Bangladesh statement delivered by Mr. Toufiq Islma Shatil, Deputy Permanent Representative of Bangladesh to the UN at the General Debate of the Second Committee, New York, 04 October 2023

I thank you, Mr. Chair, for giving me the floor.

My delegation warmly congratulates you and other members of the bureau on your elections.

Bangladesh aligns itself with the statements made by Cuba on behalf of the G77 and China and Nepal on behalf of the LDCs.

Let me share a few thoughts in my national capacity on the theme ‘building a sustainable recovery for all.’

Mr. Chair,

The past three and half years have been challenging times for the world, especially for developing countries.

The poorest and the most vulnerable continue to face severe consequences of multiple, interlinked crises including the pandemic, the war in Ukraine and the existential climate crisis, among many other barriers to development.

Successive reports of the Secretary-General, including the 2023 SDG Progress Report, have revealed that most SDGs are seriously off track.

Poverty and inequalities have risen sharply. Inequality is on the rise. The debt burden of the poorer countries has ballooned with their food and energy security compromised. Climatic shocks have amplified, while international cooperation diminished.

Frankly, the path to recovery looks daunting. This is because the underlying causes that hinder SDG progress remained largely unaddressed year after year.

Against this backdrop, we need accelerated, sustained, and transformative actions, both nationally and internationally, to deliver on the promise of the SDGs and to ensure a sustainable recovery for all.

Allow me to highlight a few points in this regard,

First, sustainable recovery requires investments in SDGs, which in turn need access to affordable, low-cost, long-term concessional finance.

However, the pandemic and the recent crises have exposed stark disparities between developed and developing countries in terms of how they could access vaccines and finance. Such inequalities have given rise to an uneven recovery.

Developing countries need fiscal space and liquidity to invest in SDGs and finance rebuilding.

Fulfillment of ODA commitments, delivery of 100 billion dollars climate funds in their entirety, operationalization of loss and damage funds as agreed in COP27, reallocation and repurposing of SDR allocations, and the Secretary General’s proposed 500-billion-dollar SDG Stimulus package could provide developing countries with much-needed resources critical for achievement of SDGs.

But most urgently, we need a financial architecture that addresses issues relating to access and affordability of funds for developing countries, particularly in times of crisis, emergencies and disasters. All lending instruments should also include disaster clauses to make them more shock-absorbing and resilient.

Second, we need to invest in climate-resilient recovery. Climate change-induced disasters and natural calamities, occurring in greater frequency, intensity and ferocity, reverse hard-earned development gains and pose significant recovery challenges.

Meaningful climate actions are necessary.

Major emitters must submit ambitious NDCs and implement those. Developed countries should fulfill their climate funds commitments and disseminate clean, green, and advanced technology to the most vulnerable developing countries at affordable costs. We wish to see concrete progress with the Loss and Damage Funds in COP28. Access to available climate funds also needs to be streamlined.

Third, we need to leverage the strength of digital technologies to close the gaps in our SDGs implementation, especially in the areas of education, health, job creation, and climate actions. Developing countries need support to build capacity and framework to be able to utilize and benefit from emerging technologies for sustained economic growth and inclusive participation in the digital economy. Access to technology will be a great enabler for sustainable recovery.

Fourth, the interlinked crises of the past few years have pushed up global food, energy, and commodity prices, weakening our fragile efforts to recover from the pandemic. Many developing countries are forced to incur extra costs on food and fuel imports, which in turn affect their ability to invest in SDGs. Factors that affect food price and access such as export restrictions, stockpiling, and supply chain distortions must be addressed.

To address energy insecurity, all countries should raise ambition to increase renewable energy in their energy mix while pushing for a transition to green and sustainable energy. For that to happen, developing countries need scaled-up foreign investment, access to multilateral finance and technology transfer for the green energy transition.

Mr. Chair,

Despite various challenges, Bangladesh has made remarkable progress in combating poverty and hunger. We have brought down extreme poverty to 5.6% in 2022 from 25.1% in 2006. We are a global leader in disaster management and climate adaptation.

Our community clinic model has set an example for people-centric primary health care. Our government is now working towards attaining Universal Health Coverage. We are reforming our education system with a focus on critical thinking, skills and STEM education. Our girls and women are making their mark in all spheres of politics, economy and society.

We have achieved the SDG target of providing electricity to 100% of households.

Mr. Chair,

In conclusion, I would like to underscore that while we are trying to do our part, recovery from various crises requires global partnership.  In the words of the Secretary-General and I quote‘a fundamental shift is needed – in commitment, solidarity, financing and action – to put SDGs on the right track’, unquote.

Also, through effective south-south and triangular cooperation, countries can support each other with finances, technology transfer, capacity and skills development, and debt relief.

Together we can leverage technologies to speed up innovation,  spur economic growth, and fashion a sustainable recovery for all.

I thank you.