Statement by Mr. Tareq Md. Ariful Islam, Deputy Permanent Representative of Bangladesh to the United Nations at the Plenary of the Second Committee of the 75th Session UN General Assembly under Agenda item 25(b) South-South Cooperation on 5 October 2020

Mr. Chairman,

I am delighted to see you in the chair, and we are confident of a productive session under your able stewardship.

Bangladesh aligns itself with the statements of the G-77 and the LDCs.  I wish to make a few additional points in my national capacity under the agenda item on South-South Cooperation.

We appreciate the report of the Secretary-General on the item and for its emphasis on COVID-19 recovery, and implementation of BAPA+40 outcome document. We also commend the office of the South-South Center for its latest publication on Good Practices in South-South and Triangular Cooperation for Sustainable Development. We are happy to see that several successful projects in Bangladesh have been included there. We wish to contribute further to peer-learning and knowledge-sharing, especially in the fight against COVID-19 pandemic.

Mr. Chairman,

We consider South-South and Triangular Cooperation as a vital driver of our development. In the BAPA+40 Conference, our Foreign Minister proposed to establish a forum of the Ministers of Development or Finance and of Foreign Affairs of the South, to take forward our collaborative work. He also announced setting up a “South-South Knowledge and Innovation Centre” in Dhaka. The center will aim to co-create solutions to address the pressing challenges of the South. And that includes technology transformation, reaping the benefits of 4IR, sharing innovative practices, leveraging STI, and SDGs implementation.

Mr. Chairman,

The COVID-19 pandemic has put us on a crossroad. Its fallout has jeopardized decades of our hard-earned development gains and implementation of Agenda 2030. Yet, amid the tumult and turbulence of the pandemic, some rare opportunities have emerged in certain areas such as trade and investment, regional integration and digital inclusion. In this regard, South-South Cooperation can contribute to the exchange of innovations and expanding partnerships among countries and UN entities. Alongside that, we must step up our efforts with clear focus on areas that are severely impacted by Covid-19 such as health, education, decent jobs, agriculture, and climate vulnerabilities. The BAPA+40 outcome document can be an important guide in this journey.

Let me share a few specific thoughts in this regard:

First, to defeat COVID-19 and build back better, we need to ensure universal health coverage and access to vaccine. The South-South and Triangular Partnership can be one of the most effective ways for creating stronger global partnership towards quality, affordable, and accessible UHC and vaccines.

Second, the COVID-19 pandemic has once again revealed the stark economic disparities between the global North and the South. The voices of the South in defining the course of actions to finance the recovery efforts remain far from equal. We must forge stronger collaboration among the developing countries to close this gap including through the new generation financial institutions, enhanced trade and investment, financial and technological inclusions etc.

Third, the COVID-19 pandemic has had a drastic impact on the export earnings of the countries in the South due to reduced price, falling demand, and supply chain disruptions. We need a multipronged approach to revive the trade and investment situations in countries in the South. And this can be achieved by promoting south-south value chains for economic growth and enhanced regional trade and development initiatives.

Finally, we must leverage South-South and Triangular Cooperation to bridge the digital divide and ensure universal access to remote learning and digital health services to alleviate the fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic in education and health sectors.

I thank you.