Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina yesterday sought a stronger role of the developed world and the development partners in attaining quick recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic.

Delivering her recorded statement aired in the 77th Session of the UN-ESCAP, she placed a four-point proposal in this regard.

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The premier called for inclusive development approach, efficient policies and strategies on universal public health system from the Asia-Pacific region.

The three-day session of the Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) began virtually yesterday under the theme — “Building back better from crises through regional cooperation in Asia and the Pacific.”

Hasina urged the international community to remain focused on sustainable repatriation of the 1.1 million forcibly displaced Rohingyas.

In her first proposal, she said the developed world, development partners and international financial institutions should come forward in attaining quick recovery from the pandemic.

The second proposal says the development approach should be more inclusive, resilient and environment friendly to build back better from any crisis.

The Asia-Pacific region should take efficient policies and strategies for a strengthened and universal public health system, Hasina said in her third proposal.

“We need to establish seamless connectivity in the areas of trade, transport, energy and ICT, science and technology,” the PM said in the fourth proposal.

She said the coronavirus pandemic has devastated the health systems and economies across the world.

Noting that nearly 2.95 million people have died and hundreds more are dying of the deadly disease every day, the PM said the pandemic has made many people poorer while many others are sliding back to poverty.

Highlighting her government’s measures to offset the onslaught of the pandemic, Hasina said it has announced stimulus packages worth about $14.6 billion for widening social protection, retaining jobs and bolstering the economy.

The PM said the government has continued to move forward with environmental management.

“Adaptation efforts to climate change have been supported by programmes funded through the Bangladesh Climate Change Trust Fund.”

Hasina said Bangladesh sees regional cooperation as the most viable option for shared prosperity. “We’re engaged in Saarc, BIMSTEC, BBIN [Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal], BCIM-EC [Bangladesh, China, India and Myanmar Economic Corridor] and trilateral highway initiatives.”

She said “South-South Network for Public Service Innovation” helps Bangladesh through partnership with other countries.

“We’re an ardent supporter of increased connectivity and ESCAP’s initiative of the Asian Highway and Trans-Asian Railway,” the PM added.

Hasina said Bangladesh is also actively engaging with the cross-border paperless trade, Asia-Pacific Trade Agreement, PPP networking, renewable energy and other initiatives of UN-ESCAP.

“We’re committed to achieving Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration.”

The ESCAP is one of the five regional commissions under the jurisdiction of the United Nations Economic and Social Council. It was established in order to increase economic activity in Asia and the Far East, as well as to foster economic relations between the region and other areas of the world.

The commission is composed of 53 member states and nine associate members, mostly from the Asia and Pacific regions.

Presidents of Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Indonesia, Kiribati, Kyrgyz Republic, Marshall Islands, Mongolia, and Tajikistan, and the prime minister of Tuvalu virtually spoke at the function.

Earlier, UN Secretary-General António Guterres, among others, made opening remarks.

Prime ministers of Bhutan, Cambodia, Fiji, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, and Uzbekistan also addressed the session virtually.


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