As a result of the Ukraine war, the socio-political landscape of world politics has deteriorated and has gone through a paradigm shift with the disruption of supply chain management and exorbitant price hike in fuel, food, and consumer goods. This has brought the economy under massive pressure.
Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina demanded an immediate end to the Ukraine-Russia War and sanctions for the sake of the lives and livelihoods of all people across the world. She made a call while delivering her remarks during the 77th UN General Assembly (UNGA) session. PM Hasina has made some empathetic statements warning the international community of the grave consequences of permitting these crises to persist in the face of their essentially silent inaction.
As the world begins to recover from the devastating effects of the COVID-19 pandemic over the past two and a half years, the Russia-Ukraine conflict has plunged the world into a collective uncertainty with its growing food insecurity, energy and economic crisis affecting all. PM Hasina’s remarks carry a profound significance as she echoes the voice of the developing world and pledges to stop the Ukraine war. It is fought on European soil but the developing world is facing economic and political repercussions of it.
In the era of complex interdependence, the impact of the Russia-Ukraine war does not remain confined to one country or a region, rather puts the lives and livelihoods of the people of all nations at greater risk and infringes on their human rights. During her speech at the UNGA, she properly emphasized three important problems the world is currently experiencing. She began by highlighting the growing arms race between the great powers. This has remained at the forefront because no one is paying attention to the growing arms race in the contemporary international order.
But now that the arms race has gone global, everyone needs to take it seriously, especially given the potential for increasing nuclearization. Second, she focused on the Russian-Ukrainian war, which has effects on all of humanity.
The conflict in Ukraine has severely interrupted the global supply chain network, making it a major barrier to peace and prosperity on a global scale. Thirdly, sanctions and counter sanctions imposed by the West on Russia is another unsettling global phenomenon. There have never been so many devastating sanctions on one nation as there are now against Russia which is creating adverse effects for the developing world.
Several recommendations have been made by PM Hasina to address the problems brought about by the war as it has shaken the world economy and created new obstacles to the pandemic recovery and the fulfilment of the SDGs. She observed that countries that are already in vulnerable situations, requiring external support to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), will now face even more challenges to achieve SDGs. She emphasized that to find solutions to the challenges, there must be a strong political commitment and international cooperation. She made her first suggestion that the world must work together in response to the unstable nature of the world’s financial and economic outlook which includes a lack of funding for the SDGs, a lack of budgetary room, a decline in development assistance, and most importantly debt servicing.
PM Hasina commended the Secretary-General of the UN for his crucial contribution to the Black Sea Grain program. She pledged to assist any future efforts of this nature aimed at protecting the system for producing and delivering food from harm during armed situations. Third, a fair share of low- and middle-income countries in international trade and export revenues must be guaranteed, which the PM stated in her third proposal, referring to the necessity for strong and comprehensive steps to revitalize global commerce.
In her fourth recommendation, PM Hasina suggested that more fund be invested in developing nations' agricultural sectors to boost output and create efficient systems for storing and distributing food. And lastly, she stated, they must improve the efficiency and fairness of the international framework for climate cooperation.
Hasina longed for seeing a world with enhanced cooperation and solidarity, shared prosperity, and collective actions. In her own words, “We share one planet, and we owe it to our future generations to live it in a better shape.”
Significance of the speech
As a result of the Ukraine war, the socio-political landscape of world politics has deteriorated and has gone through a paradigm shift with the disruption of supply chain management and exorbitant price hike in fuel, food, and consumer goods. This has brought the economy under massive pressure. Hence, the Prime Minister demanded an immediate end to the fighting. The Russia-Ukraine war, arms race and polarization bring enormous sufferings to the common people. PM Hasina was empathetic in her plea for an end to the war and appealed to the global conscience to put a halt to the weapons race and sanctions. She emphasized how the protracted war is endangering people's lives and means of subsistence all around the world and causing great hardship and uncertainty, particularly for children.
The current context is a result of great power rivalries. And the war, arms race and sanctions are induced by the great powers for their scramble for global dominance. The world is now in a more volatile, polarized, uncertain and chaotic trajectory. Hasina has been seen emphasizing these issues in her deliberations in different regional and international platforms. Her speech has echoed the demand of the Global South and given world leaders a justification for preserving international peace and humanity.
PM Hasina's speech advocated for creating a society that is stable and sustainable by resolving disputes amicably rather than taking the adversarial course of actions. PM Hasina’s speech at the 77th UNGA mirrored the essence of creating rights and dignity of the oppressed and underprivileged people all over the world, and her demand is the vision for global peace and human emancipation.
(The author is a retired Bangladesh government official. Views are personal. He can be contacted at email@example.com)