United Nations, September 28: “Bangladesh recorded the highest economic growth among a list of 26 countries in the last 10 years”, said Sheikh Hasina, the Prime Minister of Bangladesh in her address to the UN General Assembly in New York on Friday.
She noted a 188 per cent expansion in its gross domestic product (GDP), which “has grown from $102 billion in 2009 to $302 billion this year”.
Citing poverty and inequality as two major obstacles to development, she pointed out that “poverty eradication, sustainable growth, protection of the environment and human-resources development are some of the key features of our development strategy”.
“Bangladesh has achieved one of the fastest poverty reduction rates in the world”, the Prime Minister said, explaining that over the past 10 years, the country has adopted progressive and timely policies, with a key development strategy that tackles inequality through social security, decent work and financial inclusion.
“Having achieved the milestones of gender parity”, she said, “we are now focusing on enhancing the quality of education with emphasis on e-learning, and qualified teachers”.
And she maintained that Bangladesh’s school drop-out rate has gone down from 50 to 18 per cent.
Moreover, the country has created an extensive network of 18,000 community clinics and Union Health Centres to bring health coverage to the entire population.
“These centres provide 30 different types of medicine free of cost and free primary health services to the rural people”, she explained, adding that 80 per cent of recipients are women and children.
Hasina called the blue economy Bangladesh’s “new frontier of opportunities”, saying, “we are contributing to UN’s norm-setting exercises on protecting marine biological diversity in the areas within and beyond national jurisdiction”.
Turning to climate change, she pointed out that Bangladesh is a coalition partner on climate resilience and adaptation and has adopted “transformative and innovative climate resilient technology and crops for reducing disaster risks”.
Keeping The Peace
As the second largest troop- and police-contributing country, Bangladesh continues to participate in UN peacekeeping operations.
Responding to the Secretary-General’s call to implement the Action for Peacekeeping Agenda, Ms. Hasina said, “we have joined as one of the ‘champion’ countries”.
Turning to the Rohingya crisis, the Prime Minister stated that it has been “lingering into the third year”, saying that “not a single Rohingya could return to Myanmar due to absence of safety and security, freedom of movement and overall conducive environment in Rakhine state of Myanmar”.
She requested the international community to “understand the untenability of the situation” and that the crisis has gone “beyond the camps”.
“Despite our all efforts to contain it, the crisis is now becoming a regional threat”, lamented Ms. Hasina, with “increasing congestion and environmental degradation… challenging health and security”.
Noting that “we are bearing the burden of a crisis which is Myanmar’s own making”, Ms. Hasina recalled a proposal to resolve the crisis, which included for the international community to ensure that the root causes of Rohingya problems are addressed and the violation of their human rights accounted for.
“For us multilateralism remains as the strongest panacea for resolving the global problems and creating global goods”, concluded the Bangladesh Prime Minister.