Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has urged the international community to come forward to achieve a quick recovery from the coronavirus pandemic.The prime minister made the remark during a speech at the 77th annual session of the Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific, or ESCAP, on Monday.
Hasina highlighted the devastating impact the crisis has had on people, health systems and economies across the globe.
“Nearly 2.95 million people have died and hundreds more are dying every day of the deadly disease,” she said.
“The pandemic has made many people poorer while many others are sliding back to poverty.”
She called upon developed countries, development organisations and international financial institutions to step forward and do their part in achieving a quick recovery from the pandemic.
The recovery approach for this crisis and others moving forward must also be more “inclusive, resilient and environment friendly”, she said.
Hasina also called for the Asia-Pacific region to develop and strengthen a universal public health system.
The prime minister highlighted her government’s efforts to combat the crisis, including stimulus packages amounting to $14.6 billion, approximately 4.44 percent of Bangladesh’s gross domestic product, to widen social protection, retain jobs and bolster the economy.
The government’s latest Five-Year Plan also included strategies to aid the recovery from the pandemic, while preparing Bangladesh for a graduation from the LDC (least developed country) category and attaining the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, or SDGs, she added.
It was also working to adapt to climate change efforts through programmes funded by the Bangladesh Climate Change Trust.
In her speech, Hasina also argued for regional cooperation and increased connectivity as roads to shared prosperity. She touted Bangladesh’s engagement with SAARC, BIMSTEC, BBIN, BCIM-EC, Trilateral Highway initiatives and the ‘South-South Network for Public Service Innovation’.
She also voiced her support for several ESCAP initiatives, such as the Asian Highway and Trans-Asian Railway, cross-border paperless trade, an Asia-Pacific trade agreement, PPP networking and initiatives.
The prime minister also committed to the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration.
She also called on the international community to remain focused on a viable solution to the 1.1 million Rohingya refugees currently living in Bangladesh after fleeing persecution in Myanmar.
ESCAP is one of five regional commissions under the jurisdiction of the United Nations Economic and Social Council. It consists of 53 member states and nine associate members.
The commission works with member states on technical assistance and capacity building in macroeconomic policy, development, trade and investment.