Closing Remarks by the Hon’ble State Minister Foreign Affairs at
“Green Growth Solutions Conference”
26 April 2017, 04.45-16.55 hrs
Hotel Radisson Blue, Water Garden, Dhaka
Ladies and Gentlemen
AssalamuAlaikum, Adab and very Good Afternoon,
I am privileged to be here today to speak at the closing session of the Green Growth Solutions Conference. I am happy to learn about the very successful deliberations taken place throughout the day on a host of issues critical to green growth in Bangladesh.
Not so long ago, we used to debate on how to achieve prosperity for all through inclusive green economy while protecting the environment. More precisely, the question facing the policy makers, civil society, media, academicians and practitioners was ‘is green growth the pathway to sustainable development’? As we have adopted global compacts like SDGs, COP 20 and 21, we have in the same vein accepted that green growth is a vital tool for achieving sustainable development. But, as sustained growth is essentially tridimensional – economic, environmental and social – it cannot be presumed inherently inclusive and the approach may not be necessarily ‘one size fits all’. In a country like Bangladesh, although green growth is a necessity, the policy must be designed to make it efficient and affordable, to maximize the benefits for the poor and vulnerable, and simultaneously, to minimize the cost and most importantly, any irreversible and negative impacts on the environment must be avoided. Fortunately, we now have examples before as manifested by a country like Denmark that green growth can offer substantial scope for growing cleaner without growing slower.
This morning Hon’ble Foreign Minister emphasized on awareness among all the stakeholders about the opportunities presented by the shift to an inclusive and green economy for achieving prosperity for all in a safe environment. I believe, the Conference outcome would serve well to create that much-needed awareness.
The Conference dealt with three major themes – energy efficiency, waste management and urban water supply management, and I must say these are some of the most critical challenges at this moment for Bangladesh to deal with in the wake of its aspiration to realize Vision 2021, envisaged by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to become a middle-income country by 2021 and to achieve SDGs by 2030. Not only in Bangladesh, all over the world growth has often come at the expense of the environment, but at the same time, unfortunately, growth has not been inclusive enough. In this context, I am encouraged to learn that the Green Growth Solutions Conference held today in Dhaka has not only provided enough food for thought for the government, businesses, civil society, media and other stakeholders but also put forward a set of policy options for a national framework in advancing inclusive green growth in Bangladesh.
Ever since we had opened our Embassy in Copenhagen in May 2015, we identified green growth as of our top priority issues for our Mission there and we pursued ways and means to benefit from Danish experience and expertise in this particular area. I am optimistic that this Conference just held in Dhaka, has been able to bring all stakeholders – the political leadership, the bureaucracy, businesses, civil society, academia, experts and practitioners, among others on board. I also believe that this will provide a meaningful mechanism for a coordinated and principled working relationship among the stakeholders who can facilitate the integration of the multiple dimensions of sustainable development into planning and strategy formulation, policy making and programme implementation. This is important not only to undertake new initiatives but also build on the existing programmes. I am quite sanguine that cooperation in the area of green growth will open up a new horizon of a partnership between Bangladesh and Denmark. For the Danish companies, I may reiterate what the HFM mentioned in the morning that there are huge potentials in Bangladesh for sustainable technologies and solutions which can be exploited for mutual benefits of the peoples of our two countries.
I thank the Danish Embassy in Dhaka, NCCI and MCCI for joining hands with my own Ministry – the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for undertaking painstaking efforts in holding this Conference successfully. I am sure, their endeavours have yielded the desired outcome. It is now our duty to translate our commitment into concrete action and take the level of cooperation between Bangladesh and Denmark to a higher trajectory.
Thank you all!