ICT can accelerate achieving MDG goals in Bangladesh and Global leaders failed
to provide expected global confidence, says Dr. Momen
Bangladesh Ambassador to the UN and Permanent Representative Dr. Abdul Momen while speaking as
the Chief guest at the Global Foundation for Democracy and Development in San Domingo, the capital
city of Dominican Republic stated that the ECOSOC has to take lead role in the area of economic and
financial issues and he was saddened that neither G-8 nor G-20 could come out with strategy to help
improve the expected confidence of the global people after the recent fallout of the New York stock
market or for that matter, in 2008-09 when financial crisis hit the nations. The trillion dollar stimulus
package that G-8 came up with after the historic financial crisis of 2008 did not directly help the
developing or the LDC countries either. They also shy away from finding out a strategy or roadmap that
would ensure hope and more jobs for the unemployed youth that caused topping of governments in the
Middle East. They also failed to take lead in the area of Cyber Security after security breaches including
the WikiLeaks. The inability of G-8 or G-20 is a signal that the UN-ECOSOC should take a leading role in
the said areas. Dr. Momen was invited as the Vice President of ECOSOC and as the Chair of the UN
Second Committee that deals with economic and social issues.
Ambassador Momen (6 from left) is presenting his talk at the Global Foundation for Democracy and Development while
Dominican President Leonel Fernandez Reyna (5 from left) presiding this special event in San Domingo, August 12, 2011.
Ambassador Momen talking to President Leonel Fernandez of the Dominican Republic after his lecture
Speaking as the Chief Guest, he stated that Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has been
implementing a new economic model that aims at (1) enhancing democracy, (2) ensuring public
participation in nation building efforts, (3) emphasizing job creation and (4) achieving sustainable peace
and prosperity through application of information technology or ICT. ’One job to each family’, ensuring
food security through increasing productivity by providing subsidy to agricultural inputs, providing micro
credit to create jobs and entrepreneurs, encouraging savings amongst the most vulnerable through
providing Tk100 a day, by enhancing social safety net and emphasizing 100% literacy program, she is
trying to reduce incidence of poverty level, guaranteeing job opportunities and help achieving MDG
goals. In spite of resource constraints, her strategy is working and delivering results. Bangladesh
termed as ‘bottomless basket case’ in early 1970s is now is a ‘model for economic development’ and it is
either on tract or achieving most of the MDG goals in spite of resource constraints, newer challenges
like erratic climate change, energy crisis, over population and global crises. The poverty level has
reduced from 59% to 32% now and primary school enrolment has reached 99%, second highest in South
Asia. In spite of natural calamities, one of the highest population density, resource constraints and
myriad impacts of global financial crises and price hikes, Bangladesh maintained nearly 6% GDP growth
rate on average in recent years and this year, it will exceed 6.7%, he stated.
President Fernandez is asking a question to Ambassador Dr. Momen.
The meeting was presided over by the President of Dominican Republic Leonel Fernandez Reyna and
was attended by cabinet ministers, diplomats, experts, professors, UN officials and cross section of people
from business and civil society. Dr. Momen was invited to visit Dominican Republic as the Special Guest
of the President.
Speaking at the event, President Fernandez suggested that the ECOSOC should take greater responsibility
and he mentioned about his proposal to adopt an UN Resolution to end ’speculative pricing of essential
items specially energy and food items’. He also invited Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to pay
a visit to his country.
Dominican Republic is a small country with nearly 9 million people and Christopher Columbus first
landed in this island in 1492 when he discovered America. Its major foreign exchange earnings are
through foreign remittance, tourism and export of garments. Like Bangladesh, it had acute shortage of
energy, and global warming and climate change is a serious issue here. However, President Fernandez
who first got elected in 1996 took bold initiatives to digitize his country and to build infrastructure and
meet energy deficiency. His efforts was a success story and now every school children has computers, its
modern roads and highways made it an attractive place for tourists and its energy load shedding has
reduced dramatically. He is a popular President and he got re-elected in 2004 and 2008 with ever
President Fernandez in collaboration with International Telecommunication Union, South-South News,
UN-DPI, and the CARICOM organizing a special event at the UN during the High-level segment of the
UN General Assembly and they have already invited Bangladesh Prime Minister to attend it.
Ambassador Momen is being interviewed in the national TV by 5 panelists (LR: representative of Brazil, Spain, Dr.
Momen, representative of US, Ambassador Lorenzo, President South-South News, and Director of Global Fund)
Earlier Ambassador Momen was invited to another event in which he delivered a lecture titled “Digital
Bangladesh: Achieving MDG goals and beyond through ICT“. Narrating Bangladesh’s achievements in
each of the MDG goals, he explained how ICT can help accentuate these goals including e-governance.
He also explained in detail the likely impact of the Union Information Service Centers (UISC) that has
been introduced in 4,500 Unions of Bangladesh in last November, 2010. These UISCs will eliminate or
reduce many of the current administrative weaknesses and will make government transparent,
accountable, proactive, and government services will have dramatic improvement. It will also reduce
corruption, improve disaster management and will usher a new form of participatory democracy.
Dr. Momen was also invited to a TV interview of the Caribbean nations and five questioners asked him
many questions on contemporary global issues plus on Bangladesh. His interview is being distributed in
all UN languages.