Dhaka, Bangladesh : Chief Adviser of Bangladesh caretaker government Dr Fakhruddin Ahmed expressed his firm conviction that Bangladesh would set a new standard of democracy and good governance in the developing world.
The Chief Adviser expressed the view while addressing the banquet hosted by him in honour of visiting UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon at Hotel Sheraton in the city on Saturday.
The speaker, advisers, special assistants to the chief adviser, dignitaries, and high civil and military officials were present.
In his banquet speech, Ban Ki-moon said the Bangladesh’s most pressing need is to ensure a peaceful transition to democracy and for the upcoming elected government is to consolidate democracy and reforms.
“This is an opportunity for the country, and in particular the political parties, to address the serious problems that have given rise to the politics of confrontation and violence ” he added.
Ban Ki-moon said much commendable work has been done to prepare for a credible election in December. The photo voter list commands widespread confidence. He said he is proud that the United Nations was able to contribute to this important achievement.
He said it is now important to build on these achievements and to have in place the political and security conditions necessary for a credible election. The protection of human rights is a vital element of this effort. The current dialogue between the government and the political parties must succeed.
But equally important is for an ongoing constructive dialogue to take shape between the leadership of the two main political parties, so as to stabilise and strengthen the quality of democracy in this country, he added.
The UN chief said Bangladesh makes significant contributions to the United Nations. At a time when many nations are reluctant to contribute troops to UN peacekeeping operations, Bangladesh steps forward again and again. Over the past decade, the country has been one of the leading contributors of troops and policemen.
He said more than 9,000 Bangladeshi personnel are now deployed in Africa, Asia and Europe, serving the cause of peace. Bangladesh initiated the annual resolution on a culture of peace by the UN General Assembly.
Ban Ki-moon said, “Bangladesh is a founding member of the both the Peacebuilding Commission and the Human Rights Council. And as the current Chair of the group of least developed countries, you can play an important role in our efforts to achieve UN reforms.”
Bangladesh is a country that has achieved a remarkable success in growth and poverty reduction. The rapid decline in the rate of population growth, and achievement of gender parity in primary and secondary school enrolment also speak to this country’s remarkable capacities, he added.
Ban Ki-moon said the country will need those capacities to meet the challenges ahead. As you know all too well, Bangladesh is on the frontlines of climate change. Rising sea levels could inundate the fertile Ganges delta, displacing a large number of people and undermining the country’s striking achievements in food security.
He said global warming has intensified the recurrent natural disasters to which the country is prone.
Ban Ki-moon said he has been impressed by the government’s efforts to stimulate food production, he said adding by other steps being taken to cushion the blow on those least equipped to absorb the shock. Now, a serious global financial crisis is part of the picture and I share your concern about its impact.
Ban Ki-moon assured that the UN system would remain as a close partner of Bangladesh in facing the challenges ahead.
Dr Fakhruddin said Bangladesh has always been a strong believer in the United Nations and in the pivotal role it plays to promote peace, security and development.
The visit by the UN chief revitalises the unity of purpose that Bangladesh shares with the United Nations. The country that has made long-strides and remains resolute, as ever, to build a society that respects freedom, equity and justice, the chief adviser added.
He said Bangladesh, at its emergence, embraced the ideals and principles of the United Nations. Peaceful co-existence and non- interference in internal affairs of others, complete disarmament and respect for human rights have been the building blocks of our foreign policy.
Dr Fakhruddin said as the UN continues to lead and inspire us, we have also guided the world organization with our own beliefs and visions.
He said Bangladesh has been one of the key architects of the ‘Culture of Peace’ resolution at the General Assembly that seeks to promote understanding for a peaceful world. Our troops – in blue berets under the UN flag – have served in most difficult missions to give peace a chance.
Dr Fakhruddin said it gives us tremendous pride when a small village in Sierra Leone or Liberia decides to honour our peacekeepers. As one of the largest troop contributing countries, we have consistently remained by the side of the UN.
He said Bangladesh continues to surprise the world, not just for its resilience, but also with its capacity for innovation. With micro-finance, we have shown the world that the poor are credit worthy and given a chance, and without much help, they can climb out of poverty.
Dr Fakhruddin said Bangladeshi people are coping with climate change with unparalleled determination and ingenuity. We now have crop varieties that can withstand salinity or inundation.
Referring to nearly two years of the caretaker government, he said we have attempted a series of reforms and succeeded in many of them in order to make democracy strong and sustainable.
Dr Fakhruddin said the caretaker government completely revamped the Election Commission (EC) to ensure its independence and neutrality. The EC with assistance from the UNDP and our development partners and from our own Armed Forces prepared a fresh electoral roll of over 80 million eligible voters with photographs.
He said the voters’ list and amendments in electoral rules, regulations and code of conduct will help ensure that the election on December 18 will be free, fair and acceptable to all.