action.
To tackle climate change impacts on our economy and people, we have adopted transformative and innovative climate resilient technology and crops for reducing disaster risks.
Last year Bangladesh qualified for graduation from the LDC category for the first time. 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 skilled manpower and creating a technology-driven society to become a Middle-Income Country by 2021 and a developed country by 2041.
Bangladesh continues to host 1.1 million Rohingyas from Myanmar whose presence has been negatively impacting our social and economic condition as well as our environment. This crisis must be resolved so that we can carry forward our developmental progress.
Before I conclude, I reiterate that stronger global partnership must be forged to address challenges that hinder development. A serious and focused discussion in the Second Committee may deliver some way forward in this regard.
The developing countries must be provided more support through, inter alia, ODA, trade, FDI, and technology transfer. Also, we must be able to fully harness the potential of the South-South Cooperation as a complement to North-South Cooperation.
My delegation will constructively engage in the deliberations of the Second Committee.