Bangladesh High Commissioner to the UK Saida Muna Tasneem has called upon the United Kingdom to be the voice and conscience of the most vulnerable countries including the LDCs, SIDs and countries with special needs, and ensure equitable and affordable access to vaccines and therapeutics manufactured by the UK and other developed countries.
The UK is Chair-in-Office of the Commonwealth and a leading member of the G7, G20 and the OECD.
Tasneem also urged the UK to create a ‘global supply chain sustainability fund’ for post-Covid socio-economic recovery of countries such as Bangladesh, with special reference to the case of unethical cancellations of and non-payment of money for manufactured apparels by UK Retailers victimising the Bangladesh RMG Industry and 4.5 million workers.
She said Bangladesh, under the prudent leadership of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, was not only the first country to manufacture the generic version of the Remdesivir anti-viral drug for Covid-19 with its free access to all hospitals across the country, but also braved the Category 5 super cyclone Amphan by rapidly evacuating 2.5 million people amidst the pandemic while protecting the Rohingyas.
Tasneem made the remarks at a ‘High Commissioners’ Virtual Conference’ organised by the UK FCO Minister of State for South Asia, Commonwealth, the UN and the DFID, Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon recently, said the High Commission on Thursday.
Bangladesh High Commissioner was one of the eight speakers at the conference participated by more than 48 High Commissioners of the Commonwealth, UK's Joint Head of International Engagement of the HMG Coronavirus Taskforce Alastair King Smith and UK FCO High Officials including the Commonwealth Envoy, Philip Parham.
In the exclusive UK Foreign Office Conference, High Commissioner Tasneem also briefed about the innovative and unprecedented initiatives undertaken by Prime Minister Hasina including a $11.50 billion (3.4 percent of Bangladesh GDP) Covid-response social safety emergency aid and incentive package for protecting subsistence and livelihoods of the most vulnerable including daily wagers and garment workers, free access to antiviral medicines and PPEs manufactured in Bangladesh, and nationwide diagnostic kiosks and dedicated Covid hospitals.
British FCO Minister Lord Ahmad, who chaired the virtual conference, conveyed sympathies of the British Government on the loss of lives in Cyclone Amphan, and praised Prime Minister Hasina and her government for taking prompt actions in evacuating 2.4 million people, and her Covid-response initiatives including local manufacturing of generic version of Remdisivir, PPEs and ventilators.
He assured the Bangladesh High Commissioner of continued engagement and support to Bangladesh’s post-covid socio-economic and sustainable development recovery.
British FCO Minister highlighted that the UK aims to ensure a strong and well coordinated global health response to Covid-19, particularly for the most vulnerable countries.
"The UK, along with other G20 members, has suspended debt repayments by the world’s poorest countries until the end of 2020 and has announced up to £764m in aid, £296m of which is for vulnerable countries.”