1947Published on October 30, 2014
This session was also the 40th anniversary of Bangladesh’s membership in United Nations. Not just the UN session, Bangladesh have also attended at the Climate Conference, 2014, Global Education First Initiative, discussion of Commonwealth Heads of Government (CHG), summit on ‘The International Peacekeeping Operation’ and Global Citizens’ Festival.
Global Development and Bangladesh
At the session of 69th UN General Assembly, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has upheld Bangladesh’s stance before the world about restoring and maintaining global peace. The country believes in the centrality and legitimacy of the UN as the custodian of global peace, security and development. Zero tolerance to terrorism and extremism has been maintained by the country for a long period of time.
Regarding the Millennium Development Goals, Bangladesh has already reduced extreme poverty rate and child mortality rate and on the right track to meet the rest. The economy of Bangladesh is also boosting up maintaining a good pace. During the last five years, average GDP growth remained 6.2% despite global recession, export earnings grown up more than 3 times from around US$10.53 billion in 2006 to over US$ 30.5 billion last fiscal. Remittance flow also increased nearly three times from US$ 5 billion in 2006 to US$ 14.5 billion while foreign reserve jumped by 6.5-fold from US$ 3.49 billion in 2006 to US $ 22 billion at present.
UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon has applauded Bangladesh’s achievement and praised Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina for maintaining stability in the country. He also expressed gratitude for the contribution in Peace Keeping Operations. Following the footsteps of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina addressed the session in Bangla and urged to declare Bangla as the official language of the UN.
Celebrating 40-year Anniversary of Bangladesh’s UN Membership
Bangladesh has completed its forty years as a member of United Nations. During this course, Bangladesh has been an active member by paying its debts, outstanding contribution in Peace Keeping Operations, meeting the MDGs. Being respectful to UN Charter and other policies, Bangladesh gained temporary membership of UN Security Council twice. This was possible because of the country’s sincerity to UN policies and regulations.
At the ceremony to celebrate the anniversary in UN headquarters, New York, UN General Secretary Ban Ki Moon said, “Bangladesh advanced much in establishing "Sonar Bangla" as dreamt by Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman”. He also praised Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and said, “Your role in establishing world peace and security is praiseworthy”. Mr. Moon recognized Bangladesh’s firm commitment to UN Charter and contribution in Peace Keeping Mission. To remember the occasion and mark the day, a book titled "Bangladesh 40 years in the UN" has been unveiled. The milestone has also been celebrated in Bangladesh.
US Assistant Secretary of State Nisha Desai Biswal said Bangladesh made huge progress in different fields including MDGs under the dynamic leadership of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina. She also said that “United States is proud as it has been a partner of development of Bangladesh.”
The Russian deputy foreign minister said “The uncompromising policy of Sheikh Hasina in establishing peace and security in the world has been widely recognized.” He also said Sheikh Hasina's firm stance against terrorism and militancy has been acclaimed worldwide. Recalling the deep relations between Moscow and Dhaka, Gennadiy Gatilov said: "We are happy that Bangladesh-Russia ties are on the right track." In this connection, he mentioned that Russia always stood beside Bangladesh whenever it sought Moscow's help in the United Nations.
Highly appreciating Bangladesh's stunning uplift in different sectors including human resources development, UNDP Administrator Helen Clark said she was astonished by seeing the success. She recalled the visit to remote Char Kukri Mukri village of southern Bangladesh during inauguration of union information service centres.
The UNESCO Director General, Irina Bokova, said Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman had delivered the powerful speech at the United Nations in the history of the world body. Through the historic speech, she said, the great leader ensured the rights of the people of Bangladesh. At the outset of the speech, Irina Bokova greeted the audience with "Shubho Aporanho" in clear Bangla. She said Bangladesh made tremendous development in the fields of girl child and woman education.
UN under Secretary General Ameerah Haq appreciated Bangladesh's contribution towards UN peacekeeping missions, saying that Bangladesh's peacekeepers made highest sacrifice to this end. In this connection, the UN under secretary general recalled a guard of honour given to her by Bangladesh's women police contingent in Congo.
Unequivocal Support to Peace Keeping Operations
Bangladesh has been the most active partner in UN Peacekeeping Operations. Bangladesh has provided unequivocal support to UN Secretary General’s strategic review on peacekeeping. In a high level summit on UN Peacekeeping, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina reassured that Bangladesh will continue to provide assistance to build a world without terrorism, war and conflicts. Since the first time Bangladesh sent its sons to Africa in 1988, more than 103,000 forces have been deployed around the world. One hundred and nineteen soldiers have laid their lives for restoring peace in an alien nation.
To carry the legacy on, current government is currently working on a National Peacekeeping Strategy to pursue evolving pledges and capabilities to UN peacekeeping. Government has also decided to provide training and skills to emerging troops contributing countries (TCCs) with support from partners. Bangladesh is looking forward to well-trained and self-sustained infantry units and formed police units, including all-female police units at shortest possible time, to offer critical enablers including air power, helicopters and aircrafts at shortest notice, providing engineers, signals, medical teams, riverine and sea-based units on shortest notice. The country is looking ahead to provide training to the peacekeepers of the world.
