Bangladesh’s Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, while participating in a high-level panel discussion titled “South-South and Triangular Cooperation” in Paris Peace Forum (PPF) said, the North could realize their own agreed development commitments through supporting South-South development programs.
She said: “Many developed countries still fall behind their internationally agreed development commitments. For them, supporting South-South development cooperation programs can be one way of realizing their own commitments”.
Mentioning that a good number of home-grown development solutions are already available in the Global South, Sheikh Hasina said: “With additional financing, many of these solutions can be implemented and scaled up across other developing countries, and this can help avoid re-inventing the solution in the name of technical assistance”.
Sheikh Hasina noted that there are better chances for South-South cooperation to respond directly to national development priorities. “The financing and technological support of the North can help enhance the transparency and cost-effectiveness of South-South cooperation programs”.
Referring to Bangladesh’s offer to set up a “South-South Knowledge and Innovation Centre” placed in 2019, Sheikh Hasina said, “It would ideally serve as a platform for co-creating technological solutions for development challenges in the South”.
In this connection, she urged the UN, G20 and OECD to consider investing in such forward-looking proposals.
Bangladesh Prime Minister said the idea of South-South cooperation is around the world community for more than four decades, which has found its place in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
She observed that South-South cooperation initiatives have been on the rise in recent years and many of them stand out for their creative development solutions.
“Yet, South-South cooperation tends to take a back seat in international development discourse. It has been hard to change the traditional thinking and narratives around international development cooperation as such many potential South-South cooperation projects remain under-funded”.
Sheikh Hasina said, “The idea of triangular cooperation has not lived up to its potentials, and this gap needs to be addressed”.
Mentioning that an uneven response is being witnessed to globalization around the world, she said, “During the COVID-19 pandemic, we have seen international governance system failing millions of people in the Global South. The huge gap in access to vaccines and treatments is only too telling”.
A number of developing countries like Bangladesh have the capacity to ensure vaccine equity and quality. “We need support with technical know-how or TRIPS waiver to go into large-scale vaccine production for sharing vaccines with the rest of the world,” she added.
She went on saying that Bangladesh have been reaching out to a number of its friendly countries with emergency medical supply and other provisions during the pandemic and in one case, it sent out its trained workforce to administer the vaccines.
Highlighting that Bangladesh has been working on sharing its own development experience with other countries for many years now, Sheikh Hasina said, “Our achievements in agriculture, community health care, non-formal education, reproductive health, disaster management and micro-finance have reached out in other parts of the world”.
“Building on our work in the last twenty years, we have offered to engage in humanitarian assistance for the brotherly Afghan people under UN initiatives,” she mentioned.
On the home front, she said, as Bangladesh graduates from the LDC status, the country aims to work on setting up own platform for international economic and technical cooperation.
“The platform will help coordinate and expand the work of our value-based diplomacy, and the multiple ways it contributes to international development, peacekeeping and humanitarian efforts”, she added.
Mentioning that Bangladesh has always taken up the cause of the world’s least developed countries (LDCs), she said, “We are now serving as the voice of climate vulnerable countries, and our commitment to the Global South is long-standing and proven”.
Sheikh Hasina a statesman and Bangladesh a role model
In the eyes of the international community, while Sheikh Hasina is seen as the most dynamic statesman who has already succeeded in elevating an economically struggled country into the socio-economic star just within the span of twelve years, the success story of Bangladesh is being applauded as a role model to most of the developing and under-developed nations in the world.
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