I warmly congratulate you and Members of the Bureau on your election to the First Committee. I am confident that under your able stewardship, we will have a productive session.
Bangladesh aligns itself with the statement delivered by Indonesia on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM). Allow me to share our national position.
Born out of the horrors of the Second World War, the UN envisioned a world free of nuclear weapons in its very first resolution. 76 years have since passed. Sadly, the promise of disarmament remains elusive. Our present and future generations continue to live under the constant fear of nuclear catastrophe. The international community must be united against the perpetual holding of nuclear weapons by a handful of states in total disregard of the safety and security of humanity.
Bangladesh’s commitment to general and complete disarmament is total and unwavering. It is our constitutional obligation and remains a fundamental tenet of our peace-centric foreign policy objectives. Guided by this principle, Bangladesh continues to remain at the forefront in assuming higher obligations under all major multilateral disarmament treaties.
Bangladesh expresses its deep concern over the current difficult and complex situation in the field of disarmament and international security. We believe that the ultimate guarantee of international peace and security lies in the total elimination of nuclear weapons. It was from that conviction we ratified the Treaty on Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW). We welcome the coming into force of the Treaty on 22 January 2021; and convening of its First Meeting of States Parties on 21-23 June 2022, which adopted a political declaration and an action plan. We would like to see as a matter of priority, its full implementation by all, including the Nuclear-Weapon-Possessing States.
We consider NPT as the cornerstone of the global nuclear non-proliferation regime and the fundamental foundation for the pursuit of nuclear disarmament. My delegation expresses deep disappointment over the consecutive failure of the 9th and the 10th NPT Review Conferences to adopt a consensual outcome document. We call upon the Nuclear Weapons States to demonstrate their genuine political will to enable the 11th NPT Review Conference to produce a meaningful, tangible and sustainable outcome to further strengthen the NPT regime.
We underline the importance and relevance of the UNDC, as the sole specialized and deliberative body within the UN multilateral disarmament machinery. We welcome the convening of substantive session of the UNDC in April 2022 and underscore our full support for the UNDC’s work, which must be intensified through reinvigorated political will to achieve meaningful outcomes to advance global disarmament and non-proliferation.
We reiterate our concerns over the protracted impasse in the Conference on Disarmament (CD) due to the lack of consensus on a programme of work over the past two decades. This situation must be addressed carefully and urgently.
Efforts must also be scaled up for the rapid entry into force of the CTBT and commencing negotiations in the Conference on Disarmament on Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty (FMCT).
Bangladesh recognizes the inalienable rights of all States to develop, research, produce, and use nuclear energy for peaceful purposes, including in power generation, healthcare and agriculture. We believe that such rights come with certain responsibilities. [And] On that premise, we are constructing the first nuclear power plant in Bangladesh, in Rooppur to support our development efforts. We are deeply conscious of our responsibilities and proceeding in line with the highest IAEA standards.
We reiterate our support to the Chemical Weapons Convention and underscore that there can be no impunity for the use of chemical weapons. Bangladesh believes in the importance of upholding the credibility and integrity of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW).
We also reaffirm our full support to the Biological Weapons Convention and look forward to working together with the international community to strengthen the Convention to face future challenges.
Bangladesh fully shares the concerns of the international community that the illicit transfer, accumulation and misuse of small arms and light weapons (SALW) poses serious threat to security and stability in the world. We have consistently supported the adoption of the Programme of Action on SALW and called for the speedy and effective implementation of the POA.
We welcome the successful convening of the Eighth Biennial Meeting of the States to Consider the Implementation of the Programme of Action to Prevent, Combat and Eradicate the Illicit Trade in SALW in all its aspects and its outcome document. We also welcome its decision to establish a standing dedicated fellowship training programme on SALW to strengthen technical knowledge and expertise in areas related to the implementation of the POA and the International Tracing Instrument, particularly in developing countries.
We also reaffirm our commitment to fulfill the obligations under the Certain Conventional Weapons Convention (CCW) and its Protocols, which we are party to.
The disarmament discourse continues to be redefined by rapid technological advancements, including artificial intelligence and biotechnology. ICT has brought immense benefits to our peoples. Yet, our increasing dependence on digital technologies, has created new vulnerabilities. Bangladesh strongly rejects the illegal or malicious use of ICTs that are inconsistent with the objectives of maintaining international peace and security. We call for multilateral efforts for safeguarding cyberspace from becoming an arena of conflict.
In this regard, we reiterate our commitment for the success of the OEWG on security of and in the use of ICT established by the GA resolution 75/240. We stress the importance of capacity building of member states and confidence building measures to enhance the stability and security of cyberspace.
Bangladesh emphasizes the inalienable right of all Member States to exploration and use of outer space exclusively for peaceful purposes. [And] from that conviction, we have become member of the Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (COPUOS) last year. We believe states, regardless of their level of capacity in space science research and technology, ought to be able to bring their perspectives and concerns when defining the future rules for the outer space. We reiterate our call to have a legally binding international instrument for preventing the weaponization of outer space.
The Covid-19 pandemic reminded us of the long-established truth, in a more glaring way perhaps, that stockpiles of weapons fail to save human lives. Investment in armament therefore, cannot guarantee peace and security. We remain deeply concerned at the rise in global military expenditure, sadly, that could otherwise be better used to protect our planet and people, guarantee peace, and prevent climate change.
Achieving the UN disarmament agenda requires strong political will and genuine commitment. It is time to show that we genuinely mean business by breaking deadlocks to start with, in our discourses. Only then can we show real progress in moving closer towards the goal of a peaceful and more secure world. Bangladesh stands ready to work together with the international community towards that goal. [And] I assure you, Mr. Chairman, of my delegation’s full support to you in all your efforts to make this a successful session.
I thank you.