Address by Her Excellency Sheikh Hasina, Prime Minister of Bangladesh at the General Debate of the 78th UNGA, 22 September 2023


Bismillahir Rahmanir Rahim

Mr. President,

Assalamu Alaikum and Good afternoon.

I would like to congratulate you on your election as the President of the 78th session of the United Nations General Assembly. I assure you of Bangladesh delegation’s full cooperation throughout the Session.

I also commend your predecessor, His Excellency Mr. Csaba Kőrösi, for his successful steering of the 77th session.

I would also like to express my deep appreciation to the Secretary-General, Mr. Antonio Guterres, for his strong commitment to strengthening multilateralism and for his efforts, bold statements, and his far-sighted and pragmatic steps towards making the UN deliver its mandates and stand up to the challenges of the current world.

At this critical juncture, your call for rebuilding trust and reigniting global solidarity reminds me of the maiden speech by our Father of the Nation in this august Assembly. Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman stated in his address to this Assembly in 1974, and I quote –

The great economic upheavals’ that have shaken the world should generate a sense of urgency for building a just economic order. …Only a regeneration of the feeling of human solidarity and brotherhood and an acknowledgement of interdependence can bring about a rational solution and urgent action needed to avoid such catastrophe”. Unquote.

In this connection, we deeply appreciate the Secretary-General’s initiative to convene the “Summit of the Future” next year. We hope that this process will amply complement our efforts to attain the 2030 Agenda for sustainable development.


Mr. President,

Since assuming office in 2009, we have transformed Bangladesh from a lower-middle income country to a middle-income country. We have reduced poverty rate from 41.5 percent in 2006 to 18.7 percent in 2022 and extreme poverty rate from 25.1 percent to 5.6 percent.

We have expanded the social safety net coverage to ensure social and financial security of destitute women, widows, the elderly, persons with disabilities, persons of third gender and other marginalized segments of the society. 40 million people are receiving the benefits of our social safety net program directly or indirectly.

In the current fiscal year, a total of 12 billion US dollar has been allocated for the social safety net programmes. This year, we have introduced the Universal Pension Scheme through which any citizen aged between 18 and 50 years can avail of the old-age benefits.


Mr. President,

We are committed to ensure women empowerment and gender equality within a stipulated timeframe. We have given special attention to overall education including female literacy. We have been providing textbooks free of cost upto secondary level since 2010. Starting from the primary to higher education, about 23 million students are being provided with stipends, scholarship and one time grant. More than half of those recipients are female.


Mr. President,

Despite contributing less than 0.47% of global emissions, Bangladesh is one of the most climatically-vulnerable countries in the world. The adverse effects of climate change pose serious threats to the security and economic prosperity of our present and future generations. Urgent, bold and ambitious collective actions are needed to address these threats.

We established the “Bangladesh Climate Change Trust Fund” back in 2009 to finance climate adaptation and allocated 480 million US dollars to this fund so far from our own resources.

Under the “Ashrayan” project, a landmark initiative of my government for the landless and homeless people, 5 million people from 8 hundred and 40 thousand families have been provided with houses free of costs.


Mr. President,

The developed economies must fulfill their 100-billion dollars commitments. We demand an urgent operationalization of loss & damage funds as agreed in COP27.

We call for a stronger global solidarity in sharing the burden of climate migrants induced by sea-level rise, salinity increase, river erosion, floods, and droughts.


Mr. President,

The interlinked crises of the past few years have pushed up prices of food, energy and commodities globally, which have left negative impacts on our economy.

We have ensured food for everyone. We are providing 10 million people in low-income bracket with rice and other commodities at affordable prices. We have taken different initiatives to keep inflation under control.

I thank the Secretary-General for forming the Global Crisis Response Group in 2022 and for the Group’s continued advocacy and solutions in addressing the global food, energy and financial crises.

We are deeply concerned that the Black Sea Grain Initiative has become defunct and call upon all parties concerned for its early restoration. Besides, for the countries like ours, uninterrupted access to fertilizers must be ensured.  

As part of Vision 2041, my government is heavily investing in building a ‘Smart Bangladesh’ to transform the country into a high-income, poverty-free developed nation, grounded in proper utilization of science and technology, and powered by innovation.


Mr. President,

In Bangladesh, we have achieved exemplary success in bringing primary healthcare services to the grassroots level through Community Clinics. Bangladesh’s success has been recognized and appreciated by this august Assembly.

After peaceful settlements of maritime boundaries with our neighboring countries, the ‘blue economy’ has opened up a new horizon for development of Bangladesh. We believe, the provisions of UNCLOS need to be effectively implemented to ensure sustainable use of marine resources.

The day before yesterday, I signed the Agreement under the United Nations Convention on the conservation and sustainable use of marine biological diversity of areas beyond national jurisdiction (known as BBNJ Agreement).


Mr. President,

Our commitment to global peace and security is well manifested in our contribution to UN peacekeeping operations. As of now 188,000 men and women from Bangladesh have served in 55 UN peacekeeping missions in 40 countries.

Owing to our own experience, we are also actively contributing to the post-conflict reconstruction efforts through our leadership role in the UN Peacebuilding Commission.

We strongly support the role of the Commission in strengthening the UN’s prevention agenda.


Mr. President,

We remain concerned at the continued prevalence of terrorist threats which are now taking new shapes due to misuse of information and communications technology. My government maintains a ‘zero tolerance’ policy against terrorism and violent extremism.

Acts that hurt communal harmony and harm peaceful co-existence of people of different faiths and beliefs are serious crimes. Bangladesh believes in communal harmony


Mr. President,

As an elected member of the Human Rights Council, we are working with the fellow Members States towards safeguarding all human rights of people around the world.

In this Session today, I would like to unequivocally reiterate that we will continue to promote democracy, rule of law and freedom of expression in line with the constitution of Bangladesh.


Mr. President, 

This year marks the 75th anniversary of Nakba – the catastrophe inflicted upon the people of Palestine. It is deeply troubling that the legitimate rights of Palestinian people have remained unmet.

We will continue our efforts to realize the rights of the people of Palestine. Bangladesh will always stand by Palestine.

It has been six years since the forcibly displaced Rohingya people from Myanmar have been expelled from their own country Myanmar. Out of humanitarian concern, we have given them temporary shelter.

The displaced Rohingyas want to return to their own country, Myanmar and live a peaceful life there. Let us ensure that those destitute people can return to their own country.


Mr. President,

On 15 August 1975, my father, the Father of our Nation and the incumbent President of Bangladesh, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman was brutally assassinated. A total of eighteen members of my family were killed on that day including my mother, my three younger brothers, two sisters-in-law and my parental uncles.

Only my younger sister and myself survived the brutality as we were abroad at that time. Before that, in 1971, three million people of our country were killed during our great War of Liberation while two hundred thousand women were heinously tortured and abused.

As a victim of and witness to brutalities of war and assassination, I can feel the pain and agony that people endure due to the horrors of wars, killings, coup d’etats and conflicts.

Therefore, my appeal today is to all of you – to the leaders of the world – let us shun the path of war, sanctions and confrontation, and work collectively for enduring peace and welfare of the humankind and for economic prosperity of our people and the future generations.


I thank you all.

Joi Bangla, Joi Bangabandhu;

May Bangladesh Live Forever.