The High Commission of the United Republic of Tanzania was among several Diplomatic Missions from New Delhi [India] which attended the International conference on people's empowerment and development which took place in Dhaka from 5th to 6th August, 2012. The Conference which was organised by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Government of Bangladesh comprehensively discussed on various issues related to People’s empowerment and a Peace centric development model which was earlier propounded and presented by Prime Minister of Bangladesh, Sheikh Hasina at the 66th United Nations General Assembly [UNGA]  in September, 2011. The Sheikh Hasina’s model was later adopted by the Group of 77 and China [G-77 plus China] and subsequently by the UNGA.

Bangladesh believes that, if the Sheikh Hasina’s model could be replicated and absorbed globally, it would help to reduce inequality, disparity, deprivation and poverty while strengthening global efforts towards democracy, human development and curbing terrorism.
The two day International conference which was attended by over 80 Delegates from 62 UN Member States, particularly focused on seven essential interrelated and mutually reinforcing elements for peace and development, specifically eradication of poverty and hunger, reduction of inequality, mitigation of deprivation, creation of jobs for all, inclusion of excluded people, acceleration of human development, and fighting terrorism. The Conference deliberated on the following Agenda:

1. Inaugural Session.

  • - Welcome address by the Bangladesh Foreign Secretary Amb. Mirajul Quayes
  • - Introductory remarks by the Chair – Foreign Minister of Bangladesh  H.E. Dr. Dipu Moni [MP].
  • - Statements by Special Guests
  • - Inaugural Address by H.E. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina
  • - Closing remarks by the Chair

2. Plenary Session

3. Working Sessions:  One to Seven  [Thematic Issues  1 – 7]

  • - Remarks by  the  Ambassador and Permanent Representative of the Bangladesh to the United Nations H.E. Dr. A.K. Abdul Momen.
  • - Remarks by the Member States Representative H.E. Murad Benmehdi, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Algeria to the United Nations and Chair of G-77 and China.
  • - Eradicating poverty and hunger
  • - Reducing inequality
  • - Mitigating deprivation
  • - Create Job for All
  • - Inclusion of excluded people
  • - Acceleration of human development
  • - Counter terrorism

4. Concluding Session.

  • - Conference report by the Chair

1. Inaugural Session.

  • - Welcome address by the Bangladesh Foreign Secretary Amb. Mijarul Quayes

The Bangladesh Foreign Secretary, Ambassador Mijarul Quayes took the opportunity to affectionately welcome the United Nations [UN] Member States Delegates from New York, Delhi, Islamabad as well as from Dhaka.   He said, the people and the Government of Bangladesh are extremely honoured by their consent of the invitations as well as their eventual attendance at the Conference. 
Ambassador Mijarul told the Conference that, following the adoption of the Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s peace model titled “People’s Empowerment and a peace-centric development model” by the Group of 77 plus China [ G-77 +China] and subsequently by the United Nations General Assembly – UNGA, the Government of Bangladesh seeks to appeal and incorporate onboard all Member States constructive inspirations, that will positively propel the development of the innovative concept [peace model] based on Sheikh Hasina’s experiences in politics over four decades by further invigorating it with peace and development thoughts, suggestions and ideas for the greater and common good of the world people.
He further said, the Government of Bangladesh is convinced that, the sincere deliberations of the Member States during the two days Conference will upgrade and bestow the model with a global-profile that will be of broader assistance to the people especially in the developing countries by reducing inequality, disparity, deprivation and poverty while strengthening global efforts towards democracy, human development and curbing terrorism.

  • - Introductory remarks by the Chair – Foreign Minister of Bangladesh H.E. Dr. Dipu Moni [MP].

The Foreign Minister of Bangladesh  H.E. Dr. Dipu Moni,  said that,  on 24 September 2011 at the ‘General Debate’ segment of  the 66th session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York, Sheikh Hasina, Prime Minister of Bangladesh,  presented a new peace model titled "People's empowerment and a peace-centric development model" for consideration of the UN Member States.
She said, the Sheikh Hasina’s Peace Model which highlights sustained democracy and empowerment of the people as fundamental instruments for development, centred on the mutually reinforcing peace multipliers for a sustainability, namely [i] eradication of poverty and hunger, [ii] reduction of inequality, [iii] mitigation of deprivation, [iv] creation of jobs for all, [v] inclusion of excluded people, [vi] acceleration of human development, and [vii] fighting of terrorism which all need to be addressed in cohesion placing people at the centre of all development and peace endeavour.

The Bangladesh Foreign Minister further maintained that, the People’s Empowerment and Development Model, proposed by Sheikh Hasina, was not only for the people of Bangladesh but aims at empowering billions of  peoples around the world, who suffer an entire range of political, economic, social, cultural and even climatic disempowerment, deprivation, exclusion or marginalization, voiceless people worldwide, hence the International Conference on People’s Empowerment and Development called to hub on those seven identified interlinked and mutually reinforcing elements essential for peace and empowerment  and seeks to obtain the UN Member States’ views on these themes. The discussion will promote the importance of placing people at the centre of development and empowering them to pursue a peaceful development course, she added.
Ambassador Dr. Dipu simultaneously expressed her gratitude to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina for presenting Bangladesh and the world with the 'Peoples Empowerment model' befitting with our national aspirations and values, that have already found its due place at the UN General Assembly under G-77 ownership with overwhelming support in adoption of resolution UNGA 66/224.
She finally called upon all Conference Delegates in presence to kindly value and to deepen the seeds of empowerment sowed by the Prime Minister of Bangladesh in order to make it a truly universal Model through a  Declaration with a clear manifesto for global peace, development and empowerment.

