UN welcomes PM’s attendance at UNGA: Seppo


UN Resident Coordinator in Bangladesh Mia Seppo on Sunday said the UN welcomes Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina as she is joining the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in person expecting that the premier will raise most pressing issues facing Bangladesh currently.

“Advancing the discourse on the climate crisis, building a more equitable, green recovery from COVID-19, and facilitating vaccine equity – key focus areas (those are) expected in PM Sheikh Hasina’s (UN) GA address,” she said.

She made this remarks at the ‘DCAB Talk’ organized by Diplomatic Correspondents Association, Bangladesh (DCAB) at the Foreign Service Academy in the capital.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina is now on the way to New York, her first ever overseas tour after outbreak of COVID-19, to join the UNGA and she is scheduled to address the general assembly on September 24.

Mentioning that Bangladesh will host an event on the sideline focusing on the Rohingya crisis during the UNGA, US Resident Coordinator Seppo expected that it would attract high level participation of UN member states.

“Despite challenges of its own, Bangladesh has played a critical role in a defining tragedy of our time: the Rohingya crisis,” she said.

She said Bangladesh government, the international community, and the Rohingya have a common vision that the solution to the crisis lies in Myanmar.

“The most visible, durable solution is the voluntary repatriation of refugees in safety, dignity, and sustainability,” she added.

In 2021, she said under the leadership of Bangladesh government and through extensive partnerships, the humanitarian community is delivering life-saving assistance and support to Rohingyas and host communities within an increasingly resource-strained environment, compounded by Covid-19, devastating monsoon rains and multiple fire outbreaks in the camps.

Noting that global efforts continue to strengthen diplomatic efforts to restore stability in Myanmar, Seppo said the UNSG’s Special Envoy continues to seek national consultations to find a resolution to the crisis.

“However, the situation is even more complex after 1 February 2021,” she said adding that The UNGA will provide another critical opportunity to discuss the way forward of the Rohingya crisis.

Replying to a question, The UN local chief said that the UN is at the final stage of starting operations for the Rohingyas in Bhashan Char.

The UN is already in talks with the Bangladeshi NGOs working in Bhashan Char on how to work effectively there.

She said Bangladesh government has made huge investments in Bhashan Char to make it a livable place but there were rather negative publicity.

Seppo said Covid-19 pandemic has amplified the challenges of inequality, achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, gender disparity.

“Improved gender equality has a multiplier effect on achieving other SDGs, and statistically, more gender equal countries are more peaceful,” she said.

However, Seppo said, the impact of COVID-19 has amplified the pre-existing global trend of a reversal of gender equality and women’s rights.

The Resident Coordinator said as Bangladesh graduates the LDC status, it will have opportunities but also faces the challenges of inequality, which needs to be addressed very effectively, she said.

She said there is no development without peace and no peace without development and sustaining peace is a continuous process.

While approaching Seppo said that the UN may provide assistance in electoral process to Bangladesh if there is any request from the Bangladesh government in this regard.

“The UN doesn’t provide electoral assistance unless we’re asked to provide,” she said.

About the Climate change issues, Seppo said the world needs a deeper dive to address the grave dimension of the emergency due to global warming.

DCAB president Pantho Rahaman and its general secretary AKM Moinuddin also spoke.