Global Roundtable, hosted by GFDD and FUNGLODE in Santo Domingo, welcomes Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Bangladesh to the United Nations, Dr. A. K. Abdul Momen

August 17, 2011

As part of the continuing series of Global Roundtables, GFDD and FUNGLODE had the pleasure of receiving Bangladesh’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Dr. A. K. Abdul Momen, to FUNGLODE headquarters for an interesting discussion. Ambassador Momen also serves in the capacity as Vice President of the UN’s Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC).
Bangladesh, under the leadership of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina,
has been implementing a new economic model that aims at enhancing democracy, ensuring public participation in nation building  efforts, emphasizing job creation and achieving sustainable peace and prosperity through the application of Information & Communication Technology (ICT).  An ardent believer of the dramatic role ICTs play in development, Dr. Momen believes that the effective use of ICTs could accelerate Bangladesh’s development goals
Dr. Momen explained that the Prime Minister is taking aggressive steps towards achieving many of the UN’s Millenium Development Goals (MDG’s) through a myriad of social and economic programs designed to a) reduce the incidence of poverty by ensuring food security through increasing agricultural subsidies; b) provide micro-credit to create jobs and entrepreneurs; c) enhance social safety nets through guaranteed job
opportunities and increased education & literacy programs. 
In spite of  resource constraints, Ambassador Momen went on to say that the Prime Minister’s strategy has already began showing dramatic results and that Bangladesh, once termed a ’bottomless basket case’ in early 1970s, is now a ’model for economic development’ and on track towards achieving most of the MDG
goals in the very near future.  In this regard, he cited that the poverty level in Bangladesh has been reduced from 59% to 32% and primary school enrolment has reached 99 per cent, second highest in South Asia.

As Vice President of ECOSOC and as Chair of the UN Second Committee that deals with economic and social issues, Dr. Momen expressed disappointment that neither the G-8 nor the G-20 were able to develop a strategy to help cope with and improve the global
financial crisis after the recent fallout of the New York stock market as well as, in 2008-09 when markets around the world experienced the worst economic downturn in recent memory. He added that the trillion-dollar stimulus package the G-8 came up with after the historic financial crisis of 2008 did not directly help the developing or the LDC countries thereby making the case that the UN-ECOSOC should take a more active role in these areas.

Ambassador Momen concluded by
stating that in spite of natural disasters, high population density, lack of resources, and the global financial crisis, Bangladesh has maintained a nearly 6% growth rate in recent years and in 2011 this number is expected to exceed 6.7%.

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