Statement by H.E. Ambassador Ms. Rabab Fatima, Permanent Representative of Bangladesh to the United Nations in New York at the 2nd Regular Session of the Executive Board of UNDP, UNFPA and UNOPS- Interactive dialogue with UNDP Administrator (New York, 3 September)

I thank you, Mr. President; and I congratulate you on your excellent stewardship of the Board.

Mr. Steiner, I thank you for your excellent overview on UNDP’s response to the impact of Covid-19. I pay my tribute to all frontline UNDP staff and the entire UNDP team under your leadership, for their dedicated service during this crisis.

UNDP has an important role to play in supporting national response and recovery efforts.  UNDP’s role is now more important than ever before.

In Bangladesh, we are continuing to enforce pandemic protocols and measures to maintain the health and safety of our people while ensuring limited business continuity to ensure their livelihood. You mentioned about the research commissioned by UNDP, which suggests that providing guaranteed temporary basic income/TBI to the poorest people could slow the surge of Covid-19 by enabling them to stay home.

That was what Bangladesh did, in the early stage of the pandemic, by rolling out timely economic stimulus measures and social protection schemes of 12.13 billion dollars. This early intervention resulted in containing the spread of Covid-19 in Bangladesh.

If the pandemic is to continue, it would take its toll on the economy across all sectors, especially in the informal sector where a large segment of the population is concentrated. The economic downturn globally is also affecting us as exports and remittance earnings continue to fall.

Mr Steiner,

  • We would like to know whether UNDP has any plans to scale up programs to ensure TBI, by arranging funding through MFI’s and other sources for the poorest segment of the population in the developing countries.
  • Secondly, digital disruption and exclusion are stark realities that stand in the way of SDG implementation, and more profoundly felt in the pandemic situation. If you can share specific programmes by UNDP to address these gaps in the developing countries.
  • And finally, if you could share your thoughts on measures by UNDP for the climate vulnerable countries, where the situation has been compounded by the pandemic.

I thank you, Mr. President, and we look forward to our continued good collaboration with UNDP.