Prime Minister stresses on sustainable development of South Asia

News Desk,
Photo: Collected

Photo: Collected

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Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has called upon the world leaders to ensure sustainable development.

The Prime Minister said, "On this auspicious moment of celebrating the birth centenary of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and the golden jubilee of independence, I call upon the world leaders to ensure sustainable development."

The Prime Minister said this while addressing a function titled ‘Mujib Chirantan’ at the National Parade Square in the capital this afternoon. The President of Nepal was the special guest on the occasion of the birth centenary of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and the golden jubilee of independence.

Sheikh Hasina said, "We live in an area which is considered as a disaster prone area." Countries in the foothills of the Himalayas are prone to natural disasters such as earthquakes, cloud bursts, avalanches, landslides, flash floods while coastal areas like Bangladesh are prone to frequent floods, tidal surges, earthquakes, heavy rains or droughts.

"Global warming and climate change have made the countries of our subcontinent the most vulnerable," she said. While we have not contributed to climate change, we are the most affected. We can temporarily protect ourselves through adaptation, but the adaptation process will fail to provide long-term protection unless the current trend of climate change is stopped.

President Abdul Hamid joined the function as the chief guest. His wife Rashida Khanam was also present on the occasion.

Nepal's President Vidya Devi Bhandari is the third world leader to attend the event. Her daughter Usha Kiran Bhandari also attended the function.

Earlier, Maldivian President Ibrahim Mohammed Salih and his wife Fazna Ahmed attended the opening ceremony and Sri Lankan Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa on the third day.

Today was the 6th day of the ceremony. Today's theme of the 10-day (March 17 to March 26) Mujib Chirantan Program was 'My soil is the soil of Bengal'.

Education Minister Dr. Dipu Moni delivered the welcome address and eminent writer Selina Hessen read the keynote address.

The Prime Minister of Bhutan Lotte Shering will join tomorrow and the Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi is scheduled to arrive in Bangladesh on March 26 to attend the 10-day program.

The Prime Minister said Bangladesh, as the current President of the Climate Vulnerable Forum or CVF, has been urging the world leadership to take immediate steps to tackle climate change. Last year, Global Climate Adaptation, Bangladesh office was launched in Dhaka. The Dhaka office has begun work on tackling the effects of climate change in South Asia.

She expressed her heartfelt thanks and gratitude on behalf of herself and the people of Nepal to the President of Nepal for attending the birth centenary of the Father of the Nation and the golden jubilee of Independence.

Mentioning that Nepal is our close friend state, the Prime Minister said that in our great war of liberation in 1971, the then government of Nepal and the people there extended their helping hand to the freedom-loving Bengalis in various ways.They provided weapons for our freedom fighters.

She said Nepal was one of the first countries to recognize independent and sovereign Bangladesh. In January 1972, Nepal formally recognized Bangladesh.

Sheikh Hasina said, "We remember the contribution of the people of Nepal with gratitude." In recognition of their contribution to the War of Independence, we awarded the 'Friends of Bangladesh' award to 11 citizens of Nepal in 2012 and 2013.

Noting that Bangladesh and Nepal have had excellent friendly relations since independence, the Prime Minister said, "Apart from our geographical proximity, we have almost the same history."

Our position on various international and regional issues is almost one and the same.

She said cooperation between Bangladesh and Nepal in trade and commerce, roads, rail and air communication and power, energy, especially in the hydropower sector, tourism and water management is increasing day by day.

The Prime Minister said, "We have already signed the BBIN (Bangladesh, Bhutan, India and Nepal) agreement." This will further enhance mutual cooperation between the countries of the region. We have allowed Nepal to use our Syedpur Regional Airport and Mongla and Chittagong Seaports.

The Prime Minister said Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib, the Father of our Nation, has always fought for the liberation of the exploited and deprived people. He was vocal about establishing basic human rights. The Father of the Nation wanted the people of independent Bangladesh to be economically self-sufficient. Basic rights like food, clothing, shelter, medicine and education will be ensured for all. But after the assassins and their families were killed on 15 August 1975, the progress of Bangladesh came to a halt.

"In the last 12 years, we have been following the path shown by the Father of the Nation," she said. Bangladesh has achieved enviable success in socio-economic indicators. Last month, Bangladesh received a final recommendation to graduate from a least developed country to a developing country.

The Prime Minister said our friend Nepal has also received a final recommendation to move to a developing country at the same time. I congratulate the Government and people of Nepal on behalf of Bangladesh.

She added that there is no denying that a large number of people in South Asia still live below the poverty line. A large number of people go to sleep every night with or without food. Many are deprived of the basic necessities of life.

Sheikh Hasina said, "It is possible to alleviate the poverty of the people of the region by making proper use of the natural resources of South Asia."

"We will continue our efforts to make the region a poverty-free developed region by maintaining friendly relations with each other," she added.