Bangladesh aligns itself with the statement made by Pakistan on behalf of G77 & China.
At the heart of the 2030 agenda for sustainable development is the right to development for all. It enshrines a bold and transformative vision to ‘leave no one behind.’
Even before the adoption of the 2030 agenda in 2015, the world leaders committed in the UN Millennium Declaration ‘to making the right to development a reality for everyone and to freeing the entire human race from want.’
Unfortunately, over half a century of occupation and appropriation of land and resources has impoverished the Palestinian people and, crucially, denied them the right to development, a recent UNCTAD study has concluded.
Secretary General’s 2022 report on the agenda item under consideration has elaborately detailed how persistent Israeli practices and policies, often in violation of international humanitarian law and international human rights law, have affected the social and economic conditions in Palestine and caused enduring harm to the development and welfare of the Palestinian people.
The General Assembly, in its resolution 76/225, and through resolutions of the preceding years, demanded that Israel, the occupying Power, cease the exploitation, damage, cause of loss or depletion and endangerment of natural resources in the occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and in the occupied Syrian Golan.
Sadly, the objectives of these resolutions have not been achieved as the occupation and blockade of Gaza continues, and so do the killing and senseless hostilities against the Palestinian people.
In Palestine, poverty is rising. Unemployment is rising to epic levels. Food insecurity is becoming more acute. As per the World Food Programme estimate, poverty and food insecurity affect 53 percent and 64.4 percent of the Palestinian population respectively.
Gaza’s socioeconomic fabric is faltering due to the cumulative impact of 15 years of sea, land and air blockade and restricted trade and access to resources, coupled with high unemployment and poverty rates. Movement restrictions associated with COVID-19 have further increased vulnerabilities.
The State of Palestine faces severe challenges in its implementation of the SDGs. Allow me to highlight a few specific points that we believe may ameliorate the dire situation:
First, the continuation of Israel’s occupation, and its systematic and widespread violations of international law continue to be the biggest impediment for Palestine to achieve the SDGs. Therefore, ending the occupation is a prerequisite for enabling Palestine to meet its commitments toward sustainable development.
Second, achieving sustainable development requires access to and control over land, agricultural outputs, and vital natural resources such as water. Sadly, Palestinians have long been deprived of all these. The international community has a responsivity to ensure that the Palestinian people and the Arab population of the occupied Syrian Golan can benefit from their natural resources and claim restitution for the harms already caused by the occupying power.
Third, insufficient resources to fund the implementation of the SDGs remains a big challenge. Dwindling economic and agricultural outputs have dried up revenues to undertake meaningful development activities. National institutions and capacity and infrastructure development projects are suffering from a funding crunch. Over the years, the UNRAW fundings are also on a low ebb.
There is also a sharp decline in the volume of foreign aid to Palestine in past years.
The World Bank estimates that the Palestinian economy annually loses nearly 3.4 billion of potential revenue due to Israel’s restrictions.
There is an urgent need to scale up cash transfers, food aid, and project grants targeting poverty alleviation, education, women empowerment, and health care. Support for technical and capacity development and institution building is also necessary to accelerate SDGs implementation in Palestine.
The people and the Government of Bangladesh remain steadfast in their support for the just and legitimate struggle of the Palestinian people for the establishment of an independent, viable, contiguous and sovereign Palestinian State, with East Jerusalem as its capital, in the framework of a two-state solution.
I thank you.