UN Secretary General’s SDG Advocate, Her Majesty the Queen of the Belgians concludes her visit to Bangladesh

HM Queen Mathilde of Belgium concluded her three-day visit to Bangladesh, highlighting attention to the importance of building resilient communities and leaving no one behind.

February 10, 2023
HM Queen Mathilde of Belgium with local residents of the Khulna region in Bangladesh

HM Queen Mathilde of Belgium visited a water treatment plant that provides water to 200+ families.

Photo: UNDP Bangladesh

The UN Secretary General’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) Advocate, Her Majesty Queen Mathilde of Belgium, concluded her three-day visit to Bangladesh in the climate-vulnerable Khulna district. During her visit, she saw the UN’s programmatic work covering several sustainable development goals, including Climate Action, Gender Equality, Decent Work and Economic Growth, Responsible Consumption and Production, Quality Education, and others.

Her visit highlighted Bangladesh’s people and communities as the main drivers of the country’s development. In the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic and recent global economic volatility, the visit refocused attention on the importance of the SDGs and the ongoing efforts to accelerate progress towards them. 

Queen Mathilde began her visit to the country at a garment factory in Narayanganj, where International Labour Organisation (ILO) works with women workers towards gender equality and ability based accelerated learning centre in Dhaka supported by the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF). 

On the last day of her three-day visit to Bangladesh, she went to a project site of the Local Government Initiatives for a water treatment plant facility in Sutarkhali Union region that has been frequently hit by floods and cyclones. There she met local residents and saw the consequences of climate change in the region. 

The water treatment plant in Sutarkhali Union, which provides clean water to about 1.600 people of 400 households in the area, was opened in 2020 under the Local Government Initiative on Climate Change (LoGIC) project supported by the Government of Bangladesh, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), The UN Capital Development Fund (UNCDF), the Government of Sweden, the European Union, and the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA). The Queen spoke with salinity-affected residents of the Sutarkhali Union who are beneficiaries of the water treatment plant.

Then she took a boat ride to Jhulanta Para to see the impact of climate change and meet local residents. Located on the outskirts of the Surkhali and Shibsa rivers, Jhulanta Para is being increasingly hit by floods and cyclones, as well as river erosion each year. 

During her visit, Queen Mathilde also visited Cox’s Bazar district, where she met Rohingya refugees, mental health volunteers and host community members working in the camps.