Statement by Ambassador H.E. Ms. Rabab Fatima,Permanent Representative of Bangladesh to the UN at the Virtual Briefing by the Deputy Secretary-General to the LDC Group on COVID-19 response by the UN on 28 April 2020

I thank you, DSG, for your engagement with the LDC Group and for your comprehensive briefing. We deeply appreciate your regular engagement with the member states, and with different Groups of Countries. We thank you for your assurance of UNDS’ support as we confront this unprecedented crisis.

My delegation fully endorses the points made by the chair of Group, Excellency PR of Malawi. He has highlighted the vulnerabilities of the LDCs in this situation. The COVID 19 pandemic is exacerbating our existing vulnerabilities. Our countries are grappling with the dual challenges of this health emergency and the economic downfall, compounded by climate vulnerabilities. Our hard-won development gains are at stake as we divert resources to address the immediate health emergency. This will certainly hamper our progress towards achieving the SDGs.

The economies of LDCs will suffer as exports and remittances fall. Our export earnings are dependent either on commodity or manufactured goods and these have started falling due to the pandemic. The worst-hit will be the marginalized people of these countries, including women and children. Widespread joblessness looms large with serious human security crisis.

We will require short-medium-long term support from the bilateral and multilateral development partners, and more investment in the health sector including for reinforcing our health care infrastructure, access to equipment, kits and medicines. New medical and health-related technologies have to be made available to the LDCs at no or affordable costs. Failure to support such efforts will have grave consequences globally.

Besides, countries under serious debt stress must be provided waiver; and special and differential treatments to the LDCs must continue in this crisis period. I am aware of IMF’s step to waive debt of some LDCs. I would urge that this waiver is extended to all the LDCs. Bangladesh and some other LDCs are poised to graduate. New international support measures packages are also essential for the graduating LDCs particularly when we know that this pandemic will have long lasting negative impacts on our economies.We wish to see the UNDS enhance its engagement and coordination with other development partners and donors, international financial institutions, regional bodies, and the private sector to stimulate their support to the LDCs with innovative packages and financial instruments.

TheUNCTs are now busy preparing country response plans in different countries.We reiterate that the Country Response and Recovery Plans in the LDCs should be development- focused and aligned with our national priorities while supporting us in meeting our immediate health needs.

My delegation commends the UN’s response to this pandemic. The 2 billion-dollar Global HRP and the Response and Recovery Fund are timely steps, although much more is needed.I would hope that a comprehensive interagency response will be put in place to fulfill the objectives of the funds fully, quickly and in a demand-based manner in the target countries.

I would request your good offices to consider the LDCs as priority countries while allocating resources from these funds.

We thank the RC and UNCT in Bangladesh for developing the Bangladesh Multisectoral Action Plan for Covid-19 in consultation with the Government. While our Government has announced several stimuli and recovery packages worth 8.6 billion USD, we hope that the Plan will complement the Government’s efforts and respond to our humanitarian needs as well as provide support for socio-economic recovery.

We will count on the UN’s support as well as that of global development partners, in the coming days in overcoming the setback created by the pandemic.

I thank you. And I wish everyone well.