Dhaka Bureau Policy Times : Bangladesh Prime minister Sheikh Hasina has said there is a need for constructive multilateralism more than ever as the COVID-19 pandemic has reminded that ‘no one is safe until everyone is safe’.
“The COVID-19 pandemic is a stark reminder that no one is safe until everyone is safe. The pandemic has taught us that global prosperity is embedded in collective actions, unity and international cooperation,” she said on (10 November) Tuesday.
The Prime Minister was addressing a high-level event titled “Call for Action: In support of Multilateralism” held on a virtual platform.
The government of Spain organised the event in the wake of unique challenges caused by COVID-19 across the world. In a globalised world, constructive multilateralism is not an option but the only way-out for a rules-based international order and common progress of humankind, the prime minister said.
Sheikh Hasina said history proves that any deviation from this united approach will only bring disastrous effects for humankind. “However, unless a multilateral effort is taken at the global level, global recovery won’t start and it’ll never be sustainable,” she said.
To face the crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Bangladesh prime minister said, the government has so far allocated 14.14 billion US dollars, which is 4.3 per cent of the country’s GDP, to protect the livelihood of people.
Despite the impact of the pandemic, Bangladesh’s GDP registered a 5.24 per cent growth due to the government’s timely interventions, she observed. “The recent trend of protectionism and xenophobia in some countries may bring further sufferings for innocent people and adversely impact the peaceful multilateral environment,” she cautioned.
So, the prime minister said, all should guard against this type of activities which are detrimental to international peace, security and global development. In order to reduce inequality, eradicate poverty and protect the planet by reducing carbon emissions, all need to work together and reinforce their multilateral efforts, Hasina said.
She further said Bangladesh is a flag-bearer of multilateralism and strongly pursues international peace and security by its high presence in the UN peacekeeping and peace-building process.
“We’ve adopted the ‘whole of society’ approach in realising the SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals). We’re equally committed to implementing the Paris Accord. As such, Bangladesh has been honoured to be chosen to lead the 48-member Climate Vulnerable Forum for the second time,” she said.
The prime minister also said Bangladesh has been qualified to be graduated from LDC status in which the UN system played a crucial role. “It reflects our commitment and trust in multilateralism.”
In the adopted Political Declaration on 21 September to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the UN, all countries laid emphasis on shared responsibility and collective efforts for unified prosperity and advance the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris Agreement, she mentioned.
“However, strong multilateralism is required to achieve the benefits out of these international instruments and understanding,” Hasina said. She mentioned that Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman also highlighted the importance of collective efforts and the role of the UN in his statement at the UNGA in 1974.
King of Spain Felipe VI was present at the event, while president of Spain Pedro Sánchez, Swedish prime minister Stefan Löfven, president of South Africa Matamela Cyril Ramaphosa, prime minister of Canada Justine Trudeau and New Zealand prime minister Jacinda Arden, among others, spoke at the virtual event.