I thank the Secretary General for his comprehensive briefing on his priorities, which we fully endorse. We share his concerns regarding the pandemic’s impact on the Organization’s work and priorities, especially in the areas of peace and security, climate action, economic disruption, response to humanitarian crises, and upholding international law.
We thank him for his leadership in ensuring that the UN remains operational, despite the enormous challenge the pandemic has imposed on its work.
We fully share the SG’s views that the international community must come together to address the consequences of Covid-19 in an efficient, effective, and coordinated manner. The pandemic has shown us the imperativeness and importance of building partnership and solidarity as we endeavor to build back from this crisis.
In this regard, I commend the UN system and the staff globally, including of the funds and programmes, who have done a remarkable job on the frontline of the pandemic [with courage and dedication] to ensure that essential services and programmes continue unhindered to those most in need. The UN was indeed able to show its relevance on the ground, where it matters the most. [Thank you, Secretary General, for your leadership.]
Allow me to highlight briefly some of our priorities.
Firstly: We add our voice to the growing call, that for effective Covid-19 response and recovery, vaccines must be made available to all as a matter of priority. In order to overcome the impending ‘vaccine divide’, within and among nations, the UN needs to take the lead in ensuring equitable, safe, and affordable global access to the vaccines. We must ensure that the urgency and resources that have marked the development and roll-out of Covid-19 vaccines are matched by the same urgency in distributing them fairly to the most vulnerable people and nations.
Secondly: We commend the Secretary-General for his call on leaders of the world to declare a state of climate emergency until carbon neutrality is reached. In that spirit, the Bangladesh parliament declared a “Planetary Emergency” and called on the world to work “on a war-footing’’ to stop climate change. As a climate vulnerable country and the current chair of the 48-member Climate Vulnerable Forum (CVF), we wish to see that all climate discourses give special attention to vulnerable groups such as the LDCs and the SIDS, which are on the frontline of climate vulnerabilities. We have a lot of expectations of COP-26. And we are encouraged to see the SG’s efforts to rally support for ambitious climate targets in the lead up to Glasgow, as well as his urgent call to meet climate finance commitments, which remains woefully short.
Third: The pandemic has seriously put at risk the goal of achieving the SDG’s and implementing the 2030 Agenda. It has compounded existing vulnerabilities of the LDCs and SIDS, imperiling their hard-earned development gains. We need urgent and decisive actions to mitigate the impact of the pandemic and to recover.
This year, a record number of LDCs are poised to graduate. However, the graduating countries have growing concerns that graduation may doubly jeopardize their development journey, both by the Covid-19 consequences and the loss of LDC-specific support measures. To overcome this situation, we need bold and innovative solutions. It is imperative to support an incentives-based graduation pathway for LDCs with time-bound support measures for graduating and graduated countries. The success of a country should bring rewards, not penalties.
Fourthly: The pandemic has revealed the stark digital divides both within and across societies. Millions of children, especially in the developing countries, were left out of school due to lack of internet connectivity. It is vital to build effective partnership for harnessing digital technology and STI, to ensure a better future for our future generations, especially in the developing world. We commend the Secretary General for launching the Roadmap for Digital Cooperation amid this crisis and placing this high on the UN Agenda.
Fifth: We take note of the reforms made in the UN’s peace and security architecture, especially in the areas of peacekeeping, as well as stronger focus on the WPS and YPS agenda. Last year, we saw the review of the UN peace-building architecture which is expected to strengthen the Organization’s role in preventing conflict while building and sustaining peace. As the leading TPCC, Bangladesh actively engaged in that review process.
The pandemic has however, added new challenges in the UN’s efforts towards peace-building and sustaining peace. Despite the SG’s very timely ceasefire call, conflicts continue, with devastating impacts on the civilians. Our peacekeepers and other frontline workers continue to suffer from the consequences of protracted conflicts. The call for ceasefire must remain an enduring process. Further, to ensure safety and security of peacekeepers during future pandemics or other such emergency situations, we must ensure that necessary preparedness is embedded in the peacekeeping mandates.
In keeping with our commitment to the WPS agenda, we repose high importance to the substantive implementation of this agenda through integrated actions at the field levels, including more active engagement of the UNCTs, and by supporting Member States to develop and implement National Action Plans.
Sixth: We need to see more decisive actions towards durable and sustainable solutions of protracted situations emanating from conflicts, especially those which lead to population displacement. Such situations can potentially lead to further destabilization with serious political, security and humanitarian consequences. My country has been hosting over a million Rohingya from Myanmar for over three years now with no progress in sight. We call upon the SG to mobilize greater attention to this and other complex situations, with the urgency that is required.
Finally: We welcome the reform measures taken by the Secretary-General to make the organization more accountable and fit for purpose. There was strong support for the repositioning of the UN development system through the QCPR review process.
In this regard, we commend the SG’s commitment to gender equality and for his efforts to bring about gender parity in the UN staffing. We believe however, that full equality cannot be achieved unless there is diversity. We wish to see alongside gender parity, greater diversity and inclusiveness reflecting balanced regional representation of UN staff at all levels. I call upon the SG to address this gap to ensure that there is balanced representation from all regions.
I wish to conclude by reassuring the SG that he can count on Bangladesh’s continued support for delivering on our shared priorities and commitments.
I thank you, Mr. President.