Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina today urged the Speakers and parliamentarians of South Asia for allocating budgets enabling the countries to fully implement the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as it is a collective journey.
"As a key institution of democracy, parliaments have an important role to play in making the SDGs a success. Practical steps need to be taken to advance the integration of the goals at the national level and monitor progress," she said.
Sheikh Hasina was addressing the closing session of the first-ever South Asian Speaker's Summit on Achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG's) at a city hotel this afternoon.
She also pledged to build political will in South-Asian Parliaments to implement the SDGs through partnership, dialogue and cooperation with key stakeholders, including citizens, civil society, community and religious leaders, and young people.
About the Dhaka Declaration of the Summit on achieving the SDGs, Hasina said she and her government fully endorse the declaration.
Noting that Bangladesh has made a tremendous success in achieving the MDGs, she said, "We want to sustain the momentum of the MDGs, build on their successes and transform Bangladesh to realise the SDGs. "I believe Agenda 2030 is about a collective journey… the international community has to deliver on the means of implementation.
Recognising fully the interdependence between health and development, the Prime Minister said she firmly believes that parliaments in regions and beyond must increase their efforts in both quantitative and qualitative terms to ensure healthy lives as propounded in SDG-3, by tackling the growing burden of tobacco related diseases in particular and non-communicable diseases in general, seemingly pervasive in the countries.
Terming Tobacco as now an epidemic, Hasina said in South Asia (Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, Myanmar and Sri Lanka) the estimated total number of tobacco users is 384 million, which accounts for over a third (34.8 percent) of the total tobacco users in the world (about 1.1 billion).
"The economic and health costs of tobacco use in all of these countries are staggering. In India and Bangladesh alone, tobacco kills over 1.1 million people annually based on conservative estimates," she said.
Hasina said her government would take all possible measures for effective implementation of existing tobacco control laws and in turn we will make our laws fully compliant with FCTC in line with our national priorities to achieve SDGs.
Organised by the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU), Bangladesh National Parliament hosted the summit while the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids provided technical support and cooperation.
Held with President of IPU Saber Hossain Chowdhury in the chair, Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Sri Lanka Thilanga Sumathipala, Speaker of the House of the People, Afghanistan Abdul Raouf Ibrahimi, Speaker of the National Assembly (Tshogdu), Bhutan Jigme Zangpo, Speaker of the Majlis, the Maldives Abvdulla Maseeh Mohamed, Speaker of Parliament (Jatiya Sangsad), Bangladesh Shirin Sharmin Chaudhury, and Speaker of the House of the People (Lok Sabha), India, Sumitra Mahajan, among others, spoke at the closing session of the Summit.
Saber Hossain Chowdhury also made a presentation on the summary of Dhaka declaration.