Expert Group Meeting on improving access to finance for graduation – Bangladesh’s Finance Secretary urges the UN for unhindered and easy access to finance for sustainable graduation and implementation of Agenda 2030

New York, 12 November 2019:

Today, the Finance Secretary of Bangladesh Abdur Rouf Talukder urged the UN to take initiatives for unhindered, easy and improved access to finance for sustainable graduation and implementation of the Agenda 2030. He was representing Bangladesh at the closing of the Expert Group Meeting on improving access to finance for graduating LDCs at the UNHQs. The meeting was convened by the UN Office of the High Representative for the Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing States (UN-OHRLLS) and Committee for Development Policy (CDP).

Finance Secretary highlighted various aspects of Bangladesh’s successful graduation journey towards becoming a middle income country by 2021 and developed country by 2041. Referring to Bangladesh’s track record of achieving unimaginable success in various socio-economic areas such as fulfilling the graduation criteria for the first time with a huge margin; remarkable progress in reducing poverty, extreme poverty and infant mortality rate; increasing life expectancy and adult literacy rate; achieving food sufficiency; continuous and steady growth of GDP; increasing of per capita income; contribution of industry, agriculture and service sectors to GDP; stable macro-economy; mainstreaming the climate change activities in budget; implementing country-wide social safety net and poverty reduction programme; developing 100 Economic Zones and 28 IT parks aim to create 10 million jobs; ensuring gender parity, women education and women empowerment and adopting Delta Plan 2100, he said that Bangladesh is moving forward. He also informed the meeting about various government initiatives to create an investment friendly environment where business can thrive.

The Finance Secretary said, under the visionary and resolute leadership of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina Bangladesh achieved the MDG, and now her government is firmly committed to attain the SDGs. He mentioned the challenges that Bangladesh is facing in implementing the SDGs and ensuring the sustainable graduation from LDCs. He termed the Climate change and the Rohingya issue as major threats to the development trajectory of Bangladesh. He also mentioned the need for an additional financing of 67 billion USD annually to meet Bangladesh’s development challenges.  He urged development partners and international agencies to continue their full support through International Support Measures (ISMs), Official Development Assistance (ODA) and other forms of assistances during this transition period.

The Permanent Representative of Bangladesh to the UN, Ambassador Masud Bin Momen also participated in the meeting. He briefly highlighted Bangladesh’s capabilities, experiences and plans in tackling the challenges of graduation. Referring to the Rohingya crisis, he said, it is not only a huge financial burden on Bangladesh’s economy, but also creating negative impacts on the overall security, environment and social fabric in the areas surrounding the camps.

At the meeting, Bhutan and Solomon Islands also presented case study on improving access to finance for graduation under panel discussion titled ‘Improving access to climate finance’. Debapriya Bhattacharya, Director, Centre for Policy Dialogue in Bangladesh moderated the event.

Yesterday at the opening segment of this meeting Liu Zhenmin, Under-Secretary-General for the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Ms. Susan Eckey, Permanent Representative and Ambassador of Norway, Ms. Heidi Schroderus-Fox, Director of the office of UN-OHRLLS and Ms Michelle Gyles-Mcdonnough, Director, Sustainable Development Unit, Executive Office of the Secretary-General spoke. Mr Ronald Mollerus, Secretary of CDP and Ms. Shari Spiegel, Chief Policy Analysis & Development Branch of the Financing for Sustainable Development Office presented ‘work on the graduation related to draft report’ segment. The meeting held two other panel discussions at the first day titled ‘Perspective from official development assistance’ and ‘The role of multilateral development banks, including with respect to concessional and blended finance’. The discussants termed Bangladesh’s development progress as exemplary. Among others Mission’s Economic Minister Iqbal Abdullah Harun participated in the meeting.