  • -  Statements by Special Guests

The Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of Nepal Narayan Kaji Shrestha, the Rural Development Minister of India Jairam Ramesh, the Minister for External Affairs of Sri Lanka G.L. Peiris, the Bhutan Minister of Works and Human Settlement Lyonpo Yeshey Zimba, the Deputy Foreign Minister of Maldives Ali Hameed  , UN Habitat Undersecretary General Dr Joan Clos, and Deputy Director General of UNESCO Getachew Engida who attended the conference had an opportunity to share their experiences along the line of people empowerment and development. Dr Joan Clos also delivered [on behalf of] the UN Secretary General Banki Moon’s acknowledgement and salutation statement for the Conference.

They generally commended Sheikh Hasina  as well as the Government of Bangladesh for their initiatives to organize timely conference to discuss the peace and development model which they signified it as a very pertinent input to the future development goals for the developing world, that could also proceed as an intermediary arrangements between Millennium Development Goals [MDGs] and Sustainable Development Goals [SDGs].

They said, the UN Member States especially Developing countries, need  separate development targets like the Millennium Development Goals - MDGs after 2015 which will work hand in hand with the Sustainable Development Goals – SDGs. Consequently, they recommended to all UN Member States to cohesively work together to their achievements. They also concurred with the general idea of the model which necessitates international community to place people at the centre of all development policies.

They further maintained that, the inclusive and sustainable development model was an essential need of the world cohesion today, where economic discrepancy, political insecurity social disparity entrenched by demographic explosion and urbanisation problems need to be properly and widely, addressed.

The Special Guests also suggested the modification of the UN system to include the countries still excluded from its membership as a shift in global development paradigm. They also urged the UN Member States’ Governments to keep vigilance and share intelligences on smuggling, piracy for terrorism funding, proliferation of small arms etc.

They indicated that, economic development alone does not ensure empowerment of the vast mass of society; hence, genuine involvement and cooperation between Member States are pretty essential in order to achieve objectives of the model.

They also underlined special measures to be branded and taken by the UN Member States in order to develop values in economic policy formulation, infrastructure in order to encourage the spread of investment to remote regions, to improve and intensify social safety nets in the form of affirmative action in a variety of fields, practical approaches to poverty alleviation, with special emphasis on access to micro credit to underprivileged areas, to formulate policies for admission to Universities and recruitment to the public sector etc.

UN SG Message:  This international conference on people’s empowerment and development comes at a particularly opportune time. The recently concluded United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, held in Rio de Janeiro, adopted an action-oriented outcome document on “The Future We Want”. Empowerment is critical for attaining that future.

Empowerment is not new to the United Nations. Our long-standing efforts to protect human rights, promote job creation and obtain improved access to water, sanitation, energy, education and health care all have empowerment at their core – the goal of ensuring that people have the opportunities they need to live better lives in dignity and security. But we are also exploring new frontiers of empowerment. With the establishment of UN-Women, the effort to empower the world’s women and achieve gender equality received an important boost. We are also focusing greater attention on empowering the next generation through our work on youth. These are two critical planks of my action agenda for the next five years.

By looking at empowerment and development together, you are focusing welcome attention on issues that matter most in the lives of families and their communities: opportunities for decent work, the chance to enjoy basic services and participate fully in the political life of their countries.

These aspirations are embodied in many national laws and international agreements. Measures to ensure compliance with these laws and agreements should be an integral part of development strategies.

We must also harness the power of new communications tools and technologies. Access to information is a key means for enabling the citizenry to hold governments and others accountable.

This international conference is an important opportunity to explore these and other issues. Your deliberations can also contribute to those of the Commission for Social Development, which next year will address the issue of promoting empowerment of people in achieving poverty eradication, social integration and full employment and decent work for all.

Empowerment is a key means to achieving sustainable development and other vital goals. But it also has a value in and of itself. Thank you for your commitment to this effort. I wish you a productive conference.

  • - Inaugural Address by H.E. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina

Inaugurating a two-day International Conference on People’s Empowerment and Development, Prime Minister of Bangladesh, Sheikh Hasina said that absence of democracy and social justice can be linked to sustenance of poverty, inequality, deprivation and marginalization, which in turn instigates extremism and  terrorism.

She said, there is no alternative to democracy for attaining peace, a pre-requisite for development, and her government was comprehensively working to root out terrorism and extremism from Bangladesh. She said that with millions living in conflict and deprivation of their fundamental freedoms and human rights, peace remains elusive with all forms of extremism thriving. The Prime Minister said that new and emerging challenges such as rising oil and food prices, the global financial meltdown, the debt crisis, climate change, the lack of green and clean technology and the digital disconnect further isolate and marginalize poorer societies and the poorest from the global mainstream.

