New York, (18 June)
Foreign Minister Dr. A.K. Abdul Momen called for an incentives-based and long-term graduation package for the graduating and graduated countries from LDCs as they are at a high risk of sliding back—both due to the COVID-19 impacts and the loss of LDC specific support measures on yesterday. He was speaking as a keynote speaker at a high-level virtual event on ‘Building Resilience for Sustainable and Irreversible Graduation of the LDCs’ hosted by the Permanent Mission of Bangladesh in collaboration with the Permanent Mission of Canada and the United Nations Office of the High Representative for the Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing States (OHRLLS).
The Minister of Foreign Affairs of Malwai and the Chair of the Global coordination bureau of the LDCs Eisenhower Mkaka also delivered a keynote speech at the event. Among the other high-level speakers were UNDP Administrator Achim Steiner, Under-Secretary-General of UNDESA Liu Zhenmin and Under-Secretary-General and High Representative of OHRLLS Fekitamoeloa Katoa ‘Utoikamanu.
Bangladesh Permanent Representative Ambassador Rabab Fatima made opening remarks while the Canadian Permanent Representative Ambassador Robert Rae made closing remarks in the event. They are the Co-chairs of the Preparatory Committee of the 5th UN conference on LDCs.
Identifying political vision as the key to a LDC’s development trajectory towards graduation, he said that Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina led Bangladesh’s graduation journey from the front. The recommendation by the UN Committee for Development Policy for graduation of Bangladesh was a momentous occasion for the entire nation. It coincided with the 50th anniversary of Bangladesh’s independence and the birthcentenary of the Father of the Nation. Bangladesh’s graduation was built on the vision of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to transform Bangladesh into a middle-income country by 2021 and a developed country by 2041. The Digital Bangladesh revolution also paved the way to accelerate Bangladesh’s progress.
Highlighting the multidimensional challenges faced by the graduating and graduated countries, Foreign Minister identified access to safe and affordable COVID-19 vaccines as the top priority for the LDCs now. He said that the most effective solution of this issuewill be to utilize TRIPs’ waiver to transfer technology and know-hows to LDCs that have production capacities for vaccines. He urged upon the development partners and vaccines manufacturers to extend support in this regard.
Foreign Minister Momen said that most of the LDCs have limited fiscal buffer and absence of ex-ante insurance schemes against shocks, which make their graduation trajectory highly challenging. He underlined the importance of adequate financing and resources as critical means for LDCs to keep pace with graduation expectation. In this regard, he emphasized that LDCs need enhanced financing support to mitigate critical deficits in physical and institutional infrastructure and capacity building.