Message of Mia Seppo, the UN Resident Coordinator in Bangladesh on United Nations Day 2018

It is my honor to celebrate the UN Day in Bangladesh, a country with an interesting development story to share with the world.

During MDG era, Bangladesh was among the frontrunners in bringing girls to school and achieving gender parity in both primary and secondary education, through specific public interventions focusing on girls.

Bangladesh was the first country to frame a progressive Climate Change Strategy and Action Plan in 2009 and subsequently followed the spirit of the Sendai Framework to develop national and local level disaster risk reduction plans.

In its journey as a nation, the UN has been Bangladesh’s proud and trusted partner.

In the global arena, Bangladesh continues to substantively contribute to the peace and development agenda as one of the largest contributors to UN Peacekeeping troops; a lead proponent of the Global Compact for Migration; and by taking proactive roles in G77 and executive boards of UN funds and programmes.

I encourage Bangladesh to use its fourth term as a Member of the Human Rights Council to lend momentum to global, regional and national human rights protection.

Bangladesh has generously opened its doors to Rohingya refugees. Local communities in Cox’s Bazaar and the Government of Bangladesh were the first responders. The Government’s leadership has been instrumental in providing life-saving assistance and protection. The UN and our partners are proud to work in support of the Government’s response to this crisis.

Building on the gains of the MDGs and its early support for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), Bangladesh is now prepared for the next milestone of LDC graduation. It is important to recognize that this is inter-linked with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its 17 far-reaching, people centered, human rights-based SDGs, aimed at leaving no one behind.

The commitment to leaving no one behind means that all goals and targets need to be met progressively for all people in society. In Bangladesh, further action to ensure the rights and empowerment of women is particularly crucial.

The commitment of the 2030 Agenda is to ‘reach the furthest behind first’ – the girl child compelled to choose early marriage over education; the young women with disabilities having no access to safe and decent work; drug users in need of health services; the Bangladeshi youth and the refugee youth who should have productive skills to contribute to society. These are some of the many voices that must be heard. Their active participation as agents of change must be ensured. Good governance and public freedoms, including the rights to expression, association and information must be guaranteed to achieve sustainable development.

The future of Bangladesh lies in today’s youth – we need to listen to and empower them; step up our work with and for them. Quoting the Secretary General, António Guterres in this regard:

“Peace, economic dynamism, social justice, tolerance – all this and more, depends on tapping into the potential power of youth. Not in some distant future, but today. Right now.”

The UN stands ready to support Bangladesh achieving the SDGs and other global goals, norms and standards by leaving no one behind and guaranteeing equality, non-discrimination and human rights.

Happy birthday UN.

Ms. Mia Seppo
UN Resident Coordinator