The United Nations has assured the government of Bangladesh of its full support in recovering from the socio-economic shocks of the Covid-19 pandemic, the foreign ministry said on Thursday.
The assurance came during a meeting between foreign minister Dr AK Abdul Momen and a five-member UN country team led by Ms Mia Seppo, UN resident coordinator in Bangladesh, held at the State Guest House Jamuna on Wednesday.
The foreign minister stressed close collaboration and strong partnership between Bangladesh and the UN in managing the Covid-19 impact, a spokesperson of the ministry said.
During the meeting, Dr Momen highlighted the impressive economic growth of Bangladesh, including our spectacular progress in the areas of poverty reduction, improvement in life expectancy, reduction of maternal and child mortality, women empowerment and other socio-economic sectors.
He also informed that despite the onslaught of Covid-19, Bangladesh successfully submitted its second Voluntary National Response of SDG implementation on time.
“However, Covid-19 may impede the progresses in the area of SDG achievements and our graduation trajectory,” the foreign minister apprehended.
In this regard, he emphasised the need to have a coordinated partnership with the UN so that the ongoing endeavours remain on track.
The foreign minister told the UN delegation about the negative impact of the pandemic on the RMG sector and the expatriate employment -- two of the mainstays of Bangladesh’s economy.
Dr Momen expressed concern about the returnee migrant workers and sought UN’s assistance for re-skilling, re-employment and re-integration of them.
He expressed hope that, considering the larger population size, Bangladesh should receive a substantial allocation from the UN's response and recovery fund.
The foreign minister highlighted the climate vulnerability of Bangladesh and reminded the UN team about the responsibility of the developed countries in mitigatng climatic impacts in light of the Paris Agreement.
“Bangladesh as the current Chair of the Climate Vulnerable Forum will work with all concerned to ensure climate justice,” he said.
He also sought support from the UN bodies for the establishment of the Global climate adaptation centre as well as an innovation and knowledge centre to promote South-South Cooperation.
“The world has a lot to learn from Bangladesh on climate adaptation,” says the UN resident coordinator.
While Dr Momen thanked the UN agencies for their continued support on the Rohingya issue, he expressed deep concern that there was no progress in repatriation of Rohingyas to Myanmar.
The ongoing violence and continued military offensive and resultant instability in the Rakhine province are forcing Myanmar nationals to flee and take perilous journeys by land and sea in search for safety and security.
This has broader ramifications on the overall repatriation as Myanmar is failing to create conditions conducive for the safe and sustainable return of Rohingyas.
In this regard, the foreign minister pressed the UN to work with Myanmar more constructively under the framework of the existing tripartite mechanism.
The UN team thanked the foreign minister for highlighting issues of importance to Bangladesh and providing guidance on how the UN agencies in Bangladesh can effectively partner with Bangladesh in its journey towards economic prosperity.
The UN team mentioned that since Bangladesh joined the UN in 1974, the UN agencies are constructively engaged with Bangladesh in its pursuit of socio-economic development.
They reiterated the UN’s commitment to remain seized with the issue of Rohingya repatriation, including through engaging more constructively with Myanmar.