Development Should Be 'Sustainable'
Dr. Forqan Uddin Ahmed :
Bangladesh today is a shining example of a development miracle. During the last decade, Bangladesh's socio-economic condition has changed substantially. We have earned international acclamations for our tremendous success in MDGs implementation, particularly in the areas of poverty alleviation, food security, primary school enrolment, gender parity in primary and secondary level education, infant and under-five mortality rate, maternal mortality ratio, immunization coverage, and reduction of communicable diseases. We are on right track to become a middle-income country by 2021 and a developed one by 2041.
In UN General Assembly 72nd Session, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina had presided over the session as President and called for all-out efforts and cooperation of UN and expressed her heartiest felicitations and word of thanks to UN secretary general. She also supported human welfare, peace and sustainable development, three priorities of UN. It was her 14th time to attend such a big session and deliver speeches in UN. She was overwhelmed with grief for the painful picture of the Rohingya people. She highlighted their sufferings and termed the issue very vulnerable. They have been driven out from their motherland by torture and harassment, and became refugee to a neighbouring country like Bangladesh. But the fact is that Myanmar is their birth place.
Prime Minister also said that we are giving full support and protection to more than ten lakhs of Rohingya refugees. But Myanmar is violating the international human rights. Consequently, Bangladesh and Myanmar border has become unrest and abnormal. Very critical and tense situations are prevailing in border. Everyday thousands of Rohingya are coming. The border area is not safe. There are land mines. This has increased tension among the people. The refugee will go back is the matter to think now. She presented her key points before the world leaders. Firstly, the genocide and harassment need to be stopped unconditional. Secondly, the Secretary of UN must have a fact-finding mission. Third is to secure all citizens irrespective of caste and creed. Fourthly, the Rohingya refugee must be repatriated in their homeland. And last is to ensure the unconditional implementation of Kofi Annan's commission's recommendations.
Bangladesh came into being in 1971 after long 9 months liberation struggle, she said. In the struggle 30 lakhs of people were killed, 2 lakhs women were physically tortured and forcefully raped by the Pakistani force. They also killed our intellectuals for making Bangladesh a fallen, unproductive and unworthy nation. 25th March has been declared a day of genocide as the sign of honor to the martyrs in 1971. She reiterates that no such tragedy can take place anywhere in the world and called for unity against heinous act of killing. She calls for international recognition of genocide in 1971.
Prime Minister also expressed her strong solidarity to stop sexual harassment, supported the Secretary-General's proposal (voluntary compact), and declared a token grant for victim support fund. Prime Minister says that her government is always firm against terrorism. Though terrorism is a global issue, she proposes to stop supply of arms, to stop financing and to stop the threat of cyber world crime. Prime Minister also said that she has her faith on global compact on safe orderly and regular migration. We are hopeful of climate change and its impact. She also said that we are confident of blue economy. As a panel member in high level on water issue, she reiterates her integrated action plan on water. By which all people will come under safe drinking water by 2030.
We believe that peace and development all are interlinked. For a peace and inclusive society, it is necessary for poverty and hunger free society. Illiteracy and unemployment problem will be removed gradually. Bangladesh will turn to a middle-income country by 2030 and vision 2021, 2030, and 2041 will be fulfilled by SDG. Before SDG, many programs and projects were under taken. These are already included in SDG. As a process of making digital Bangladesh, news of launching multimedia classroom in 38 thousands educational institution undoubtedly makes us happy.
To build up knowledge-based society, our youths are given the priority. They have been given the technical education as a part of human resource development for making them world's citizen. She also said that all planes are under process for satellite channels. One has already flown in air. Finally, she also said that men are not born to suffer, they are meant for protection of humanity. We in no way can compromise with misdeeds and mistrusts. We are to fight out all evils and obstacle from our society.
The Paris Climate Agreement remains our bastion hope for climate justice. By recognizing the climate vulnerability, we are building resilience against the grave impacts of climate change. We believe in the potentials of "Blue Economy" in advancing the conservation and sustainable use of the ocean and seas. Bangladesh has achieved exemplary success in building resilience against flood and other disasters. Crop intensification and invention of water resistant crops have helped us achieve self-sufficiency in food. We have efficiently responded to the massive flood that has stricken the entire south Asian region this time. As a member of the High-level Panel on Water, she attaches high priority to implementing its comprehensive Action Plan.
Bangladesh has ensured access to safe water for 87 per cent of its population by 2015, and government aimed full coverage of our populations by 2030. The youths are the main movers in realizing our vision for a knowledge-based 'Digital Bangladesh'. Government is working towards creating an environment to allow them to pursue transformative education, find decent jobs, and turn into truly global citizens. We do not want war. We want peace. We want people's wellbeing - not destruction of humanity. We want sustainable development. Let this be our collective goal.
(Dr. Forqan Uddin Ahmed, writer, columnist & researcher)