I thank you, Mr. President.
I also thank Mr. Björn Andersson, Director of the Regional Bureau of UNFPA for Asia and the Pacific for presenting the Country Programme Document (CPD) for Bangladesh for 2022-2026.
I thank UNFPA for undertaking extensive consultations in developing the CPD. The document reflects the excellent collaboration that exists between the UNFPA country team and the concerned authorities of the government. We thank the UNFPA for this collaboration and hope that this would continue during the implementation stage as well.
Bangladesh enjoys a long-standing relationship with UNFPA dating back to 1974. Many of our signature achievements especially in the field of birth control, maternal health, and reduction in child mortality are results of our effective partnership with UNFPA.
We acknowledge UNFPA’s efforts to ensure that the CPD is aligned with the nationally determined priorities. It has taken note of the shortfalls and challenges of the previous programme documents and on that basis has provided newer insights for the current document.
The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has posed serious challenges in sustaining the progress that were achieved over the decades. The pandemic has particularly hurt the poorer sections of the society and reduced their capacity to seek basic health and reproductive services. Due to the ongoing challenges, fewer women are accessing health care services, such as the services of professional midwives. Unmet demand for the family planning services is also on the rise.
We are concerned at the possibility of a regression in certain areas, such as, maternal and child mortality, gender-based violence, and school dropouts. In Bangladesh, climatic conditions also act as a threat multiplier.
We hope that the current CPD would enable UNFPA to provide additional support to Bangladesh in tackling these challenges.
The success of the CPD, however, largely depends on its effective and efficient implementation.
Allow me to share a few specific points in this regard:
First and foremost: we must ensure that the CPD is supported by adequate resources. We call upon the development partners to support UNFPA and other implementing partners in fulfilling the objectives that have been set out in the CPD.
Second: partnership at all levels will play a key role in achieving the programme results. We encourage UNFPA to forge partnerships at all levels and with all relevant stakeholders to reach those most in need of services.
Third: continued investment in the capacity building of national stakeholders – especially the government health service providers is critical in ensuring sustainability of the progress made. We urge our partners to help us to strengthen our national service providers, especially in the rural areas.
Fourth: the importance of effective coordination with other partners including among various UN agencies with overlapping mandates cannot be overemphasized. We must ensure that in line with the spirit of the reform of the UNDS, there will be coordinated and coherent implementation of the CPD with other relevant UN agencies, at the national level. A solid monitoring and evaluation system is also critically important.
Finally, Bangladesh is a strong promoter of effective youth engagement in all sectors of national development. We expect the UNFPA to contribute to this process, to support our national policies, strategies and aspirations targeting the youth and adolescents.
To conclude, I would like to express our appreciation to all stakeholders involved in the preparation of the new country programme.
I call upon the Board to support the adoption of the document, which we consider to be of utmost importance during this critical time of our recovery journey from the pandemic. I reiterate our commitment and full support in the effective implementation of this CPD.
I thank you, Mr. President.