October 20, 2021, 1:07 pm

Diplomatic correspondent

2021-09-21 20:42:23 BdST

PM's presence in UNGA expected to intensify climate campaign: Momen

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's presence in person in UN General Assembly (UNGA) is expected to intensify the climate change campaign alongside giving momentum to demands for equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines.

"She has come to New York in person to attend the UNGA for people's welfare. Issues like the Covid-19, climate change and food security are meant for peoples' welfare," foreign minister Dr AK Abdul Momen told a media briefing in New York.

He added: "The Prime Minister's in person presence in the UNGA will give a momentum to global campaigns on those issues."

The minister said food security was another major issue in Bangladesh agenda for the 76th UNGA general debate when the premier was expected to put on her efforts to engage international community including the UN to act in addressing the matter.

Sheikh Hasina arrived in New York on September 19 and is scheduled to address the session on September 24 while by now she joined a closed-door meeting of 30 heads of government on climate change hosted jointly by British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and UN Secretary General and Antonio Guterres.

Momen said 2021 is a great year for the climate issue as it saw the United States returning to the Paris Agreement and is set to witness the COP 26 in Scotland in November next which was likely "give some good results regarding climate change issues".

Foreign secretary Masud Bin Momen, Bangladesh's permanent representative to the UN Rabab Fatima and Prime Minister's Press Secretary Ihsanul Karim were present at the briefing at Lotte New York Palace hotel on Monday (New York local time).

Momen said Sheikh Hasina earned her status as a brave leader on the world stage as she continued to campaign with her strong voice to establish Covid-19 vaccine as a public goods.

He added that the Bangladesh premier travelled to New York in her first official engagement outside Bangladesh in the past 19 months defying risks of coronavirus pandemic as Dhaka believed her presence in high level events and meetings with world leaders will ensure welfare of the people.

Momen said during the period she, however, joined 1,500 international meetings using virtual platforms, staying indoors due to the pandemic.

The Prime Minister is campaigning for a UN declaration of Covid-19 vaccine as a global public goods since production of the vaccines to bring everyone across the globe under the inoculation coverage.

Momen echoed her saying, "each country should get the vaccine without any discrimination" while the vaccine availability was yet to be ensured till date.

He said a high level event will be held on the issue of Rohingya repatriation at the UN with participation of all stakeholders like Saudi Arabia, Turkey, UK, Indonesia, ASEAN, Zambia, OIC, and Bangladesh.

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