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Last updated: 5th November 2019

Speech by the Hon’ble State Minister for Foreign Affairs as Guest of Honor at the Inauguration of the Sustainable Apparel Forum 2019

 

·         Honorable Mayor of Dhaka North City Corporation Mr. Md. Atiqul Islam

·         Excellency Mr. Benoit Prefonatine, High Commissioner High Commission of CANADA in Bangladesh

·         Mr. Sheikh Fazle Fahim, Honorable President of FBCCI

·         Mr. Pierre Börjesson, Head of Sustainability - Global Production, H&M Group

·         Mr. Md. MohiuddinRubel, Director, BGMEA; and Managing Director, Bangladesh Apparel Exchange (BAE)

·         Friends from media

·         Ladies and gentlemen

 

I am delighted to join you all at the inauguration ceremony of the 2nd edition of Sustainable Apparel Forum (SAF). I must commend Bangladesh Apparel Exchange, BGMEA and all those who collaborated in this enterprise. I believe this event would an innovative way to showcase the growth opportunities as well as the challenges our apparel industry is facing.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

The Father of the Nation, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, envisioned a poverty-free Bangladesh. Four decades since, his daughter, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, is steadfast in realizing that dream. This is manifest in the Government’s avowed Visions: of graduating Bangladesh as a middle income country by 2021; and as a developed country by 2041.

In global platforms, as many often ask me of Bangladesh’s approach to economic growth and industrialization, I underline of our focus on ‘people’ in each economic activity; and growth-path based on sustainable development, in line with Hon’ble Prime Minister’s commitment to people. For us, ensuring safety, dignity and well-being of every Bangladeshi at work is of primary concern.

In this journey, we do not see any trade-off between people and profit! That is a key strength of the Bangladesh’s development model. Our confidence emanates from our growth experience over the past decades, growing at over 6 percent, which is now over 8 percent. Our people and entrepreneurs continue to show much resilience and innovation in course of attaining the key social and economic development goals. The journey of Bangladesh RMG should also underline how the growth of an industry can contribute to attainment of right to development, democracy and human rights of individuals.

This is the backdrop for the contemporary Bangladesh RMG and knitwear sector. With significant contribution to exports, GDP, employment and to empowerment, the sector is inextricably twined to contemporary Bangladesh success story. For millions across generations, particularly in rural Bangladesh, the industry transformed lives and livelihoods, provided social goods, gave them voices. The industry contributed to attaining ‘equity’ across economic and social groups. In the process, our youth workforce has demonstrated their skills, efficiency and determination. Our entrepreneurs has weathered challenges and ventured into new lands and areas.

Dear Friends,

Contemporary Bangladesh RMG and textile sector is going through transformation, like other sectors of our economy and society. Emergence of fourth industrial technologies has changed many conventional business model of this sector. Meaningful exchange of knowledge can make sustainability easier for the manufacturing excellence across the industry. The industry and the government have been trying to bring in changes, whatever necessary. We have embarked on addressing the gaps, limitations and constraints.

To date, the engagement of Bangladesh has been vindicated by range of policy, institutional and legislative arrangements and measures taken – both by the Government and the industry. From Paris through Geneva, Brussels to Washington, rapidity and sincerity of Bangladesh’s engagements have received recognition.

Being engaged in the global discourses, I note that within the evolving global RMG supply chain, the global brands also require to deliver on their commitments, at similar pace. Their due response is crucial to make the entire industry and the supply chains ‘compliant-competitive-caring’. End of the day, manufacturing is a collective enterprise and is about shared responsibility. Full appreciation and realization of respective roles and responsibilities can truly sustain global supply chain in an industry as RMG. This is all the more so in the context of ‘Responsible Business conduct’ that the global stakeholders pledged to.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I must not be forgetful to appreciate all our friends across the world – in government, business, media, civil society, and academia for reposing their unfettered confidence and trust in Bangladesh.

Let me express my sincere thanks once again to Bangladesh Apparel Exchange and BGMEA for organizing the Sustainable Apparel Forum 2019. I am confident that the ideas and knowledge to be shared in this event will facilitate our journey towards sustainability.

I thank you all.


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