Dhaka, May 18 (UNB) - United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has called on the world’s decision-makers to make “enlightened” choices on climate action because “the whole planet” is at stake.
“Over the past week, I’ve witnessed firsthand the impacts of climate change in the Pacific Island States,” the UN chief said in a statement on Friday concluding a week-long visit to the South Pacific.
He said: “They contribute very little to the global climate emergency and yet, they’re the ones that are being most affected.”
The UN chief, according to UN News, did not mince words in saying that for some of them, “climate change is now an existential threat”.
Pointing out that entire villages are being relocated, livelihoods destroyed and people becoming sick from climate-related diseases, Guterres lamented: “The risks are all too real”.
The UN chief found “remarkable” that the countries facing these enormous challenges, have decided that “they are not giving up” but are instead “determined to find solutions”.
Not only have they developed ways to increase their resilience and adaptation, but according to Guterres, “they are leading the way in reducing emissions and are an example that the rest of the world should follow”.
Reiterating the powerful message that he has continued to underscore throughout his visit to the South Pacific, the UN chief stressed that “climate change cannot be stopped by the small island countries alone, it has to be stopped by the rest of the world” and that this requires the political will for “transformational policies in energy, mobility, industry and agriculture”.
Guterres echoed the “three urgent messages” to world leaders that he had “consistently conveyed” throughout his visit to the Pacific, beginning with shifting taxes from salaries to carbon. “We need to tax pollution, not people,” he reiterated.
Second, he flagged that countries must stop subsidising fossil fuels.
“Taxpayers’ money shouldn’t be used to boost hurricanes, spread drought and heatwaves, melt glaciers and bleach corals,” he asserted.
And third, he argued against building new coal plants by 2020, saying “we need a green economy not a grey economy”.
Guterres said solidarity or generosity is not being sought, “it is enlightened self-interest from all decision-makers around the world” that is needed “because it’s not only of the Pacific that is at stake, it’s the whole planet”.
“To save the Pacific is to save the whole planet,” concluded the Secretary-General.
Dhaka, May 18 (UNB) - Prime Minister’s International Affairs Adviser Dr Gowher Rizvi on Saturday said the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), launched by Chinese President Xi Jinping, would help Bangladesh achieve its development goals showing the path where Bangladesh wants to go.
“So, we need not to worry. I want to emphasise very clearly - this is not a zero-sum game, it’s a positive-sum game. We can benefit from all various initiatives,” he said ruling out any conflict with any country or other regional initiatives which are already in place.
The foreign affairs expert said Bangladesh’s support and participation in the BRI does not exclude the country from participating in other initiatives in the region, and will have no conflict with any country.
“Our Prime Minister (Sheikh Hasina) for the last 10 years has been emphasising the importance of connectivity,” Dr Rizvi said adding that the Prime Minister sees connectivity as the mechanism and route to which Bangladesh’s prosperity and stability will be built.
He was addressing a launching ceremony of Bangladesh-China Silk Road Forum held at the Jatiya Press Club.
Chinese Ambassador to Bangladesh Zhang Zuo, Chairman of the Forum and former Industries Minister Dilip Barua, former Information Minister Hasanul Haq Inu, BNP standing committee member Dr Abdul Moyeen Khan and writer Syed Abul Maksud, among others, spoke at the event.
Dr Rizvi said the BRI is not only an important initiative of their time but also it goes very well with the priorities of Bangladesh.
“We’ve launched our own connectivity BBIN (Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal), we had already joined BCIM (Bangladesh, China, India, Myanmar) economic corridor. We’re a member and hosting Bimstec,” he said adding that all these initiatives coming together - BRI is really in many ways a purpose-made initiative for advancement.
Recalling Bangladesh’s foreign policy goal, Dr Rizvi said Bangladesh not only can take advantage of the BRI but also can promote its national interest, national prosperity, peace and stability.
“We must keep (us) out of global rivalry. We need to think of our own interest within our own ideological framework,” he said.
Dr Rizvi said there is also Indo-Pacific Strategy which India is promoting. “We, in Bangladesh, don’t see any conflict between these two initiatives.”
He said both the initiatives will have their own reasons and purposes to advance their goals and prosperity.
The adviser said these are essentials for Bangladesh’s goals and aim - various inspirations, Vision 2021, Agenda 2030 and developed country by 2041. “And these all will collectively facilitate where we want to go.”
Dr Rizvi said it is also very important to remember the trend of Indo-China relations over the last 10 years saying India is one of the largest trading partners of China.
Regarding the formation of the Forum, he said they have no reservation about it and want to absolutely welcome this initiative and congratulate all those who are associating in creating it.
Chinese Ambassador Zuo said Bangladesh and China need to work together to push the bilateral relations towards a new era and better future bringing more benefits to both peoples.
“As next year will mark the 45th anniversary of China-Bangladesh diplomatic ties, we need to work together to create a congenial atmosphere for cooperation, and deepen our policy connectivity and people-to-people bond,” he said.
Ambassador Zuo said the Bangladesh-China Silk Road Forum has been launched at the right moment when there is a lot to be achieved.
He said Bangladesh’s diplomatic policy of “Friendship to all, malice to none”, and President Xi Jinping’s Thought on Diplomacy, both have provided new opportunities for win-win cooperation for the two countries.
The envoy said Bangladeshi people’s dream of a strong and wealthy nation, manifested in the dream of ‘Sonar Bangla’, and the Chinese dream of national rejuvenation pursued by the Chinese people is interconnected and share many common merits.
