Bismillahir Rahmanir Rahim
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Assalamu Alaikum, and a very good morning to you all.
I thank the Presidents of Costa Rica, Sierra Leone, Spain, and the Prime Minister of Sweden for inviting me to this high-level event. I appreciate its focus on the UN Common Agenda to achieve equality and inclusion.
- The Secretary General’s report on “Our Common Agenda” provides an alarming picture of the growing inequality across the world. The COVID-19 pandemic has hit the poorest and the most vulnerable countries the hardest. Our decades of development gains on reducing poverty, inequality and exclusion are rapidly sliding back.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
- The Constitution of Bangladesh guarantees “equality of opportunity to all citizens”. Our Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman in his maiden speech at the UNGA in 1974 said, I quote, “there is an international responsibility….to ensuring to everyone the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and his family.” Unquote. This vision is more relevant now than ever before.
- In keeping with this very spirit, we have adopted a ‘whole of society’ approach in realising the SDGs and ensuring a COVID recovery that will “leave no one behind”. We have placed the most vulnerable section of our society at the centre of our efforts. And that include women, the ultra-poor, ethnic minorities, people with disabilities and other vulnerable groups.
- No single country can tackle this crisis alone. We need bold and concrete actions at the global level. We need multilateral cooperation to fulfill our promises of UN75 declaration to build a more equal and inclusive world. Let me highlight a few specific points in this regard:
First, the most urgent call of the hour is to eliminate “vaccines divides” between the rich and the poor;
Second, we need a new paradigm that will address inequality in a holistic manner. It has deep relations with the SDGs, such as, poverty, hunger, gender equality, health, education, and job creation;
Third, we must address the special financing needs of the most vulnerable countries, which include LDCs, climate vulnerable countries, etc.;
Fourth, it is imperative to address the vulnerabilities of migrants and people on the move;
Fifth, we need to bridge the stark “digital divides” to ensure equal opportunities for all in this evolving digital age;
Finally, we must create more opportunities for women and girls to act as real “change makers” in our societies.
I thank you all.