Bangladesh has been very actively participating and contributing to the works of the UNESCAP and will continue to further strengthen its ESCAP related activities.
Bangladesh has brought four resolutions in different socio-economic issues of common interest of Asia-Pacific Countries and also has organized five side events. Bangladesh is also active in every committee and expert group meeting of UNESCAP.
Bangladesh’s decadal performance has been acknowledged in the latest Sustainable Development Report, 2021 published by UN-sponsored Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN). Due to the transformative leadership of the Hon’ble Prime Minister H. E. Sheikh Hasina, she was honored with SDG Progress Award by the SDSN during the 76th UNGA in September, 2021.
The 77th session of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP) held on 26-29 May 2021, called for strengthening multilateralism, international development coordination, and collaboration with subregional organizations to build back better from the COVID-19 pandemic.
In that session Hon’ble Prime Minister H.E. Sheikh Hasina made a 4-point recommendation to the ESCAP as way forward to address COVID-19 pandemic and to build back a better Asia Pacific. Hon’ble Prime Minister termed regional cooperation as the most viable option for shared prosperity and reiterated Bangladesh’s strong commitment towards the global and regional development initiatives. Hon’ble Finance Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal also spoke as Panelist on Special Body on Least Developed, Landlocked Developing and Pacific Island Developing Countries. He informed that a far-sighted balance between lives and livelihood had not only saved lives from pandemic but also returned jobs to millions in Bangladesh made it one of the most resilient economies of the world.
Bangladesh endorsed the Policy statement of the UNESCAP in the 77th Commission session where it has declared a four-prolonged strategy to ensure a recovery in line with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. It is now following a development approach that is more inclusive, resilient, and environmentally friendly which our Hon’ble Prime Minister declared in her address in the 77th commission session of UNESCAP and urged international cooperation to help each other to ensure this.
The Government of Bangladesh, as a graduating nation, in cooperation from UNESCAP, UNOHRLLS, WTO and OECD Development Centre, arranged a strategic dialogue on the sidelines of the 77th Session of UNESCAP titled as “Sustainable Graduation in the Challenging Time: Perspectives from Bangladesh and the Region”. The event drawn a large participations and thoughtful deliberations of High-Level representatives and officials from different countries, development partners, senior officials from the UN system, major institutional stakeholders, and other international organizations, private sector and civil society organizations. In the lead up to the LDC-V, the event has triggered the discussion on next course of actions in post IPoA era(Istanbul Programme of Action) to help the graduating nations in the context of COVID-19.
The second side events titled as “Moving Past Coal in the Asia-Pacific Region” jointly sponsored by the Govt. of Bangladesh and UNESCAP, was held as part of ESCAP’s 77th Commission Session, provided a multi-stakeholder forum for discussion and deliberation that allowed members to explore the constraints and opportunities for the region’s transition to a future which is less dependent on coal. Insights from key regional experts provided a backdrop for stakeholders to discuss the issues around coal-fired power generation and alternative development pathways. The discussion was encompassed issues of technology, environment, economics, climate mitigation and labour markets simultaneously.
Bangladesh supports ESCAP works on regional connectivity of developing an intermodal regional transport network, regional energy network, interregional trade through the Asia-Pacific Trade Agreement (APTA) and the Framework Agreement on Facilitation of Cross-border Paperless Trade in Asia and the Pacific, The Infrastructure Financing and Public-Private Partnerships (PPP) Network of Asia and the Pacific, Global compact for migration and other initiatives of regional cooperation. Bangladesh has identified as a “champion” country for GCM (Global Compact for Migration) implementation.
Bangladesh sees regional cooperation as the most viable option for shared prosperity and deeply engaged in SAARC, BIMSTEC, BBIN, BCIM-EC, and Trilateral Highway initiatives. Bangladesh is an ardent supporter of increased connectivity and ESCAP’s initiative of the Asian Highway and Trans-Asian Railway.
Bangladesh also resonates ESCAP’s mission on energy in ensuring access to affordable, reliable, sustainable, and modern energy for all in Asia and the Pacific in line with SDG7 targets, and enhancing energy security and connectivity through Integrating South Asia’s Power Grid for a Sustainable and Low Carbon Future.
A 20-member high level Bangladesh delegation joined in the Second Ministerial Conference on Civil Registration and Vital Statistics in Asia and the Pacific under the leadership of Hon’ble Minister of the Ministry of local Government, Rural Development & Cooperatives H. E. Mr. Md. Tazul Islam, MP. Cabinet Secretary of Bangladesh H.E. Mr. Khandker Anwarul Islam also participated in the ministerial roundtable as a panelist. Mr. Syed Rashedul Hossen, economic minister and alternate PR of Bangladesh was elected as vice-chair and chaired a session in the conference.
During the four days of high-level discussions, member States identified potential solutions to the challenges faced by CRVS systems in the region, with consideration for the instrumental role they play in achieving the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda. The Conference concluded with the successful adoption of the Ministerial Declaration, ‘Building a more resilient future with inclusive civil registration and vital statistics’, which outlines the key areas of action to ensure that by 2024, all people in Asia and the Pacific will benefit from universal and responsive CRVS systems.
At present Bangladesh is an elected member of the Governing Council of all five Regional Institutions of ESCAP namely, Asian and Pacific Training Centre for Information and Communication Technology for Development (APCICT), Asian and Pacific Centre for Transfer of Technology (APCTT), Asian and Pacific Centre for the Development of Disaster Information Management (APDIM), Centre for Sustainable Agricultural Mechanization (CSAM), Statistical Institute for Asia and the Pacific (SIAP). This is also glaring evidence that how the Asia-Pacific leadership values Bangladesh’s leadership in this largest UN organization.