She also said that in addition, absence of participatory democracy and social safety measures is destabilizing societies and giving way to people’s uprising in parts of the world. “It thus appeared to me that for sustainable peace, justice is the vital factor and this is attainable when people are empowered for meaningful engagement in development.

While presenting her ‘Peoples’ Empowerment’ model in the 66th  UNGA, the Prime Minister had said that empowerment in turn requires eradicating poverty and hunger; reducing inequality; mitigating deprivation through social safety protection programs; creating jobs for all; greater inclusiveness; accelerating equitable sustained growth and human development; and countering extremist forces and terrorism which are all interlinked and mutually reinforcing.

Sheikh Hasina informed the participants that she has been trying to realize this model of empowerment for the 160 million people of Bangladesh through pro-poor programs aimed at bringing about holistic justice and equality, and thereby strengthening democracy and achieving development and those  efforts have helped her government to reduce poverty by 10 percent, attain GDP growth rate of 6.5 percent, increase per capita income, and attain MDG 4 on infant mortality and MDG 5 on maternal mortality. “Our aim is to lift our poor people out of poverty by MDG timeframe of 2015.”

As a follow up congregation after the proposed new peace model initiated by her during the 66th United Nations General Assembly to be adopted, Sheikh Hasina pleaded for the Conference to award the People’s Empowerment Model with effectiveness, global acceptability and sustainability by engaging in serious and successful discussions which will substantiate its   worldwide emulation.

  • - Closing remarks by the Chair

Closing the inaugural Session of the Conference, Honourable Chair, Dr. Dipu   highly commended the depth support, the wealth wisdom, knowledge and ideas as well as the  strength of expression  and solidarity demonstrated by the 62 participating UN Member States [full diversity of all regions of the United Nations] during the two-day International Conference on People’s Empowerment and Development that took place in Dhaka.

She said, Bangladesh was grateful and places great honour to all form of supports extended or to be extended by the Member States in assisting her Government to move a new resolution at forthcoming   67th UNGA in October 2012 and its consequent adoption.

2. Plenary Session

  • - Opening remarks by the Ambassador and Permanent Representative of the Bangladesh to the United Nations H.E. Dr. A.K. Abdul Momen

H.E. Dr. A.K. Abdul Momen described the International Conference on People’s Empowerment and Development as  a special elite mission that aimed at safer, better, more prosperous, more equitable, more inclusive society where hunger will be a history, war and conflict will be thing of the past and no one will be deprived of his or her basic rights.

He said, although a number of killer wars and devastating conflicts have been declining, the world is yet facing succession of wars and conflicts that are draining out recourses, destabilizing economies and also creating joblessness in societies.

He further maintained that, the root causes of conflicts and starvation lay in historical discrimination and deprivation which also lead to closed and unequal economic regimes and financial structures that bar the poorer countries to have a fair share and improve their condition. Hence, he said, the world needs the culture of peace, the right relationship of societies, nations and environment to fight for a unified economic regime that will lead to a political and social cohesion and stability which can be only attained through the sincere cooperation of Member States in empowering human beings and create opportunities for its fullest blossom to establish a peaceful, sustainable and stable world of prosperity.

  • - Remarks by the Member States Representative H.E. Murad Benmehdi, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Algeria to the United Nations and Chair of G-77 and China.

The Ambassador of Algeria to the UN H.E. Mourad Benmehedi, who is also the Chairperson of the G77 plus China [G77+China] said that, the Sheikh Hasina’s model suits the need of the G-77 which wanted to have a new development target for 130 developing countries after the MDGs different from sustainable development goals (SDGs) which were meant for both the developed and the developing world.

3. Working Sessions:  One to Seven [Thematic Issues 1 – 7]

A range of seven thematic themes including  eradicating poverty and hunger; reducing inequality; mitigating deprivation; create Job for all; Inclusion of excluded people; acceleration human development and counter terrorism which are interrelated to the people’s empowerment were delivered during the conference by senior and prominent leaders of the Bangladesh Government, Private Firms as well as international Organisations.

The Conference was attended by Head of Mission and Senior Representatives from the following UN Members States Missions - Afghanistan, Algeria, Australia, Belgium, Belarus, Benin, Bhutan, Bosnia-Herzegovina, China, Germany,  Iran, Japan, Kazakhstan,  Malaysia,  Maldives, Mexico, Nepal, Nicaragua, Norway, Romania, Peru, Qatar, Russia,  Singapore, Slovakia,  Somalia, South Africa, South Korea, Switzerland, Tanzania, Turkey, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, United States of America, Uruguay and  from Various International Organisations. 

Prime Minister of Bangladesh,  presented  new Peace Model titled "People's empowerment and a peace-centric development model" which was considered by this Conference “international conference on People Empowerment and Development” and later by Brazil-hosted Rio+20 Conference was accepted by the 67th UN General Assembly as its 29th item on its agenda.