Statement by H.E. Dr. A. K. Abdul Momen, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Bangladesh at Second Committee on 22(a): Follow-up to the Fourth United Nations Conference on the Least Developed Countries 23 October 2014
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
Bangladesh delegation aligns itself with the statements made by the representative of Bolivia on behalf of the Group of 77 and China, and the representative of Benin on behalf of the Least Developed Countries.
- Let me remind ourselves that there are 48 LDCs and they constitute almost 25% of the UN membership. They have nearly 900 million population and nearly 50% of them are poor and vulnerable. Their average GDP is less than one-twelfth of the global average. Their GDP is low as their productive capacity is low and primitive. Therefore, a key priority area for helping LDCs in their efforts to graduate is enhancing their productive capacity. They need reliable infrastructure both tangible and intangible, they need state-of-the-art technology, efficient and productive labor force and entrepreneurs, conducive industrial base, diversified yet predictable access to global markets to strengthen their productive capacity. In addition to increased ODA, inward Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) could be an important vehicle that can help LDCs to take significant and meaningful steps in improving their productive capacity and such can facilitate their goal of graduating half of the LDCs by 2020.
- The report of the Secretary General on FDI scenario in LDCs gives us a mixed picture. Good news is: FDI flows to LDCs have been rising steadily, and have tripled during the last decade but bad news is: it concentrated only to a few LDCs.
- The fact on the ground of FDI reveals a startling reality— while annual FDI flow globally on average is around $1.5 trillion during the last three years, only $25 billion out of $1.5 trillion was invested in LDCs – a negligible figure of only 1.7 per cent. Fact of the matter is; “business-as-usual” is not going to work and therefore, we need proactive initiatives, a big push for LDCs.
- The role of FDI in building strong productive capacity is critical. LDCs, of course, need to do their part to create conducive environment for FDI. However, it is also imperative for development partners to provide incentives to their private investors to invest in LDCs for a ‘win-win’ outcome. International cooperation is indeed essential to help LDCs create investment regimes that are investment friendly. An investment support mechanism for LDCs will immensely help these countries to get the best out of FDI. .
- Technology and innovation are engine of growth and prosperity. Therefore, technology transfer along with FDI is essential for LDCs to graduate. Last year, we adopted the resolution 68/224 that included the issue of the proposed Technology Bank for the LDCs. We request the Secretary General to form the expert panel for this Bank in an expedited manner, and submit his report urgently. As agreed, the technology bank should be operationalized latest by the next session of the UNGA. Bangladesh, the home of technology-competent millions of youth, is ready to provide initial support to set up such bank, or a regional center of it.
- Trade is another area where LDCs are the most marginalized. The WTO Ministerial meeting in Bali last year provided clear decisions regarding duty-free quota-free market access to all products from all LDCs, preferential rules of origin for LDCs, and operationalization of the waiver concerning preferential treatment to services and service providers from LDCs. These decisions need to be implemented by the Member States urgently.
- For most of the LDCs, ODA is still the most important source of finance for their development programs. Although overall ODA to LDCs increased in 2013 relative to 2012, further analysis shows that this was not evenly distributed, and in fact ODA to some Sub-Saharan LDCs decreased in real terms. We must follow the guidelines of Monterrey and Doha. My delegation therefore, again calls upon the development partners to meet their commitments and factor their ODA commitment to their regular national budgets to ensure predictability and stability. When we will meet in Addis Ababa next year for the FFD Conference, the figures need to have improved by that time.
- LDCs need immediate support in the area of climate change. Most LDCs will, or are already suffering from adverse effects of climate degradation. It is an obligation on the part of the global leadership to come forward to face this challenge.
- It is the lopsided international financial architecture and trade regimes that are responsible for poorer countries to remain poor. It is also a shame for the global partners and leadership that in spite of so much resources, dynamic innovation and creativity, a vast majority are still poor and vulnerable. Still today many of our children go to bed without a meal. Is this not a disgrace for our leadership? We are aware that LDCs are responsible for improving their socio-economic conditions yet the development partners cannot and must not shun off their historical responsibility to help them to get out of such vulnerabilities.
- Therefore, Mr. Chair, let me re-emphasize that the global community needs to do more, needs to be more proactive, needs to fulfill their commitments to assist the LDCs to graduate. If we fail in these areas, we will not have the future that we want, and the development, if any, will neither be inclusive nor sustainable. Let me conclude with a quotation from Mahatma Gandhi, “God has created enough to meet the needs of people but not enough to meet the greed of a few”. Let us take a vow to help the humanity. There is no shame in it.
I thank you.