Statement by Mr. Toufiq Islam Shatil, CDA, a.i. and Deputy Permanent Representative of Bangladesh to the UN at the General Debate of the First Committee of the 78th UNGA, 03 October 2023

Mr. Chair,

I warmly congratulate you and Members of the Bureau on your election.  We are 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.

Arising from the ashes of World War II, the United Nations, in its very first resolution, envisioned a world free of nuclear weapons. After 77 years, the aspiration of disarmament remains frustratingly distant.

The constant nuclear threat persists, which requires resolute collective action against the perpetual holding of nuclear weapons by a handful of states in total disregard of the safety and security of humanity.


Mr. Chair,

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.

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 became one of the first State Parties to the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW).

We welcome the coming into force of the Treaty and its First Meeting of States Parties. We would like to see as a matter of priority, its full implementation by all, including the Nuclear-Weapon-Possessing States. We look forward to engaging constructively in preparation for the Second Meeting of States Parties to the TPNW.


Mr. Chair,

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 wish to underscore the paramount importance and continued relevance of the UNDC as the singular specialized and deliberative body within the UN’s framework for multilateral disarmament. A renewed and strengthened political commitment is essential for meaningful progress in global disarmament and non-proliferation.

We reiterate our deep frustration 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.

We must multiply our efforts for rapid entry into force of the CTBT and commencing negotiations in the Conference on Disarmament on Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty (FMCT).


Mr. Chair,

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.  On that premise, we are constructing the first nuclear power plant in Bangladesh 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 emphasizes the need for upholding the OPCW’s credibility and integrity.

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.


Mr. Chair,

Bangladesh shares global concerns that the illicit transfer, accumulation and misuse of small arms and light weapons (SALW) poses serious threat to international peace and security.  We consistently support the adoption of the Programme of Action on SALW and call for its swift and effective implementation. In this regard, we acknowledge the successful convening of BMS8 and its outcome document, including the dedicated fellowship training program; and look forward to the 2024 UN Conference to review PoA progress.

We also note the adoption of the OEWG’s final report on the Global Framework for Through-life Conventional Ammunition Management, focusing on addressing safety and security risks linked to conventional ammunition to prevent diversion and unintended explosions.

We further reaffirm our commitment to fulfill the obligations under the Certain Conventional Weapons Convention (CCW) and its Protocols, which we are party to.

Bangladesh remains concerned over Lethal Autonomous Weapon Systems (LAWS) and urges a comprehensive assessment of their compliance with international law, including international humanitarian law and international human rights law.


Mr. Chair,

Bangladesh remains deeply concerned on the development of military AI capabilities, including autonomous weapons, which have the potential to disrupt various military domains. Our foremost responsibility is to harness AI for peace, not conflict. Therefore, we emphasize the urgent need for comprehensive frameworks to govern AI effectively to ensure responsible, effective, and ethical use of AI and emerging technologies.

We call for multilateral efforts to prevent cyberspace from becoming a battleground. In this regard, we reiterate our support to the work of the OEWG on security of and in the use of ICT and welcome the consensus adoption of its Second Annual Progress Report.


Mr. Chair,

Bangladesh emphasizes the inalienable right of all Member States to exploration and use of outer space exclusively for peaceful purposes. 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 note the establishment of the new GGE and the discussions within the OEWG on Reducing Space Threats through responsible behavior norms, rules, and principles. We reiterate our call to have a legally binding international instrument for preventing the weaponization of outer space.



Mr. Chair,

We are deeply troubled by the persistent weakening of multilateralism in disarmament, non-proliferation, and arms control. We remain committed to upholding internationally agreed disarmament norms and strengthening the UN disarmament machinery.

We reiterate the importance of convening the Fourth Special Session of the General Assembly devoted to Disarmament (SSOD-IV) for giving further impetus to the disarmament machinery in an evolving and complex global context.


We continue to express deep concern at the rise in global military expenditure to an all-time high of $ 2.24 trillion in 2022. Regrettably, these substantial resources could be better used to protect our planet, people, guarantee peace and prevent climate change.


Mr. Chair,

To conclude, we call upon all States to abide by and nurture the philosophy of the ‘culture of peace’, which my delegation is promoting in the UN.

Let us re-commit to strengthen our efforts towards the goal of a peaceful and nuclear weapons free world.

Rest assured of my delegation’s full support to you, Mr. Chair, throughout the session.

I thank you.