Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Friday asked the international community to take steps for an amicable end to the Ukraine war as the prolonging coupled with sanction and counter-sanction is destabilizing the world.
“I emphasize again on the urgent need for an amicable end to the Ukraine war. The prolonging war and the imposed sanctions and counter sanctions continue to destabilize the world,” she said.
The premier made this call while addressing a meeting of the Global Crisis Response Group (GCRG) on Food, Energy and Finance through a videoconference from her official residence Ganabhaban.
Hasina said each passing day of the war takes as well as destroys many lives in the conflict zone, and also in the far-reaching corners of the world.
She said the ever-growing crisis and its devastating effects on humanity, the conflict in Ukraine goes on. “In fact, newer sophisticated armaments of war are being introduced everyday bringing yet more destruction causing severe adverse effects on people’s lives all over the world,” she said.
The premier said poverty and inequalities continue to sharply rise, and the debt burden for the poorer countries to swell. “These and other shocks have driven up the prices of food, energy, and other commodities the world over, causing delay in the progress of Sustainable Development Goals,” she said.
“During this time of growing instability, international cooperation is clearly vital to the vulnerable among the global community to build resilience against future shocks,” she added.
Sharing a few specific thoughts in the current global context, Sheikh Hasina said, “We urgently need a reformed international financial architecture providing fiscal space to LDCs and developing countries with access to concessional, low-cost, low-interest-rate funds, with no strings attached.
She said developing countries must also have easy access to funds in times of crises and disasters, including equitable access to IMF’s SDR funds during emergencies. Also, to funds from IFIs and MDBs at lower rates, which should actually be suspended till the crises have been overcome, she said.
The PM said factors that affect food price and access, such as export restrictions, stockpiling and supply chains distortions must be addressed.
“In this regard, we fully support the Secretary General’s call to keep markets open, remove export restrictions and release food reserves to improve food supply. We also congratulate the Secretary General for his Black Sea Initiative that needs to be extended further to feed people and save lives,” she said.
Noting that energy has to be managed prudently, the PM said, “Our government supports energy transition by providing policy support and encouraging domestic public and private investments in energy sectors, and on green energy transition.”
She said food and energy security and climate change are connected. Burning of fossil fuels drives climate change which increases frequency and intensity of natural disasters. This again affects agriculture, food production and human displacement. “Therefore, transition to sustainable energy, food production, and climate actions are imperative,” she added.
The PM said she believes that the GCRG’s recommendations from its three Policy Briefs and the report “A World of Debt” are excellent. These will facilitate decision-making and global consensus on necessary actions. “We must all champion the “Key Asks” of our interest,” she said.
Citing that Bangladesh has made some tough fiscal and policy choices in this bad time, she said her government works hard to keep inflation down; encourage the people to grow food leaving no land uncultivated.
“Importantly, we made sure that no person suffers from lack of food,” she said.
Mentioning that this year, 2023, is meant for stocktaking of implementation of the Paris Agreement, Sheikh Hasina said, “We wish to see concrete progress on “Loss and Damage Fund”, and access to available climate funds streamlined. Also, developing countries should not be affected by the proposed carbon levy in the shipping sector. We expect to see projects launched under the Global Shield against Climate Risks.”
The GCRG was set up by the UNSG in March 2022 to address urgent and critical global issues pertaining to interlinked crises in food security, energy, and finance and to coordinate a global response. The GCRG is overseen by the Champions Group comprising of HOS/ HOGs of Bangladesh, Barbados, Denmark, Germany, Indonesia and Senegal.