Prime minister Sheikh Hasina on Thursday said that although COVID-19 pandemic had severely affected economy along with the health issues, it is also showing some silver linings on the change of global efforts to deal with the climate change and growing competition for natural resources.
‘The world is facing unprecedented challenges of the century due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Along with the health issues this virus has severely affected our economy. However, the pandemic is also showing some silver linings on the change of global efforts to deal with the climate change and growing competition for natural resources. We need to tackle this pandemic together,’ she said.
The Prime Minister said this while delivering her speech through video message in the 76th Commission Session of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific.
For the first time in the history the Session was held on virtual platform amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
The theme of the 76th Commission’s session is ‘Promoting economic, social and environmental cooperation on oceans for sustainable development’.
Sheikh Hasina was scheduled to attend the meeting in Bangkok and deliver keynote speech; however, as the session is taking place virtually, prime minister delivered her message through video message.
With a view to strengthening economic cooperation among member countries of the ESCAP, she placed three fundamental ocean issues through ESCAP.
These are — enhanced support for capacity building through sharing of knowledge, expertise and transfer of technology from advanced countries on Blue Economy; necessity of joint research on fisheries development with a view to increasing regional fish production and establishing common platform network in deterring, combating and eliminating illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing; and initiating mapping and management of resource identification and critical coastal habitat and biodiversity protection.
Sheikh Hasina said, ‘The oceans and seas constitute a last resource frontier of the world contributing to our sustenance, help alleviate poverty and offer employment opportunities’.
‘Environmental pollutants are the major hurdles of the marine food-web and require an integrated response for the world economy towards a sustainable, inclusive and resource efficient path of using resources of the oceans,’ she said.
In view of this, she said the government has given utmost importance on promoting the growth of blue economy as part of our long-term national development strategy.
Sheikh Hasina said that Bangladesh has been implementing conservation programmes and using of sustainable and eco-friendly technologies, and a host of other measures to protect freshwater and marine resources.
Bangladesh ambassador to Thailand and permanent representative to the ESCAP Md Nazmul Quaunine was elected chair of the 76th Commission of UNESCAP. Thailand was elected as the vice-chair.
About being elected as the chair of the 76th Commission’ Session Md Nazmul Quaunine rendered sincere thanks to the 53 member countries of the ESCAP for reposing their confidence in Bangladesh.
Prime minister of Thailand Prayut Chan-o-cha, prime minister of Fiji Josaia Voreqe Bainimarama and prime minister of Tuvalu Kausea Natano also sent their video messages in the opening session.
In the session, the Asia Pacific nations have agreed to cooperate in addressing the socio-economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemics and adopted a resolution.
A 7-member Bangladesh delegation led by secretary, maritime affairs unit, ministry of foreign affairs Md Khurshed Alam participated in the event and contributed to the session through projecting Bangladesh’s position in different agenda items and Commission’s outcome.
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