PM at Unga: Post-pandemic recovery high on agenda
Bangladesh will focus on post-Covid economic recovery, climate change and Rohingya crisis at the UN General Assembly in New York, where Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina will attend from September 21.
Sustainable development, food security and ending inequality will be the other highlights of the country's agenda.
The PM will leave Dhaka today to join the world's biggest diplomatic event in person since the Covid-19 pandemic forced travel restrictions since March last year.
She will lead an 80-member delegation. Apart from that, a business delegation will join her in New York.
Addressing a curtain raiser at the foreign ministry, Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen said Hasina will leave for Finland for a private visit today, and from there she will go to New York on September 19. On September 21, she will join the UNGA high-level general debate sessions.
She will deliver her speech in Bangla on September 24 and will highlight Bangladesh's success, inclusive economic development and achievement in the health sector. World peace, safe migration, equal distribution of Covid-19 vaccines, opening intellectual property rights, Palestine and the Rohingya crises, and climate justice will get priority.
Hasina will also meet UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, Maldives president, Vietnam president, Barbados prime minister and EU president.
It was not confirmed yet if the PM will join the inaugural event.
She will also plant a tree at the UN Headquarters marking the birth centenary of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.
Hasina will attend a side event on the Rohingya crisis and meet the US business community to seek investment.
She will also hold a community meeting in New York and then go to Washington DC for private visit before returning home on October 1.
Foreign Minister Momen said the world is hoping for a recovery from the pandemic that has devastated healthcare and economies.
Along that line, the UN has set "Building resilience through hope to recover from Covid-19, rebuild sustainability, respond to the needs of the planet, respect the rights of people and revitalize the UN" as the title for the UNGA.
"We would seek, as before, an announcement making vaccine a public good. There should be no discrimination in access to vaccines."
Globally, inequality has become a major issue and the pandemic has only aggravated it. The UNGA needs to work on it effectively. The UN's Sustainable Development Goals has been badly affected and this needs quick recovery, he said.
Ahead of the COP26, the UNGA would discuss the climate change issue, which is very important for Bangladesh.
"We would seek to keep global temperature below 1.5 degrees Celsius, and funding for both mitigation and adaptation," Momen said, adding that the developed countries' commitment to mobilising $100 billion for the climate vulnerable countries is yet to be fulfilled.
Bangladesh wants compensation for the loss and damage caused by climate change, displacement of people due to river erosion, flood and cyclones, he said, adding that he would attend a side event of the SAARC foreign ministers in New York.
He added there would not be any new proposal to be made to the UNGA on solving the Rohingya crisis, but added that it sticks to the previous recommendations of creating safe zones in Myanmar's Rakhine state for the Rohingyas to return and the accountability of those who committed genocide against the minority community. Some 750,000 Roingyas took shelter in Bangladesh following a military crackdown in Myanmar.
After the military coup in Myanmar in February this year, Momen said Bangladesh could not make any direct contact with the new military government.
State Minster for Foreign Affairs Shahriar Alam said the UN is yet to provide credentials to the Myanmar envoy to the UN following the coup. Once that is settled, Bangladesh will engage vigorously on Rohingya repatriation.
About the Afghanistan crisis, he said Bangladesh would join the UN initiative to provide humanitarian assistance to Afghanistan and Dhaka would wait and watch the developments under the Taliban regime before they recognise any new Afghan government.