He hoped the Forum would pay attention to telling good stories about China-Bangladesh friendship, passing on the voices in the communication and exchanges between the two countries, and building this forum into an important bridge for China-Bangladesh connectivity.
Dilip Barua said the concept of Silk Road is important for Bangladesh’s economic development with enhanced connectivity on all fronts.
He said a 49-member Forum is formed under his leadership with The Financial Express Executive Editor Shahiduzzaman Khan as its secretary general.
The Chinese envoy said Bangladesh is an important partner for China in the BRI and in production capacity cooperation in South Asia and the Indian Ocean region from every angle, including its location, the size of its population, it market potential and the cooperation scope.
China remains the largest trading partner to Bangladesh, while in 2018, Bangladesh became the 2nd largest trading partner to China in South Asia, and the biggest market for engineering contracts signed, according to Chinese Embassy in Dhaka.
The bilateral trade reached US$ 18.74 billion, up by 16.8 percent year on year.
Dhaka, May 17 (UNB) – Indonesia on Friday informed Bangladesh that a comprehensive response team of Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) will soon visit Rakhine State and Cox’s Bazar to prepare a comprehensive need assessment.
Dhaka and Jakarta agreed to enhance the role of Asean in repatriation of forcibly displaced Rohingyas sheltered in Bangladesh, the foreign ministry said in a statement.
State Minister for Foreign Affairs M Shahriar Alam, currently in Jakarta, had a “fruitful” meeting with Foreign Minister Rento Marsudi. They discussed the Rohingya crisis, among others issues of mutual interest.
Alam briefed Marsudi about the outcome of latest Joint Working Group Meeting in Nay Pyi Taw.
Earlier, Bangladesh floated the idea that Myanmar could agree to creating a safe zone under the direct supervision of Asean to ensure safety and security of Rohingyas, to have them return voluntarily.
State Minister Alam is leading a four-member delegation to Jakarta to garner Indonesian support in an initiative called South and South East Asian Cooperation (SEACO).
He handed over a formal letter of invitation to Marsudi for attending the upcoming conference in Dhaka.
Bangladesh has taken the initiative to host SEACO’s launching conference in Dhaka towards the end of June 2019 with expected participation of foreign ministers along with public and private stakeholders.
It is a private sector and track-II level Forum of five OIC countries in the region – Bangladesh, Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia and Maldives – aiming to advance regional economic integration.
The Forum is going to function in the model of World Islamic Economic Forum exclusively with the agenda of economic cooperation among the member countries and their neighbourhoods.
The Bangladesh delegation also met Indonesian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and Indonesian Investment Coordinating Board.
Alam’s delegation included Bangladesh High Commissioner to Indonesia Major General Azmal Kabir, Dr Shammi Ahmed, international affairs secretary of Awami League, Executive Chairman of SEACO Foundation Bangladesh Salauddin K Khan, adviser Dr Abdul Mazid and other officials of the ministry and Bangladesh High Commission.
Dhaka, May 17 (UNB) - UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Friday urged everyone to work together to ensure that the digital economy delivers for all.
“We must also recognise our shared responsibility to ensure that these technologies are not used to incite violence, to fuel hatred, or to mislead the public,” he said in a message marking the World Telecommunication and Information Society Day that falls on May 17.
He said that everyone must remain alert to these and other perils while joining efforts to harness technological advances for the common good.
The world is celebrating the 50th anniversary of the World Telecommunication and Information Society Day, highlighting the importance of international technology standards in accelerating innovation worldwide.
“Technological advances such as 5G and the - Internet of Things - have the potential to deliver considerable social and economic benefits and to drive progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals,” said the UN chief.
He said the standards-making process of the International Telecommunication Union is more important than ever.
Guterres commended ITU’s commitment to inclusivity, consensus and bridge-building among governments, companies and universities from all regions of the world.
Dhaka, May 17 (UNB) – Japanese Ambassador to Bangladesh Hiroyasu Izumi has said the coming three years are very important in the relations between Bangladesh and Japan.
He said the year 2021 is the 50th anniversary of the independence of Bangladesh, and the following 2022 will mark the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relationship between the two countries.
“And to commemorate these anniversaries, a number of big development projects are underway,” said the Japanese envoy while addressing a reception on Thursday celebrating the Emperor Naruhito’s accession to the Imperial throne.
Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen who attended the reception as the chief guest said in the new era, ‘Reiwa’, the deep bond of friendship between the two countries will grow stronger and even stronger.
He said: “As in the past - I’m confident - Japan will continue to be our trusted partner in our endeavor to realize Prime Minister Sheikh Hashina’s “Vision 2021”.
The Japanese Ambassador said Japan has always been the single biggest bilateral development partner for Bangladesh.
Last year, the amount of ODA, Official Development Assistance, to Bangladesh is around two hundred billion yen, which is equivalent to about US$ 1.8 billion.
The envoy expects that the number of Japanese investors will rapidly increase in the coming years. Now 279 Japanese companies are working in Bangladesh, according to Japanese Embassy in Dhaka.
Prime Minister’s Advisor Salman F Rahman, State Minister for Power, Energy and Mineral Resource Nasrul Hamid, State Minister for Cultural Affairs KM Khalid, government officials, representatives of diplomatic missions or international organizations shared the joy to celebrate the opening of the new Imperial Era, ‘Reiwa’, meaning ‘Beautiful Harmony’.
Ambassador Izumi wished all happiness and prosperity in the new era of ‘beautiful harmony’, and beyond.