Building Smart Bangladesh: PM Hasina seeks support from dev partners
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina today sought support from Bangladesh's development partners to make a smart, innovative and knowledge-based society which will help promote a peaceful, just and inclusive society.
The prime minister said this while speaking at an event titled "Investment in Research and Development in LDCs for smart and Innovative Societies" at the sidelines of the 5th UN LDC Conference held at Audiotorium-3, Qatar of the National Convention Center (QNCC).
In her address the PM proposed that the development partners should provide appropriate incentives to the international private sector for impactful technology transfer to LDCs, including for climate action.
They should also help invest in digital infrastructures to reduce tech disparity in LDCs.
Besides steps should be taken to foster collaboration among research professionals and institutes to address issues and challenges facing LDCs.
She proposed that the development partners should continue waivers under TRIPS Agreement for LDCs, even after their graduation, especially for pharmaceuticals and agro-chemicals.
The PM urged support from the partners in developing an intellectual property regime conducive to both innovation and development in LDCs.
She also apprised the meeting of her goal to go much further to the next vision which is to build a 'Smart Bangladesh' by 2041.
"It will be based on four core elements: Smart Citizen, Smart Government, Smart Society and Smart Economy," she said.
Hasina said that in 2009, while her government made a pledge to the people to build a 'Digital Bangladesh' by 2021, it sounded like a tall order.
Hasina said that Bangladesh qualified for LDC graduation in 2021 under all three criteria.
"We are now preparing for graduation in 2026. During this transition, investment in science, technology and innovation is a priority for our government. We are working with the UN Technology Bank for LDCs," she said.
She said that the government attaches importance to promoting a scientific mindset in the education system. She mentioned that the new focus on Blended Education is aimed at developing IT skills for all.
Hasina said that the government has worked on a host of home-grown climate adaptation measures, including through technological applications.
"We also need access to mitigation technologies to further curb greenhouse gas emissions. Our government is building two nuclear power plants as part of a clean energy transition. We aim to increase our share of renewable energy, preferably with floating solar panels, offshore wind turbines and green hydrogen."
She said that the government has given emphasis on supporting agricultural research which made it possible for Bangladesh to combat hunger and become largely food secure.
"We are investing further in making our agriculture and livestock smart and environment-friendly. We stand ready to share our good practices with other LDCs through various means, including contract farming."
Talking about her government's present focus on enhancing the scope of medical research, she said climate change's impacts on public health are being manifested through new disease burdens.
"We must have international collaboration for research in neglected tropical diseases. We urgently need investments in developing new treatments for anti-microbial resistance," the PM added.