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Pascal Lamy roots for beating inequality

Ex-WTO DG delivers public lecture in Dhaka

UNB NEWS

Saturday 06 January, 2018 05:36:57 pm

Pascal Lamy roots for beating inequality

Dhaka, Jan 6 (UNB) – Visiting special envoy of the French government Pascal Lamy on Saturday laid emphasis on combining forces to address issues like ‘inequalities’ and ‘degradation of environment’ to help reduce political tensions, conflicts and remove frustration from new generation.

“Inequality leads to social and political tensions,” Lamy said mentioning that the positive relationship is somehow broken. 

Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD) hosted the public lecture. CPD Chairman Prof Rehman Sobhan chaired the event while CPD distinguished fellow Prof Mustafizur Rahman introduced Lamy with the audience. 

CPD Executive Director Dr Fahmida Khatun and Ambassador Muhammad Zamir, among others, spoke on the occasion.

The former World Trade Organization (WTO) director general said economic development needs to do more welfare that subsequently leads to less political tension or conflicts and this is sort of international consensus from which he sees a deviation. 

Delivering his lecture on the theme “Knowledge to Share, Planet to Care”, he said environmental degradation infuses anxieties among new generation as they fear about future.

Lamy, the two times former WTO DG, however, said inequality is mostly a domestic issue and it needs to be addressed at national-level.

“Policy and policy instruments need to be put in place – like education, health policy and housing. These are local problems and solutions are local, too,” he said 

The special envoy, who remained involved in trade issues over the last 15 years, arrived here on Saturday on a two-day visit representing France to seek Bangladesh’s support to host World Expo 2025.

While delivering his speech, he also highlighted issues of global development, trade, e-commerce and collaborative activities between Bangladesh and France. 

Highlighting the environmental issues, he said these are global issues and need global engagements with fully collaborative approach in place.  

“Ocean, climate and biodiversity – if we work on these issues on single-nation basis, it will not work. We believe it (environment) the biggest issue and we have to address it collectively,” Lamy said.

He laid emphasis on sharing knowledge and resources to address the environmental concerns. 

“It’s easier to share knowledge,” Lamy said adding that the solution is not always new science with destructive innovations but solutions, sometimes, rely on traditional, century-tested practices.

Appreciating Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s participation in ‘One Planet Summit’ in Paris, he said her discussion was extremely fruitful. 

Lamy explained France’s vision behind candidacy for the World Expo 2025. Four countries are candidates to host the World Expo 2025 - France (in Greater Paris), Japan (in Osaka), the Russian Federation (in Ekaterinburg), and Azerbaijan (in Baku).

The bid was submitted on September 28 to the Bureau International des Expositions (BIE), the intergovernmental organization in charge of overseeing and regulating World Expos.

The 170 member states of BIE will elect the host country at the 164th General Assembly in November 2018.

Lamy, while responding to a question, said Rohingya issue has taken a big prominence and France remains very supportive to Bangladesh to address the issue.

He also answered trade related questions and laid emphasis on protecting consumers’ rights. 

Lamy will meet Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, Foreign Minister AH Mahmood Ali, Commerce Minister Tofail Ahmed and Civil Aviation and Tourism Minister AKM Shajahan Kamal during his visit, a senior foreign ministry official told UNB.

The theme chosen for this expo is “Knowledge sharing and protection of the planet,” which reflects the priorities of the international action to protect the planet, while 2025 will coincide with the 10th anniversary of the Paris Climate Agreement.

France had hosted five major world exhibitions in the 19th century, and hosted an international exhibition on modern art and technology in 1937.

France thinks the World Expo is also an opportunity for French citizens and the country to redesign their openness to the world and French adherence to the universal values.

“We have strong arguments and undeniable strengths to support our bid to host this major event, which will further enhance our country’s appeal one year after hosting the Olympic Games in 2024. The goal is to attract 40 million tourists to visit this expo,” said Minister of Europe and Foreign Affairs Jean-Yves Le Drian recently.