Bangladesh has established a state-of-the-art Institute of Peace Support Operations and Training (BIPSOT). Regarding BIPSOT, Prime Minister stated, "We have planned to turn BIPSOT into a global centre of excellence for training peacekeepers, especially women peacekeepers from all countries.” Mentioning the agility and mercurial nature of the Bangladesh peacekeepers, Prime Minister said, “Bangladesh has constantly updated its deployment capabilities with evolving nature of peace support operations.” Bangladesh was the first to respond in Mali, Congo, Sierra Leone, Central African Republic. In all these operations, Bangladesh remained self sustained which took pressure off from UN logistics. Recognising the newer and more complicated challenges, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina called for more comprehensive training, improvement in rapid deployment, most of all, stronger protection for civilians.
Bangladesh Stands for Quality Education
The UN Global Education First Initiative was launched in 2012 with aims to put quality relevant and transformative education at the centre of the social, political and development agendas. It also aims to generate additional and sufficient funding for education through sustained global activity efforts.
In a high level discussion of UN Secretary Generals Global Education First Initiative at UN Headquarters, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina upheld Bangladesh’s stance for quality education, not waging war. She said, “We must divert billions we spend for creating war machines and violence to educating our progeny for the 'world we want.” Regarding the unrest in Palestine and recognizing the sufferings of its people, Prime Minister urged all to raise their voice against the incidents in Gaza.
Bangladesh has achieved universal access to education and gender parity because of the MDGs and quality teachers. The current government has trained nearly a million secondary level teachers. With a goal to prioritize quality education, Bangladesh will have 120 million skilled workforces by 2015. To upgrade the Madrassa education, government has reformed it by mainstreaming science and ICT education. Prime Minister said at the discussion that a rigorous ICT master plan for education is being implemented to materialize the government’s vision to build a technology driven society.
For uninterrupted learning for the talented students, government has provided stipends to 12.8 million students ranging from secondary to bachelor levels. Three-fourth of the recipients are girls as the government believes that girls’ and women’s education is the pillar of quality education.
Bangladesh Aims For a Greener World in Climate Conference
Prior to the 69th session of UNGA, Bangladesh has attended Climate Conference, 2014. This event is one of the most crucial events as the world leaders sit together to make the mother Earth more inhabitable. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina addressed at the National Action and Ambition Announcement. Reaffirming the country’s commitment to reduce carbon emission and monitoring environment-friendly development activities, she said, “The large emitting countries should reciprocate by robust voluntary commitments.” Regarding the ‘Intended Nationally Determined Contributions’ (INDCs), Bangladesh is working on its possible INDCs. Prime Minister said that every country should have a clear, verifiable and measureable INDCs.
Bangladesh is combining its every endeavours to create a greener world. To boosting up the green economy, the government has taken various steps. Bangladesh now has 3.2 million Solar Home Systems (SHS), over 1.5 million Improved Cook Stoves (ICS) across the country. A ten-year Bangladesh Climate Change Strategy and Action Plan is under implementation. Under the action plan, Bangladesh has already developed varieties of stress-tolerant crops. Describing the future effect of global warming, Prime Minister urged the world leaders to pay attention to 'Carbon budgeting' and 'de-carbonization pathways. Being a climate-vulnerable LDC the country so far allocated 385 million US dollars from own resources for adaptation and mitigation.
Foreign Investment Interests in Bangladesh
On the sideline of the UN General Assembly session, several bilateral meetings were held which were targeted to encourage and call for investment in Bangladesh. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina urged the US investors to create a new business partnership with Bangladesh. The current government of the country has implemented liberal fiscal incentives for the foreign investors.
The readymade garments sector of Bangladesh is the most contributing sector in the country’s economy. Because of the quality production and service, the country is expanding its market. At a sideline event, the government of Belarus has expressed its interest to assist in a long term scale by providing US$ 15 million in the Bangladesh’s RMG sector. This assistance will also include training for the garment workers.
Being impressed with Bangladesh’s success in information and telecommunication sector, Norway showed its interest to invest in Bangladesh’s ICT sector. Meeting with Bangladesh premier, Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg came up with the request.
Bangladesh and World Leaders
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina met several world leaders in New York to give the real picture of Bangladesh’s current development activities in different sectors and to resolve bilateral issues. A meeting was held on the reforms of the Commonwealth Heads of Government (CHOGM). In the meeting, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina gave three proposals including renaming the CHOGM Summit as Commonwealth Summit, reducing the duration of retreat from three days to two days and making the joint communiqué , more focused, businesslike and time-bound.
Prime Minister met with her newly elected counterpart of India, Narendra Damoder Modi which was the most awaited event of her tour to New York. During the meeting Modi lauded Bangladesh premier for her dynamic leadership and said, “Bangabandhu has founded Bangladesh and his daughter saved the country.” As Bangladesh Prime Minister pointed out unresolved bilateral issues like Land Boundary Agreement (LBA) and Teesta Watering Sharing Treaty Modi reaffirms his seriousness to resolve these. The two premiers were very much optimistic about regional cooperation development. Bangladesh Prime Minister called for removing barriers to connect with Nepal and Bhutan and Indian Prime Minister Modi asked the officials accompanying him to take steps from his part.
During a meeting with Commonwealth Secretary General Kamalesh Sharma, Prime Minister highlighted the government’s activities for the development of education. She said Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman nationalized country’s primary education and the services of the teachers soon after the independence. She said the government has made girl's education free up to higher secondary level. Secretary General praised the government’s success in health sector and women empowerment.