Opening Remarks by the Hon’ble Foreign Minister at
“Green Growth Solutions Conference”, 26 April 2017,
Hotel Radisson Blue, Water Garden, Dhaka
My Colleague Dr. Tawfiq-e-Elahi Chowdhury, BB Energy Adviser for Hon’ble Prime Minister
H.E. Mikael Hemniti Winther, Ambassador of Denmark
Ladies and Gentlemen
AssalamuAlaikum, Adab and very Good Morning,
I am delighted to join you all today at the inauguration ceremony of the Green Growth Solutions Conference. Last year in September, I paid a bilateral visit to Denmark, which was the first ever visit of this kind by any Bangladesh Foreign Minister to the country, when myself and my Danish counterpart agreed to revitalize our bilateral cooperation through development of a broad-based strategic partnership for 2030 agenda for sustainable development and learn from the Danish experiences and expertise in building public-private partnerships, particularly in green growth. Today, I am happy to see that, as a follow up to our joint commitment, we are now hosting this very important event and I thank the Danish Embassy in Dhaka, Nordic Chamber of Commerce and Industry and Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce and Industry for joining hands with the Foreign Ministry as partners to make it happen. I also thank the panelists, discussants and participants who are going to share their experiences and expertise in green growth solutions and help devise mechanism for Bangladesh perspective.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
While pursuing green growth through green industries, it is a key question for the developing countries whether they are to compromise economic growth and prosperity they are seeking. There is growing evidence that attaining cost effective and sustained economic growth is possible through resource efficiency in the life cycle of production and services combined with appropriate green technology and eco-innovation. It also contributes to building eco-friendly sustainable resilient cities.
By all definitions, Bangladesh economy is now at a crossroads. Further growth acceleration is essential to make a transition to a higher growth path in order to obtain the middle-income country status by 2021. At the same time, the need for an inclusive and sustainable growth – for a greener, resource efficient, climate-smart, and more competitive economy is felt more than ever before. Therefore, we must carve out an innovative solution in order to make a breakthrough in several areas of policy making and institutional processes to achieve social and environmental targets under the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030. Given Bangladesh’s reality, however, we cannot do it overnight, but we are cognizant of the fact that we need to embolden our existing efforts to shift from brown to green growth making production and consumption more sustainable, increasing quality of life and, more importantly, reducing impacts of and on the climate change. While we aim to achieve 8% growth rate in GDP by 2020 under our 7thFive Year Plan and subsequently attain 9-10% growth rate by 2030, we are mindful of the stiff economic, social and environmental goals and targets to be achieved by 2030. In this context, I am happy to see that the themes of the Conference have been chosen taking into account the SDGs, targets of COP21 and our own 7th Five Year Plan -to make the event very relevant to cater to our specific needs.
Bangladesh is adopting a two-fold strategy against climate change. The main focus is on increasing resilience to the impacts of climate change – which is important to address the adverse impacts of climate change that are affecting the livelihood of millions of people and the economy as a whole. At the same time, Bangladesh is also working towards achieving lower carbon climate resilient development. The country is investing a huge amount of domestic resources to carry forward the green activities meaningfully in line with national policies, strategies and master plans, such as the National Industry Policy, Renewable Energy Policy, Sustainable Development Strategy, National 3R (Reduce, Reuse, and Recycling) Strategy, Bangladesh Climate Change Strategy and Actions Plan, Energy Efficiency and Conservation Master Plan, to name a few.
To be specific, Bangladesh has put greater emphasis on energy efficiency, energy conservation and utilization of renewable energy in industry and housing sector. More than 4 million solar home systems have been installed across the country serving 16 million populations. On industrial process, the country promotes cleaner production with the principle of resource efficiency and resource recycling. As a case in point, the Government as well as the Judiciary had to consistently pursue ways to convince the owners of tannery industry in Hazaribag for eventual relocation outside Dhaka city.
Many industrial enterprises, particularly textile and garments industries have obtained LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Certification from US Green Building Council. On housing sector, green elements have been incorporated in our National Building Code. Furthermore, special attention has been given to promote the utilization of energy saving electric appliances. On managing municipal solid waste, initiatives on producing waste to compost fertilizer, waste to quality fuel and electricity have been taken. However, we have to go miles before we reach to a satisfactory level of green growth.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Appreciably, Denmark has encountered successfully some of the major global challenges like Sustainable economic growth and security of energy and water supply. We acknowledge the achievement of Denmark and welcome Denmark’s leading role in this transition, where Danish economy aspires to be a green and resource efficient economy entirely independent of fossil fuels by 2050. It has deeply embedded green issues such as energy efficiency, renewables, waste and resource management, clean air and water and sustainable cities in its long term planning.
Today’s conference would help key decision makers to enrich their understanding on the concept of green growth itself, its adoption for mainstream economy and its applicability to the Bangladeshi context taking cue from Danish green growth experiences in the private and public sectors. Bangladesh can be immensely benefited from the evidence-base and literature that will be covered during the conference.
This year’s Green Growth Solutions Conference aims to nurture and create conditions for the Bangladesh economy to keep growing in light of the Sustainable Development Goals. While transition to green growth poses challenges to Bangladesh, it also offers a range of opportunities. We hope this conference will generate ideas to devise strategies on how Bangladesh can better tap into the opportunities and move towards a sustainable development pathway. I am confident that the deliberations at the Conference would substantially contribute to raising much-needed awareness of all the stakeholders as well. Such awareness may be instrumental in developing home-grown, country-specific policy and programmes to promote inclusive and green growth in Bangladesh.
I also hope that the conference will bring together national and international sector specialists in the areas of green growth. We expect concrete recommendations to be formulated as a way forward. It might be a pivotal Endeavour for Denmark and Bangladesh that this conference inspires policy makers and business to set course for a green transition of Bangladeshi economy.
Now, Ladies and Gentlemen, I have the pleasure to declare the Conference open and I wish you all the success.
Joy Bangla, Joy Bangabandhu.