My delegation takes note of the General Assembly’s resolution A/73/209 to continue debate on this important agenda item under the Sixth Committee.
Due to geographic location and climate change, Bangladesh is one of the highly disaster-prone countries. Climate change and natural disasters are among the biggest challenges to our hard-earned development gain.
Yet, Bangladesh has achieved remarkable progress in disaster preparedness in particular protecting its people in the event of disasters. This has been possible due to our bold and pragmatic policy instruments and well-established national institutional structures.
The National Plan for Disaster Management 2016-2020, crafted in line with the UN Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030, has been guiding our efforts in this regard.
Thousands of cyclone shelters and flood shelters built across the country constitute our disaster preparedness infrastructure, 56 thousand volunteers are available to facilitate preparation prior to any cyclone.
The Government successfully evacuated around 2 million people to cyclone centres well before the cyclone Amphan which recently hit our coastal districts. Highly effective early warning system, efficient preparedness, community-based response along with a multi-stakeholder involvement significantly reduced the cyclone’s impact.
Across the globe, natural disasters are increasing in frequencies devastating the lives of almost two billion people every year. It is, therefore, important to have a globally accepted legal protection regime to save people from disasters. ILC’s recommendation for the elaboration of an international convention based on the draft articles is an important step in that direction. Such a convention should facilitate an effective and timely response to disasters, disaster risk reduction, and promote the rights and dignity of the affected people as well as address their need for assistance. It can also help achieve SDG 13 which calls for strengthening of resilience and adaptive capacity in responding to climate related hazards and natural disasters. Such a convention would have to be in sync with and bring synergies to the existing related legal frameworks.
The articles drafted by ILC by and large cover the essential dimensions and elements of cooperation for the protection of person in the event of disasters. However, there is scope for improvement and in this regard, I wish to make the following three points:
First, particular attention may be given to the need of the most vulnerable section of the society including children, women and disable people.
Second, protection should be given not only before and during the disaster but also after as people continue to struggle in the wake of the disaster losing homes and properties.
Third, there should be a clearer definition of disaster in the convention as disasters include both natural and man-made disasters and they are subject to completely different legal frameworks.
My delegation takes careful note of the views of other delegations. We reiterate our suggestion to further build on the ILC’s work and sustain efforts to address the outstanding issues.
We would remain constructively engaged in the process for a productive outcome.
I thank you.