Remarks by Ambassador Rabab Fatima, Permanent Representative of Bangladesh at the Virtual Meeting of P4G to build back better and greener: A discussion on the role of partnerships in the green recovery and the road to COP26 on 16 June 2020

Excellencies, Distinguished Panellists, Dear Colleagues – good morning.

I am very pleased to join today’s discussion on this timely and topical subject, as now more than ever, we need to build upon and strengthen partnerships.

I thank the Permanent Missions of Denmark and the Republic of Korea for organizing today’s discussion on the role of partnerships at a time when we are strategizing our post-Covid recovery actions. I also commend the panellists for their insightful deliberations.

Industries played a fundamental role in the socio-economic progress of my country, and public-private partnership has been central to our development strategy. Therefore, we greatly value our association with the P4G initiative in its pursuit for sustainable development. From our experience of P4G initiatives in Bangladesh, we believe that there is tremendous potential for further expanding innovative partnership for sustainable development under the P4G model.

Mr. Chairman. Our trade like of many other countries has been badly affected by the COVID pandemic and its impacts are going to be long lasting on our economies, on our societies. We have lost huge amount of export orders and our workers are facing looming prospects of job loss. This will push back many people to poverty, which we had been successful in bringing down significantly over the past years. In this backdrop, we expect the private sector to demonstrate a more responsible as well as ethical business conduct. This is the time for greater solidarity.

Allow me to share our P4G experience, and then I wish to highlight for your consideration a few new areas, especially in the context of Covid response and recovery. I am happy to share presently, among other initiatives we have two impactful programmes underway, namely, the “Circular Fashion Agenda” and “Women’s Livelihood Bond Series”.

The Circular Fashion Agenda partnership aims to support those factories that significantly reduce waste and the depletion of natural resources and carbon dioxide emissions related to the production of textiles and footwear in Bangladesh. This has assumed renewed relevance in the Covid context. As you are aware, due to Covid-19, our factories have experienced serious crisis from overstock of raw materials and produced goods.  Initiatives such as circular fashion agenda would provide the scope not only to utilize these materials but also to form a long term strategy to be systematically applied so that if such an outbreak were to happen again factories would be better prepared to respond to this shock, and consequently jobs would be protected.

The Women’s Livelihood Bond Series is a market based innovative finance solution envisioned to mobilize capital for women’s empowerment.

These initiatives give us reason to believe that P4G can be an effective platform to harness the public as well as the private sectors to support the developing countries not only in their transition to environmentally and socially sustainable economies, but also in their post COVID recovery. In this context, in developing countries like mine, as we grapple with the pandemic challenges, investment and support in the areas of food security through funding agro-products marketing, storage and processing facilities, to reinforcing community based heath infrastructure to deal with health emergencies can be areas of future P4G projects.

I would like to underscore that the COVID recovery plans of the governments and businesses across the globe need to be comprehensive and encompass the pre-existing vulnerabilities of the countries, especially the ones posed by climate change phenomenon.

The impacts of climate change are jeopardizing our development gains and forcing more people into poverty. That’s why for Bangladesh and other developing countries, adaptation and resilience building are central to preparedness against shocks. Covid-19 is exacerbating climate vulnerabilities, and that is why we strongly believe that Covid-19 recovery would have to be framed with our response to climate crisis. Businesses must also recognize that climate risks are business risks.

While the governments of the developing countries are doing their part in addressing climate challenges, development cooperation must also play a catalytic role to translate their plans into reality. In this regard, I believe that P4G initiatives can complement the efforts of the governments to achieve resilience and accelerate transition to a low carbon economy in a time-bound manner.

I am happy to share today that Bangladesh has recently taken up the Presidency of the 48-member Climate Vulnerable Forum (CVF) and the Vulnerable Twenty (V20) Group of Ministers of Finance for the term 2020-2022. Last week we joined the Group of Friends of Adaptation and Resilience as its steering committee member. In all these platforms, Bangladesh will make efforts to mobilize initiatives particularly to integrate businesses in sustainable development.

Let me conclude by saying that in this pandemic situation, we see greater relevance of the P4G business models, which are premised on robust cooperation among different stakeholders, through availability of finance and technology. This can be an opportunity to support businesses in the most affected vulnerable countries to reconfigure their business strategies so that they can survive and sustain.

I thank you.