Vaccine equity, Rohingya, climate change on top of Hasina’s UNGA agenda

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Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen briefs media in Dhaka on September 16 highlighting Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s participation at the UNGA. Photo: Collected

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina is expected to focus on the issues relating to equity in vaccine sharing, sustainable recovery, climate change and Rohingya crisis at the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA).

Prime Minister Hasina left Dhaka on Friday (Sept 17) morning on a two-week official visit to attend the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in New York and other engagements with a stopover in Helsinki, Finland.

Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen and State Minister for Foreign Affairs M Shahriar Alam are accompanying the Prime Minister.

This is the Prime Minister Hasina’s first overseas visit since the outbreak of the Covid-19 in March 2020. Earlier, she addressed the UNGA for 17 times and this would be her 18th joining the UNGA.

The theme of this year’s UNGA is “Building resilience through hope-to recover from Covid-19, rebuild sustainably, respond to the needs of the planet, respect the rights of people, and revitalize the United Nations.”

While sharing the key engagements of the Prime Minister, Dr Momen said she will address the UNGA on September 24 in Bangla and in-person.

The Prime Minister will highlight Bangladesh’s impressive development journey, inclusive economic development, and success in the health sector, said the Foreign Minister.

Bangladesh will host a side event on the Rohingya issue titled “Rohingya crisis: Imperatives for a sustainable solution” where many countries are expected to voluntarily join.

The OIC, ASEAN and European countries have already responded positively.

"Covid-19 vaccines should be a public good without any discrimination," Dr Momen said adding that Bangladesh will strongly raise the issue.

He said there will be a number of bilateral meetings on the sidelines of the UNGA.

The Prime Minister will deliver a speech at a programme titled “UN Common Agenda: Action to achieve Equality and Inclusion.”

A high-level meeting titled “UN Food Systems Summit” will also be held this year. Another high-level meeting titled “International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons” will be held on September 28.

On September 22, the Prime Minister will deliver her speech at “White House Global Covid-19 Summit: Ending the pandemic and building back better.”

The Prime Minister is expected to plant sapling on the UN headquarters premises, marking the birth centenary of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.

Ahead of the COP26, the UNGA will discuss the climate change issue, which is very important for Bangladesh.

"We would seek to keep the global temperature below 1.5 degrees Celsius, funding for both mitigation and adaptation,” said Dr Momen.

The Prime Minister is scheduled to leave for New York from Helsinki, Finland on September 19 after her stopover there on September 17-18.

Wrapping up her official visit to New York, the Prime Minister will visit Washington DC where she will stay from September 25 to 30.

The Covid-19 pandemic has proved to be the most challenging period the world has seen since the Second World War, said the UN Secretary-General on Tuesday.

Newly sworn in General Assembly President, Abdulla Shahid of the Maldives, opened the new 76th session, noting that his country’s flag is “flying at the highest peak today”.

He spoke of near-universal “collective anxiety” and hopelessness, not all of which is pandemic-related, saying: “The narrative must change” and that the General Assembly “must play a part in this”.

Programme Schedule

Besides, Sheikh Hasina will attend the opening session of the UNGA general debate on September 21 and other sideline events in the UN headquarters (UNHQ) on September 20-24. She will also have talks with a number of leaders during her stay in New York. The PM is expected to return home on October 1 next.

On September 20 (Monday), the PM will attend a closed-door meeting for a small group of HOSs/HOGs on climate change at the UNHQ at 9am, plant a tree and dedicate a bench at the UN Gardens at 11:30am in honour of the Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman on the occasion of his birth centenary, and lay a floral wreath at the Peace Memorial at the North Lawn of UNHQ at 11:50am.

On Monday, Sheikh Hasina will sit in two separate bilateral meetings with EU Council President Charles Michel at 12:30pm (local time) and with Barbados Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley at 2:45pm at her place of residence. Besides, she will join a virtual event of Sustainable Development Solution Network at 4:00pm.

On September 21 (Tuesday), the PM will attend the opening session of the UNGA general debate at 9:00pm, sit in a bilateral meeting with Denmark Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen in the afternoon and join Business Roundtable on US-Bangladesh Business Council at 4:00pm at the place of residence.

On September 22 (Wednesday), Sheikh Hasina will virtually attend three events. The events are the high-level meeting of the UNGA to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the adoption of the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action at 9:00am, White House Global Covid-19 Summit: Ending the Pandemic and building back better, and a high level side event on Rohingya crisis: imperatives for a sustainable solution at 3:00pm.

On September 23 (Thursday), the Bangladesh PM will attend two programmes by sending her prerecorded statements. These are the Leaders’ Network on ‘delivering on the UN common agenda: Action to achieve equality and inclusion’ to be organised by Swedish Mission to the UN at 8:00am, and the Food Systems Summit, as part of the decade of action to achieve the sustainable development goals (SDGs) by 2030, convened by the UNSG at 1:00pm.

On Thursday, Sheikh Hasina will sit in four separate bilateral meetings with Queen Máxima of the Netherlands at the place of residence, UN Secretary-General António Guterres at 1:30pm, Maldives President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih at 2:00pm and Vietnam President Nguyễn Xuân Phúc at 2:40pm at the UNHQ.

On September 24 (Friday), the Bangladesh Prime Minister will address the UNGA 76 general debate in the morning, sit in a bilateral meeting with Netherlands Prime Minister Mark Rutte at UNHQ, and will virtually join a community programme.

On September 25 (Saturday), Sheikh Hasina will depart New York for Washington DC by a Biman flight at 8:00am. She will stay in Washington DC from 25 to 30 September.

Hasina is scheduled to leave Washington for Dhaka on September 30 and will return home on October 1 after a stopover in Finland.

  • Vaccine Equity
  • United Nations General Assembly (UNGA)
  • Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
  • Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina
  • Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen

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