Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has done us proud again. The honour given to her through being recognized as one of the Champions of the Earth is, broadly speaking, a recognition of the strong and purposeful leadership she has provided to Bangladesh as its head of government. On a more important level, the Prime Minister has in all these years she has guided the affairs of the nation, has made sure that the country carve a significant niche for itself in the global community. As a Champion of the Earth, she has demonstrated in the international arena the reality that under her stewardship the people of Bangladesh are ready and willing to play their due role in promoting the cause of global development, peace and security.
The citation by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) relating to the honour for the Bangladesh leader states the obvious and yet at the same time causes pleasant surprise for us. The Prime Minister, notes the UN citation, has demonstrated through her leadership that climate change is conducive to achieving social and economic development. In other words, Sheikh Hasina has brought about a necessary linkage between the various concomitants that lead to the uplift of a nation. In the last many years, Bangladesh's commitment to a preservation of the environment has earned the appreciation of nations around the world. It has been an acknowledgement of the concerted efforts Sheikh Hasina and her government have been putting in toward ensuring a safer world for this generation and the generations yet to be.
In the course of her leadership as Prime Minister, Sheikh Hasina has been the recipient of a good many laurels at the international level. Such an achievement is unique, given that leaders of developing countries are not generally privy to such significant international recognition. The difference, where Sheikh Hasina's brand of leadership is concerned, is that she has managed to present this country abroad as a model of democracy, to a point where she has persuaded nations around the world into identifying with the thought that only through a democratic exercise of politics can societies attain the higher goals of economic prosperity. Sheikh Hasina has been instrumental in promoting regional cooperation in South Asia, has cracked down decisively on terrorism and has clearly told everyone, in Bangladesh and elsewhere, that her government means business. The new award which has come to Sheikh Hasina only reinforces the idea of the statesmanship she has been demonstrating in the councils of the world through her delineation of the issues --- women's rights, education, children's rights, ensuring governmental accountability, waging war against terrorism --- which in our times assail the globe. The environment, on Sheikh Hasina's watch, has seen remarkable strides taken towards an assurance of climate security. The Bangladesh Climate Change Strategy and Action Plan of 2009 and the Climate Change Trust Fund are landmark achievements. Besides, a Climate Change Fiscal Framework is also on the anvil. Again, the seriousness of Bangladesh's commitment to ensuring a safer climate is to be deduced from the fact that Bangladesh's Constitution, through an amendment brought about in 2011, made it an imperative for the State to ensure the protection of the environment and the country's natural resources.
And all these go to the credit of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina. Her leadership has raised our profile around the world. Once dubbed as a 'bottomless basket', Bangladesh is now treated as a country of immense possibilities. And this is the success of Sheikh Hasina's leadership.
Congratulations, Prime Minister, on the new laurels that have come to you.