PM Hasina urges all to say 'no' to wars

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina addressing the 80th Session of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP) held at the ESCAP Hall (2nd floor), United Nations Conference Center (UNCC)UNB

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Thursday called upon all to stand against all forms of aggression and atrocities, and say "no" to wars, as the precondition for sustainable development is lasting peace and security.

"We must speak out against all forms of aggression and atrocities, and say 'no' to wars. Bangladesh stands behind the UN Secretary General's 'New Agenda for Peace'," she said.

The prime minister made the call while delivering her address the 80th Session of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP) at the ESCAP hall in United Nations Conference Center (UNCC) here.

She also urged world leaders to stop all wars, aggression and atrocities, saying that the attack on Gaza only increasing the casualties especially women and children, but discussion can bring peace.

"War is going on and genocide is going in Palestine. It must be stopped. War can't bring any solution," she said.

In this regard, Sheikh Hasina mentioned about the "Hill Tracts Peace Accord" in Bangladesh during her initiative and regime in 1996 which restored peace among the people.

She said "We must settle regional disputes and tension through dialogue," adding, "Our mutual respect for national sovereignty and territorial integrity must remain paramount."

Prime minister Sheikh Hasina arrived here on April 24 on a six-day official bilateral and multilateral visit at the invitation of her Thai counterpart.

She is scheduled to depart Bangkok on 29 April.

The prime minister called upon the Asia-Pacific region, especially ASEAN, to play a proactive role in resolving the volatile situation in Myanmar.

"We must ensure that the Rohingya can go back home in safety and dignity at the earliest possible," she said, adding "The origin of their crisis has been in Myanmar, and its solution also lies in Myanmar."

She continued, "As long as that solution remains out of reach, all our efforts at regional connectivity, integration, and prosperity will continue to be marked by a missing puzzle. Let us redouble our efforts to put that puzzle back in place."

Sheikh Hasina mentioned that in August 2017, when thousands of men, women, and children of the Rohingya community fled to Bangladesh. The people of Bangladesh offered them temporary shelter.

"With an ever growing population, this has now become one of the largest humanitarian situations in the world," she said.

The premier said that in the backdrop of ongoing armed conflicts in Myanmar, the Rohingya repatriation process is also getting delayed. "This is creating serious security risks within and beyond our territories," she said.

Sheikh Hasina said that the Asia-Pacific region must stand united against its common enemies of poverty and hunger.

In Bangladesh, she said that the Bangladesh has reduced poverty from 41.51 per cent to 18.7 per cent between 2006 and 2022.

It also reduced extreme poverty from 25.1 to 5.6 per cent during the same period.

"We remain confident about eradicating extreme poverty by 2030," she said.

Sheikh Hasina mentioned that Bangladesh has made notable progress on food security, with focused interventions on maternal and child nutrition.

"Our current priority is to address inequalities through income distribution, asset ownership, and social protection," she said.

The prime minister said that Asia-Pacific region must put up a united front in tackling the climate crisis, biodiversity loss, and transboundary pollution.

"We need to push for ambitious climate financing goals beyond 2025 at COP-29. We need to cooperate on cross-border water management and air quality improvement. We must all prepare for growing extreme weather events," she said.

In this connection, she suggested to look into Bangladesh's experience in disaster risk reduction.

"We appreciate UN-ESCAP's support in improving our early warning capabilities," Sheikh Hasina added.

Briefly describing various development programmes and achievements of the government, the prime minister said that much of development gains are affected by climate impacts.

"As a low-lying delta, Bangladesh has no option but to invest heavily in climate resilience," she said.

The premier mentioned that Bangladesh is already recognised as a global leader in climate adaptation.

"We're happy to share our traditional and innovative solutions with other vulnerable countries."

She said that Bangladesh has urged developed and emerging economies in the region to raise their time-bound emission reduction targets.

"For economies in transition, it is important to have a just energy transition."

In Bangladesh, she said, her government is working on long-term energy security with a sound mix of clean and renewable energy. "We shall continue to do our part in pursuing a circular and low-carbon economic growth pathway."

Sheikh Hasina underscored the need for increased and easy access to financing and technology from both the public and private sectors.

"I invite UN-ESCAP to help build the capacity of climate-vulnerable countries to mobilise adequate international climate financing," she said.

Sheikh Hasina said that Bangladesh now provides critical links to the Trans-Asian Highway and Railway networks.

"Our physical and digital infrastructures are being developed to foster regional trade and connectivity."

She said Bangladesh offers access to the Bay of Bengal for land-locked territories in its neighbourhood.

"We stand ready to work together with all regional partners through mutual understanding and cooperation."

Earlier, on her arrival at the conference hall of the United Nations Conference Center (UNCC), Bangkok the audience welcomed her with a standing ovation. The audience applauded the speech of the Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina with repeated clapping.

The prime minister also visited "Smart Bangladesh Pavilion" installed by the ICT Division on the concern venue after her address.

Later, under-secretary general of the United Nations and Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) Executive Secretary Armida Salsian Alisjahbana paid a call on the premier at the meeting room there.