New York

26 September 2014

Secretary-General's remarks at event marking the 40th Anniversary of Bangladesh's Membership of the United Nations [as prepared for delivery]

I am delighted to join you in celebrating the 40th anniversary of Bangladesh’s membership in the United Nations.

Allow me to offer a personal recollection. In 1973, as a Foreign Service officer posted in New Delhi, I was part of the team that was responsible for establishing my country’s diplomatic ties with Bangladesh. When I visited for the visit time, I was deeply humbled by what I saw, because your country reminded me so much of mine at the end of the Korean War. There were so many shortages I had to tear small strips of paper for my counterpart at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for him to be able to write me a memo!

At the same time, despite the poverty, destruction and human misery there was a burning determination to build a new country.

I have made many visits since.  Each time, I have been struck by the enormous progress that has been made.

Bangladesh has built a thriving economy and made important gains towards the Millennium Development Goals.  The frugality and common purpose I witnessed 40 years ago have been driving forces in this great success. I particularly commend the work that Bangladesh has accomplished in disaster risk reduction at a time of climate change.  And of course, Bangladesh is one of the top contributors to United Nations peacekeeping. 

I am pleased that the dream of “Shonar Bangla”[Golden Bengal] that Sheikh Mujibur Rahman had for his country is steadily becoming a reality.

It is a special pleasure to congratulate Bangladesh and its people for their achievements and its efforts as a dynamic UN Member State.  The United Nations and I look forward to deepening this relationship in our shared pursuit of peace, development and human rights for all.

Thank you.