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Fri, Sep 28th, 2012 8:58 am BdST
New York, Sep 28 (bdnews24.com)—Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Friday called for reforms to multinational donor agencies like the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund in a speech made to the 67th United Nations General Assembly.
The call apparently stemmed from her experience of strained relations with the World Bank over the funding of the Padma bridge project.
Her government faced hard times leading her to shake up the Cabinet after the global lender decided to cancel the loan agreement citing suspected corruption. It took about three months of negotiations and international lobbying to get the World Bank finally back on board with its $1.2-billion loan.
"I conclude by joining the vast majority of the UN members in re-emphasising the urgent need to reform the United Nations, the Bretton Woods Institutions and other international financial institutions (IFIs)," Hasina said in her speech in Bengali.
The World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, the best-known IFIs, emerged through the Bretton Woods Conference, where the decision of constituting the bodies was announced to help rebuild the world ravaged by the World War II.
Arguing her case for reforms, the Prime Minister said, "Their structure and decision-making process reflect the 60-year-old power equations, serving the interests of a privileged few and ignoring the large majority."
She urged for creating an atmosphere where rights are established on the basis of equality.
Hasina also called for reforming the United Nations.
The influential Forbes magazine recently published an investigative report on corruption in the World Bank.
She hammered on the need to have matters like workers travelling across states discussed unhindered for a better world. She also emphasised implementation of GTS treaty of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) for facilitating the process of labour export and import alike.
Hasina said safe immigration and shared responsibilities of labour exporting and receiving countries in safeguarding the rights of migrant workers including women should be part of the WTO policy.
The Daily Star.
PM for reforms of UN, WB, IMF
Tells UN General Assembly the int'l financial institutions must serve majority of nations
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina poses with US President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama at the Waldorf Astoria hotel in New York on Monday. The photo was released yesterday. Photo: PID
Agencies, New York
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina yesterday called for reforms of the United Nations, World Bank, IMF and other international financial institutions so they could serve the interests of large majorities instead of a privileged few.
Addressing the 67th UN General Assembly at the UN headquarters in New York, she said, "I join the vast majority of the UN members in reemphasising the urgent need to reform the United Nations, the Bretton Woods institutions and other global financial bodies, as their structure and decision-making process reflect the 60-year-old power equations."
The prime minister said the new millennium warranted a changed world order based on justice, mutual respect and sovereign equality.
"Today, we talk boldly about justice, equality, democracy, freedom, human rights, environment, and adverse impacts of climate change.
"These are the priorities of our time which we must acknowledge in place of the hangovers of the past," she observed.
Mentioning the recent popular uprisings, intra-state conflicts, climate change disasters and global financial crises, Hasina stressed the need for collective efforts for peaceful resolution of the crises on the UN floor.
She said her government always believed in settlement of disputes through talks. She cited the example of Ganges water-sharing treaty and land boundary agreement with neighbouring India.
Hasina said Bangladesh had also resolved maritime boundary dispute with Myanmar peacefully and that it was now working with India to address concerns stemming from the proposed Tipaimukh dam.
She said, "From this podium 38 years ago, my father, the architect of independent Bangladesh, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, declared the guiding principle of his newborn country -- friendship to all, malice to none.
"This policy guides us for peaceful settlement of all disputes and situations at home and abroad."
Lauding this year's UNGA theme -- "Settlement of International Disputes or Situations by Peaceful Means" -- the prime minister said her country's commitment to global peace had been demonstrated through its contribution to the UN peacekeeping missions and in being a founder member of the UN Peace Building Commission.
She went on: "Peace prevails when justice prevails … Justice ensures peace, and is vital for development. Justice is possible only through democracy, which empowers people.
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