Statement by H. E. Ms. Rabab Fatima, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Bangladesh to the United Nations at the Joint Consideration of the Second Committee of the 75thSession of the United Nations General Assembly on Agenda item 24: Eradication of Poverty and other development issues on 13 October 2020

Mr. Chair,

 I thank you for giving me the floor.

Bangladesh aligns itself with the statements delivered by the Chair of the G-77. I thank the Secretary General for his reports under this agenda item.

 Mr. Chair,

‘Eradicating poverty in all its forms everywhere’ is an overarching goal for Agenda-2030. Yet the global efforts for poverty reduction had always been on a slow track. And now, the Covid-19 pandemic has compounded the poverty situation globally. The SG’s report predicts an alarming increase of 71 million people in extreme poverty category in 2020.

Bangladesh succeeded in achieving significant progress in reducing poverty, which is now about 20.2%; and extreme poverty is down to 10.5%.  My Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina launched a long-term perspective plan to transform Bangladesh into a high-income country by 2041. And that aims to reduce poverty to 2.59% and extreme poverty to 0.68%. We have adopted a multi-pronged approach to address poverty and inequality in the society.

Women empowerment remains central in our efforts in this regard.  We have extensive social safety net programs, decent work, and financial inclusion programmes for the vulnerable groups.  And these strategies are now helping our COVID-19 response programmes for the most vulnerable.

However, we are concerned that the impact of the pandemic, particularly the downturn in commodity prices, global trade and FDI, travel, and remittances flow are going to slow down our progress. We need a new paradigm for collaboration in poverty eradication. Bangladesh joined the UN “Alliance for Poverty Eradication” as a founding member aimed at galvanizing UN member states, international organizations, and other stakeholders to support actions geared towards poverty eradication in the era of COVID-19 and beyond.  A sustainable recovery path that would complement our efforts to eradicate poverty in a holistic manner is the call of the day.

Let me make a few specific points in this regard:

First, for creating a poverty-free world, mobilizing adequate resources and financing is critical. In Bangladesh, we need an additional amount of US$ 39.4 billion to eliminate extreme poverty by 2030. It is imperative to revitalize our external sources of financing including export earnings, remittances, ODA, and private financing to ensure a high momentum on our poverty eradication journey. Our development partners must come forward with targeted support to revive these sources of financing, especially now to build back better from the crisis.

Second, poverty is a multidimensional phenomenon premised on a whole of society approach.  We have launched a national Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI). MPI indicators would serve as key predictors to identify populations at risk of Covid-19 impacts and shocks.

Third, our graduation progress which was on track, confronts major challenges due to the pandemic.  It is important that our development partners continue the existing special and differential treatment and exemptions available to us for an extended period to prevent any possible slide back in line with GA resolutions 59/209 and 67/221.

Fourth, as one of the most climate vulnerable countries in the world, the pandemic is proving to be a crisis within a crisis for us. We call upon our development partners, and the private sector to provide additional climate financing and technological support to our national efforts to help the poor and the most vulnerable from this dual challenge.

Fifth, the pandemic has posed serious challenges to the lives and livelihoods of our migrants abroad. And it may push many migrant families into poverty. We need international support to address the migrant crisis and the multiplier impacts of falling remittances and return of migrant workers.

Finally, we must close the stark digital divide to leverage (science, technology and innovation) STI and 4IR to alleviate poverty. And for that we need to foster productive capacity building and financial inclusion of the developing countries, and help to integrate the poor and less privileged into the evolving digital economy.

I thank you.