Describing Covid-19 vaccines as global public goods, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina yesterday said Bangladesh believes in primacy of United Nations and other international institutions to meet everyone’s demand for vaccines and medical requirements on the basis of equity and justice.
“All nations need to work together to make the UN and other international organisations effective so that everyone’s requirement of vaccines and medical requirement are met,” she said.
In her recorded speech aired in the plenary of a conference of the Boao Forum for Asia (BFA), the premier also said the WHO, GAVI and other relevant organisations must uphold the rights of the member states and ensure equity and justice.
“We strongly believe that Covid-19 vaccines should be declared as global public goods. Countries producing the vaccines should help others produce the vaccines with a view to attaining universal vaccine coverage.”
The theme of the four-day annual BFA conference is: “A World in Change: Join Hands to Strengthen Global Governance and Advance Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) Cooperation.”
The conference started in Boao, a coastal resort in South China’s Hainan province on Sunday and will continues till today.
Hasina said at these critical times the financial and technical supports to developing countries have also become more important.
She said developing countries need more access to the funds of the international financial institutions and the multinational development banks.
The PM said the socio-economic impacts of the pandemic are massive and are still unfolding. “It is, therefore, extremely important to strengthen the global and regional partnerships through coordinated efforts to address these challenges.”
She said Bangladesh has been trying to mitigate the adverse impacts of the pandemic through balanced measures between life and livelihood.
“We have so far announced various stimulus packages worth $14.6 billion, around 4.4 percent of our GDP, for social protection and boosting economy.”
Hasina said the pandemic highlights the crucial role of global governance to ensure that no one is left behind even during a crisis.
She said Bangladesh is engaged in different regional connectivity initiatives through South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (Saarc), Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC), South Asia Subregional Economic Cooperation (SASEC), Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal (BBIN) and Bangladesh-China-India-Myanmar (BCIM) forum.
In this connection, the PM said Bangladesh is uniquely placed to connect the regions of South Asia, Southeast Asia, East Asia and beyond through multi-modal linkages and it believes that Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) could play an important role in this regard.
“This continent has the advantage of huge demographic dividend, vast markets and the technological edge. If we join hands, together we can grow faster. This will also help us achieve the SDGs that we are all committed to fulfill,” she added.
Hasina mentioned that Bangladesh is one of the most climate vulnerable countries.
Despite resource scarcity, Bangladesh has established a Climate Change Trust Fund of about $450 million from own resources, she said. “We have been implementing various adaptation and mitigation programmes to offset the adverse impacts of climate change.”
The premier said Bangladesh is the current president of the Climate Vulnerable Forum (CVF). The country is also hosting the South Asian Regional Office of Global Centre for Adaptation which will work on disseminating local-based innovative adaptation strategies, she added.
The PM ended her speech recapping three points.
“Firstly, we need strong partnership among us to address the challenges posed by the pandemic, and to make vaccines available to everyone by declaring it as global public goods.”
Secondly, she said, the countries need to work together for harnessing the power of technology.
Hasina said seamless physical and digital connectivity will be the key to reap the benefits of the Asian Century.
She said under the current state of globalisation, every country has to do its part for the common good. The nations and economies will have to look out for each other, as no single country in this world can sustain on its own.
The premier called upon all to think together, work together, and grow together.