Bangladesh can play important role in UN reform:Ban Ki-moon

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Dhaka, Nov 1 (UNI) Visiting UN secretary general Ban Ki-moon today said here Bangladesh as current chair of the group of Least Developed Countries (LDCs) can play an important role in the efforts to achieve UN reform.

''Bangladesh makes significant contributions to the world Organisation. This concrete commitment to peace and to the fundamental values of the United Nations says a lot about the character of the people of Bangladesh,'' he said at a dinner hosted by caretaker government chief advisor Dr Fakhruddin Ahmed.

Mr Ban said at a time when nations were reluctant to contribute troops to UN peacekeeping operations, Bangladesh has stepped forward again and again.

Over the past decade, he said Bangladesh has been one of the leading contributors of troops and police. Today, more than 9,000 Bangladeshi personnel are deployed in Africa, Asia and Europe, serving the cause of peace, he added.

He said Bangladesh initiated the annual resolution on a culture of peace by the UN General Assembly. Bangladesh is a founding member of the both the Peacebuilding Commission and the Human Rights Council.

The UN chief expressed his happiness over the country's ''remarkable success'' in growth and poverty reduction.

The rapid decline in the rate of population growth, and the achievement of gender parity in primary and secondary school enrolment, also speaks of this country's remarkable capacities, he noted.

Expressing concern over the adverse impact of the climate change, he said Bangladesh is on the frontlines of climate change.

Rising sea levels could inundate the fertile Ganges delta, displacing large numbers of people and undermining the country's striking achievements in food security, he warned.

Already, Mr Ban said global warming has intensified the recurrent natural disasters to which the country is prone.

He praised the response of the government and people of Bangladesh to the two devastating floods of 2007, and to super Cyclone Sidr.

On the hardship facing the country because of the dramatic rise in global commodity prices, the UN secretary general said he was impressed by the government's efforts to stimulate food production, and by other steps being taken to absorb the shock.

He also shared Dhaka's concern about the impact of global financial crisis and assured that the UN system will remain Bangladesh's close partner in facing the challenges ahead.

On the political front, Mr Ban hoped that Bangladesh will have peaceful transition to democracy through free and fair Parliamentary elections in December making way for establishing an elected Government to consolidate democracy and reform.

Dr Fakhruddin said Bangladesh has always been a strong believer in the United Nations and in the pivotal role it plays to promote peace, security and development.

''As the head of the world organisation, your visit revalidates the unity of purpose that Bangladesh shares with the United Nations,'' he told the UN Secretary General.

UNI XC RJ BST2216

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