Dhaka

15 November 2011

Opening remarks at press conference, Dhaka, Bangladesh

Ban Ki-moon

Good evening, ladies and gentlemen,

Assalamu Alaikum,

Let me begin by thanking the Prime Minister, Sheikh Hasina, and her Government and people of Bangladesh for their hospitality and excellent arrangements during my stay.

Dhonyobad [Thank you].

I have had a short stay, but a full visit.

Yesterday I met with the Prime Minister and other senior Government officials. I visited your institute of peacekeeping and the research hospital, ICDDR,B.

I saw, on site, what it means to put simple solutions to work to save lives.

This morning, I met the founders of BRAC, your great NGO for health and development. Later I visited the Mobarakpur Community Clinic in Moulvibazar, where I met a group of young girls and adolescents.

I told them that the United Nations is committed to helping them get an education and enjoy good health because they are the future of Bangladesh.

There and elsewhere, I saw that the Bangladesh Government has been investing in people - investing in smart ways to save lives and give people hope.

It is no secret that, in doing this, Bangladesh has become a model to the world.

And that is why I am here.

Bangladesh is not only on the front line of development challenges.

It is on the front line of development solutions.

Bangladesh has risen from great hardship to build a thriving economy, a vibrant civil society, and a dynamic future.

And it is a tremendous global partner.

Number one in providing UN peacekeepers.

A leading voice for Least Developed Countries.

Out front in expanding girls' education and women's empowerment and reducing maternal and child mortality.

I am here to shine a global spotlight on that progress, particularly on all you have done to advance women's and children's health.

This is an engine for achieving the Millennium Development Goals.

Much of my time and discussions here have also focused on the priority of sustainable development.

Here, too, Bangladesh has much to offer the world.

Yesterday I attended the Climate Vulnerable Forum.

Bangladesh is among the countries most at risk.

But your vision and action has already saved tens of thousands of lives.

Bangladesh is also setting an example on carbon neutrality and green growth.

If we are to avoid dangerous climate change, all nations must act - now.

We must also make progress in the climate negotiations next month in Durban, and at the Rio+20 Conference on Sustainable Development in Brazil next June.

Ladies and gentlemen, let me conclude with a few words on the political situation in Bangladesh. Since 2008, Bangladesh has [made] great progress towards democracy. However, much more needs to be done.

It is particularly important that the next elections in early 2014 be conducted in a transparent and credible way. In that regard, I expect the political leaders to look beyond the party lines to the future of Bangladesh, to work together for the future of Bangladesh.

I leave here convinced that Bangladesh will continue to develop on its positive path.

And I look forward to visiting again.

Khuda hafiz Aabaar dekha hobe. [Good bye – until we meet again]

Dhonyobad.

Thank you very much.