PM Sheikh Hasina's speech at "MDGS to SDGs: a Way Forward"


PM Sheikh Hasina's speech at "MDGS to SDGs: a Way Forward"

His Majesty King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands,
His Excellency Mr. BoniYayi, President of the Republic of Benin,
His Excellency Mr. Stefan Löfven, Prime Minister of Sweden,
His Excellency Mr. MogensLykketoft, President of the General Assembly,
Her Excellency Ms. Helen Clark, UNDP Administrator
Executive Secretary UN ESCAP
Representative of Secretary General
Special Envoy of World Bank President
Ladies and gentlemen,

Good afternoon to you all. This historic week, we adopted our ambitious  Agenda 2030. Two days back, I shared our reflections on the Agenda at the SDG Summit.

Bangladesh is a development surprise. We proved many myths wrong. Global development thinkers like Professor Amartya Sen lauded our overall progress. Professor Sen underlined that Bangladesh has progressed much more in development sector compared to many developing countries.

At an early stage of MDG implementation, we adjusted our development plans to the MDG framework. We wanted the MDG Targets to help us in realizing our national aspirations. We have already achieved or, are on track to
meet almost all the MDGs. Key to success was our political commitment and people’s inspiration to make Sonar Bangla a reality. We also mobilized our national resources and enhanced capabilities; empowered our people; engaged in partnership with a wide range of local and international actors.

During this period, Bangladesh reduced extreme poverty by half. We improved access to basic education, health services, water and sanitation. During the last six years, our GDP grew at over 6% despite global slowdown. Over the past decade, our exports grew by more than three times; foreign exchange reserve has risen around seven times. This year, Bangladesh graduated to the World Bank’s lower-middle income status. We are on course to become a Middle Income Country by 2021.

Our commitment has always been to ensure well-being of our people. We are working to protect vulnerable people, including migrantsand persons affected by climate change, Autism and other forms of disabilities. These come from our vision to build an inclusive society.

We have decided to take technology to peoples’ doorstep. Our vision of Digital Bangladesh is bringing results in lifting people’s lives and livelihoods. People in Bangladesh receive over 200 services from 5,275 Digital Centres. Over 16,500 IT-connected Community Health Clinics and Union Parishad Health Complexes extend basic health care services.

To realise demographic dividend, we invest heavily on skills development of our younger population. My government emphasizes much on education and health for all, particularly of women and girls. Let me cite two examples:

i) We offer stipends to 13.4 million students from poor families, with 75% girls, and free education for girls up to higher secondary level. As a result, their school dropout has fallen significantly.

ii) Every year, first of January, we distribute over 334 million free text books, all over Bangladesh. It is perhaps the biggest such undertaking anywhere in the world.

To ensure food and nutrition security, we have scaled up our investment in agriculture. Bangladesh agriculture has fast transformed to be a driver of our development. Technology and innovation is hallmark of present-day agriculture in Bangladesh. We have developed stress-tolerant crop varieties to adapt to the changing climate. We have achieved self sufficiency in food production and now exporting rice abroad.

Ladies and gentlemen,

We look at Agenda 2030 with much interest. We want to sustain the momentum of the MDGs, build on their successes and transform Bangladesh.

We have placed peopleat the centre of our national planning. As part of that, our Planning Commission is aligning the next Five Year Plan (2016 – 2020) with the new global Agenda. Many of the Targets will involve multiple actors within and beyond the Government. To ensure effective implementation and coordination, I am forming a coordination mechanism under overall guidance of my office.

Agenda 2030 is about a collective journey. Therefore, the international community has to deliver on the means of implementation. We will need scaled-up resources from all sources - public and private, domestic and international. Thus, fulfillment of the ODA Targets will be crucial, from the beginning.

We also need critical support in technology and capacity building areas. In meeting our developmental and climatic challenges, we need adaptive and environmentally sound technologies - particularly in areas like health, agriculture, energy and transport.

Bangladesh is an important part of global supply chain. For us to benefit, the global trading and financial regime and institutions have to be fair, transparent and ethical. Partnership is also crucial.

Ladies and gentlemen,

We have set our Vision 2021 – to emerge as a Middle Income, knowledge-driven digital economy. Then comes our Vision 2041. These are to realize the dream of our Father of the Nation, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, to build a Sonar Bangla, the land of Golden Bengal.

As we surprised the world with our MDG achievements, we are committed to lead by example again in case of SDGs. In our journey, no one will be left behind as we aspire to build a just, progressive, peaceful and prosperous Bangladesh.

Let us commit our will and wealth - for our present and future.

I thank you.

HE Sheikh Hasina (Honorable Prime Minister, Government of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh)