Ms. Lisa M. Buttenheim, Assistant Secretary General, Department of Field Support
Ladies & Gentlemen
I would like to begin by paying my most sincere homage to the three valiant peacekeepers of Bangladesh who died on 24 September 2017 while serving in the UN Peacekeeping Mission in Mali. My deepest condolences go to the bereaved families and their dear ones. We remain indebted to them for their sacrifice, which they made for the sake of peace.
I thank you all for attending this preparatory meeting on Smart Pledges ahead of the UN Peacekeeping Defense Ministerial in November this year. My sincere gratitude goes to Ms. Buttenheim, ASG, DFS for joining this meeting. As a co-host of upcoming Defense Ministerial I welcome the representatives of the member states for coming from all over the world to participate and contribute in this meeting.
International peace and security is facing many new challenges. In addition to poverty and conflicts, other emerging global issues such as climate change and natural disasters, outbreaks of new diseases, discrimination and persecutions, displacements – all these are posing new threats to the humanity.
Bangladesh itself is currently facing a severe crisis due to influx of forcibly displaced Myanmar nationals. As you know since 25 August 2017, more than half a million Rohingyas have entered Bangladesh to flee ethnic cleansing in their own country. Despite our space and resource constraint we have given them shelter solely on humanitarian consideration. In fact even before the current influx began, we had been hosting nearly 400,000 Rohingyas from Myanmar for three decades. The protracted presence of these forcibly displaced Myanmar nationals in our country is creating multidimensional problem for us.
Bangladesh believes in peaceful settlement of international dispute. Accordingly our Hon’ble Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has presented her five –point proposal in the UN General Assembly. In line with that we would like to peacefully resolve this issue at the earliest possible.
Ladies & gentlemen
UN Peacekeeping is a core element of Bangladesh’s foreign policy. We attach high importance to peacekeeping to promote international peace and security. Our contribution to UN peacekeeping is guided by our constitutional values and underpinned by the convictions that only the UN can legitimately intervene in conflict situations that poses threat to international peace and security. As such, if properly planned and supported, peacekeeping is the most effective way to address crises around the world.
Bangladesh has never failed to respond to UN’s call for peacekeeping. We also put our highest efforts in the global initiatives to strengthen planning, capacity building and mandate of peacekeeping. We believe, there are practical ways, where the troops and police contributing countries can strive together to better address the present and future need of UN peacekeeping.
Peace operations today are more complex than they were during the early days of the ‘Blue Helmets’. UN peacekeeping operations now need to address a range of challenges to be made ‘fit for purpose’. To that extent, UN has taken many reform initiatives to improve the effectiveness of UN peacekeeping. As one of the major troops and police contributing countries to UN peacekeeping, Bangladesh is deeply engaged in the all UN initiatives to contribute in light of our experience.
As peacekeeping has now become more complex, demanding, and dangerous, we are investing in building our forces’ capabilities. We are putting our utmost efforts to maintain our rapid deployment and self-sustaining capabilities. We are committed to increasing female participation in peacekeeping. We attach high importance to protection of civilians. Our ‘zero tolerance’ to sexual exploitation and abuse by peacekeepers will be firmly upheld.
Ladies & gentlemen
Hosting this preparatory meeting asserts Bangladesh’s willingness to remain forefront at the UN peacekeeping endeavors. It also demonstrates a practical way of working together to improve peacekeeping. We hope that in next two days all the participants would engage in meaningful discussion to decide how their respective states can respond better to the call of UN.
I wish the Dhaka preparatory meeting a success. I look forward to seeing the outcome of the meeting reflected in the commitments of your political leaders at the Vancouver Ministerial.
I thank you all.