Dear Friends and Colleagues,
Happy New Year 2022!
We begin yet another year amid the unprecedented challenges and uncertainties of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Despite many constraints, we had an eventful and productive year. In 2021, we celebrated two landmark occasions – the 50th anniversary of our birth as a nation, and the birth centenary of our Father of the Nation, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. We organized a host of events to celebrate these two historic occasions with the participation of our friends and partners. As we paid tribute to our Founding Father, we did so with a renewed sense of commitment to fulfill his vision of a “Shonar Bangla”, to transform Bangladesh into a prosperous and progressive nation.
The Hon’ble Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina visited New York from 18-25 September 2021 to participate in the 76th UN General Assembly. This was her first foreign visit after almost two years due to the COVID-19 pandemic. She addressed the UN General Assembly on 24 September 2021, her 17th address to the UNGA general debate. She also participated in a host of other events, and held bilateral meetings with her counterparts.
As a tribute to the life and work of Bangabandhu on his birth centenary, the Hon’ble Prime Minister inaugurated a bench and a tree at the United Nations premises (North Lawn), the first such dedication to any political leader in the UN grounds. They stand as a symbol of Bangladesh’s strong commitment to peace and to multilateralism, and as our tribute to Bangabandhu, whose doctrine of peace and commitment to the United Nations forms the foundation of our foreign policy.
During the visit, the Hon’ble Prime Minister received the “SDGs Progress Award” from the UN Sustainable Development Solution’s Network (SDSN) for Bangladesh’s extraordinary success in achieving the sustainable development goals.
This year was also significant as we embarked on a new journey in our development trajectory. In 2009, Hon’ble Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina had envisioned transforming Bangladesh into a middle-income country by 2021. This vision was realized this year with the adoption of the historic resolution on ‘Graduation of Bangladesh from the LDC category’ by the UN General Assembly.
We wish to now dedicate ourselves in realizing her next vision, which is to transform Bangladesh into a developed country by 2041. My team and I, remain committed to play our part in achieving that goal. That is our resolution for 2022 and beyond.
In 2021, Bangladesh maintained its lead as the top troop and police contributing country in UN peacekeeping, with over 6500 of our troops deployed in 9 UN missions. Our contingents are playing an important role in promoting UN’s peacekeeping mandate globally, and have earned accolades for their professional and dedicated services.
Bangladesh steered the process for the 22nd year in a row, of the consensus adoption of our flagship resolution on the “Culture of Peace”. I also had the honour and privilege to introduce the first ever resolutions on “Global Drowning Prevention” and “Vision for Everyone” in the UN General Assembly, and both were adopted by the overwhelming support of the entire membership. We also steered the consensus adoption of another flagship resolution of Bangladesh on the “National plant fibers and their sustainable use”.
Besides, the Bangladesh delegation remained active on a range of other issues of priority to us, such as peacebuilding, humanitarian operations, climate change, migrants’ rights, women’s advancement and gender equality, poverty and inequality, etc. We also remained active on access to vaccines and technology debates to ensure vaccines equity for all.
Bangladesh continued to keep the situation of the Rohingya crisis high on the UN’s agenda. A number of high-level seminars and dialogues were held on the subject. This year, for the first time since it was tabled in 2017, the annual resolution on the “Situation of Rohingya and other minorities in Myanmar” was adopted by consensus by the UNGA.
As we begin the New Year, we wish to build on the lessons learned from our experiences in 2021. As the Permanent Representative of Bangladesh, I had the honor to co-chair the preparatory process of the LDC5 Conference, which culminated in the conclusion of the draft Programme of Action for the Least Developed Countries for the next decade. I also served as the Vice-President of the UNDP/UNFPA/UNOPS Executive Board, which provided strategic guidance to these frontline UN agencies. I am also currently serving as a Vice-President of the 76th UN General Assembly. We expect to take on more leadership roles in important UN bodies and processes this year as well, and contribute to global efforts for “building back better” and more resilient from the COVID-19 pandemic.
We look forward to remaining engaged and expanding our outreach with other partners and stakeholders in the coming year.
I wish all our friends and partners, and fellow Bangladeshis, a Happy New Year 2022, and wish you all continued peace, solidarity and prosperity.