Mr. Md. Ashadul Islam, Senior Secretary,
H.E. Robert Chatterson-Dickson,
Ms. Mia Seppo,
Ambassador Farooq Sobhan,
Dr. M Mosharaf Hossain,
Distinguished guests, ladies, and gentlemen
Assalamualaikum and good morning to everyone.
01. Let me begin by thanking the Green Delta Insurance Company Ltd. for inviting me to this unique event of publishing the SDG Report, first in Bangladesh by any private sector entity. This speaks of sincere sense of responsibility and a matchless vision by the management of the Company which is exemplary for all other private sector bodies, both in Bangladesh and abroad. We are now celebrating the ‘Mujib Borsho’ in commemoration of the birth centenary of our Father of the Nation along with many innovative ideas and events. Publishing of the ‘SDG Report’ by the Green Delta Insurance Company could be considered a commendable innovation on the part of the private sector and I thank the management of Green Delta once again for being the pioneer in this regard.
02. All our development aspirations stem from Bangabandhu’s vision of transforming Bangladesh into a prosperous nation as we move to advance Bangladesh as a digital, middle income country by 2021 and a fully developed country by 2041. In between, the achievement of SDGs by 2030 only adds to our already declared determination and decision of having a prosperous, peaceful but strong Bangladesh “ Sonar Bangla” as dreamt by our Father of the Nation.
03. Bangladesh’s singularly impressive economic achievements in recent years, under the visionary leadership of Bangabandhu’s accomplished daughter, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, have been well recognized at home and abroad. From a ‘bottomless basket’ in early Seventies, Bangladesh today is an economic miracle. Bangladesh has sustained a robust economic growth over the last ten years averaging 6 percent since FY 2009, making it one of the fastest-growing economies in the world. Lst year the highest growth rate in the Asia Pacific at 8.15%,
04. When we discuss about sustainable development, the first thing that comes to our mind is of course, the SDGs. I am fortunate that I was personally engaged in development of these 17 goals and 169 targets.. However, financing for achievement of SDGs will give us some ideas about the total difficult task before us. The estimates in Bangladesh show that an additional amount of US$ 928.48 billion would be needed at 2015-16 constant prices for achievement of SDGs. This amount is around 20% of our accumulated GDP. There is simply no way that we can manage this colossal amount through traditional financing methods. So we have identified five potential sources of gap financing. In approximate value these are: 1. Private Sector Financing for 42%, 2. Public Sector Financing for 34%, 3. Public-Private Partnership (PPP) accounting for 6%, 4. External Financing comprising Foreign Direct Investment (FDI), Foreign aid and grants will contribute 15% and at number 5. Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) will bring in around 4%.
So, we see that with private sector contributing 42% and Public-Private Partnership (PPP) accounting for 6%, almost half of the total finance for SDGs will have to come from the private sector. Here, the role of private bodies like Green Delta is extremely important and I again thank them for rising to the occasion for helping to build Bangladesh through their noble efforts.
Ladies and gentlemen,
05. I am very impressed the way the report had been prepared and the contents were made. The methodology of having a study and associated workshops to reach the goal is the proven path to success. I also see that the data collection process was followed by data compilation, analysis and editing, information gaps were identified and mitigated by consulting the relevant departments. Then after a thorough review process, the content was finalized for the SDG Sustainability Report. So, to produce this report I am happy that thorough professional methods were followed. This made the report more credible.
06. I also see that the report mentions that while the SDGs rely on business contributions to be successful, business does not, at least in the short-term, rely on the SDGs for its commercial success. Here I would raise a bit of caution that whether it is for short term or for long term, we should always make it sure that business supports the sustainable development otherwise, by destroying our planet, we all will be out of business forever.
07. According to the report, Green Delta has chosen 10 priority SDGs based on their business engagements and social contribution. Their programme ‘Nibedita’ is an ideal product of corporate social responsibility. From the report, I have learnt that Nibedita has brought Green Delta Insurance global recognition and it is the first insurance product in South East Asia that has been exclusively developed for women and women empowerment. Nibedita works as a support partner for women to help them reach their goals in the society, workplace and within familial settings. I can hardly think of any product which serves better to ensure women empowerment or goal 5.
08. I am also happy to see that with IFC, Green Delta has partnered to take agricultural insurance to the farmers. This innovative insurance has been very effective in the developed countries and I thank Green Delta for introducing this. Green Delta’s partnership with the Access to Information (A2I) program of the Prime Minister’s Office is enabling us to offer insurance services from nationwide Union Digital Centers. They also joined with the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare in the ‘Shasthyo Suroksha Karmasuchi’ (SSK) project, under which health insurance for the rural poor are provided. These partnerships result into meeting the goals of SDG-17 and also SDG-1.
09. Green Delta can also help our SDG achievement by assisting us to pursue better economic diplomacy. Ever since I have become the Foreign Minister, we have reset our foreign policy objectives and made economic diplomacy as the primary focus in the conduct of our foreign relations. Our economic diplomacy has a four-pronged strategy: (a) expanding Bangladeshi exports to traditional and new markets abroad; (b) attracting ODI and FDI in growing sectors—such as export-oriented manufacturing, light engineering, shipbuilding, agribusiness, ICT, and pharmaceuticals; (c) securing transfer of technology, technical assistance and advisory service; and (d) securing more employment opportunities of Bangladeshi nationals abroad plus engagement of Diaspora in our nation building efforts . In all categories, I believe Green Delta can contribute through different types of activities of the Group.
10. In Conclusion, I believe that the role of private sector and active contribution of the private entities like Green Delta will be useful in setting up Bangladesh’s strategic choices to reach not only the achievement of SDGs by 2030 but also smooth and sustainable LDC graduation by 2024 and becoming a developed country by 2041. Against the rising backdrop of the 50th anniversary, we need stronger partnership between government and the private sector, civil society and non-governmental organizations. This partnership is crucial to ensure that our past development gains are well sustained and can become even more dynamic and inclusive. I again thank Green Delta for their efforts and contribution and for having me here to share their success and happiness.
Joy Bangla, Joy Bangabandhu.