I thank you, Mr. President.
I thank Ms. Kanni Wignaraja, Director of the Regional Bureau of UNDP for Asia and the Pacific for presenting the Country Programme Document (CPD) for Bangladesh for 2022-2026.
Bangladesh and UNDP share a remarkable development journey together since 1972. UNDP is one of our most trusted partners in many critical areas. We have benefited from UNDP’s expertise and support for pursuing a transformative agenda in the fight against poverty and inequality, climate change, women empowerment, etc.
The new programme comes at a time when we are still grappling with the COVID-19 pandemic. It has amplified our development challenges and vulnerabilities. We need to overcome the challenges and ensure a rapid and inclusive recovery from the pandemic.
We are happy that the new CPD has aligned itself well with the development aspirations and priorities of our 8th Five Year Plan. And it has defined “results and resources framework for achieving the SDGs. The success of the Programme, however, largely depends on its effective and efficient implementation.
Let me share a few specific points in this regard:
First, Bangladesh is poised to graduate from the LDC category in 2026. The new CPD implemetation cycle coincides with our graduation. As such, it has identified some concrete policy options to make our graduation sustainable and irrversible.
Going forward, it will be of paramount importance to translate these policy options into concrete actions and deliverables. And we wish to work with UNDP to tailor those in a way to complement our national smooth transition strategy. And I was happy to note ASG Wignaraja’s assurance in this regard.
Second, the Covid-19 pandemic has proved to be a threat-multiplier for climate vulnerable countries like us. It has put a sharp spotlight on the nexus between climate change and other development challenges -from disaster risk reduction to health; from women empowerment to social protection.
Against this backdrop, we have siginificantly enhanced our focus on climate change in our 8th FYP; the current budget cycle; and our recovery efforts from the pandemic. We appreciate that the CPD aligns quite well with this urgency and priorities.
Third, the current CPD has set ambitious goals to reduce poverty and inequality within our socity. The pandemic has, however, posed formidable challenges to achieve these goals.
We have seen how the vaccines divide have further exacerbated the pre-existing poverty and inequalities both within and across our societies. To overcome this situation, we need to tailor adequate and coordinated responses. The UNDP with its role of “SDGs aggregators” can play an important role both at country and global levels to ensure vaccines equality for all. We need to expore the CPDs of other agencies to define common elements and joint efforts in this regard.
Fourth, the pandemic has revealed how our investment in “Digital Bangladesh” has paid us rich dividend during this global crisis. Amid the pandemic, we have seen a surge in e-commerce, e-governance, e-health, and e-education services.
The CPD has put digitization as a strategic priority to spur innovation and entrepreneurship for governance, public service delivery and reaching those who are the furthest behind. We have an encouraging track record of digital journey with the UNDP. We wish to forge this partnership further in the current CPD cycle.
Fifth, Bangladesh’s success story in closing the gender gap in all spheres of our life is well-acknowledged. This has led to a transformative change in our socio-economic landscape. And this is now helping us the most in our efforts to build resilience against shocks.
Given the cross-cutting nature of the issue, the CPD has placed gender issues high on its agenda. We wish to work with UNDP to make further progress in our common pursuit to harness women’s role as change makers in our society.
Finally, we appreciate the synergies between the two processes of the UNDP CPD and UNSDCF in line with the spirit of the UNDS reform, as well as its built-in monitoring and evaluation system.
I call upon the Board to support the adoption of the document, which we consider to be an important one during this critical time of our recovery journey from the pandemic.
I thank you, Madame President.