Remarks by H.E Ms. Rabab Fatima, Ambassador & Permanent Representative of Bangladesh to the UN, New York at the Group of Friends of SDG Financing to Discuss Next Steps following the May 28 High Level Event on FFD in the Era of COVID 19 and Beyond, 3 June 2020

I thank you, Co-Chairs.

Excellencies. Dear Colleagues. The pandemic is no longer a health crisis alone. It has become a global economic and social crisis, and the consequences would be borne by our peoples and economies for years to come. And like other crises, the hardest hit is the vulnerable developing countries. Global solidarity and cooperation holds the key to overcome this unprecedented crisis. Last week’s high-level meeting aimed to do that. It was a very timely event, and I congratulate the Secretary General, Canada and Jamaica for a very successful meeting. Bangladesh could not join the meeting last week, but we look forward to participating in the follow-up process and in the Working Groups.

Allow me to highlight 4 areas for consideration in the follow-up process.

Firstly, SDG implementation plans in many of our countries are on hold as we are diverting our limited resources to meet emergency health needs as well as to expand social protection system. To tackle this situation, collaboration for SDG financing must take a new meaning particularly for productive capacity building, diversification of our economies and job creation. Equitable access to finance will also be a vital step now, if we are to ensure resilient and sustainable recovery from COVID 19. This would also complement our efforts to achieve the SDGs. Private creditors should also come forward. Idle private capital may be given incentives for investment in the developing countries.

The LDCs and other vulnerable countries, countries hosting refugees should receive special considerations from their development partners and international financial institutions. Separate stimulus packages and innovative support measures would be essential for the graduating LDCs such as Bangladesh, as well, to prevent a slide back.

Secondly, due to severe disruption caused by this pandemic to global supply chains, our export earnings are falling at a rapid scale. Millions of workers are losing jobs as their companies face cancellation of orders. In my country, hundreds of factories are closing down, with workers, mostly women, left jobless and forced into poverty. Our agriculture sector suffered huge loss and this will impact on food security. To tackle these challenges, we have announced a 12.1 billion dollar stimulus package, which is 3.7% of our GDP, for various sectors of our economy as well as support measures for different groups. The Rohingya refugees we are hosting are also included in our national response and recovery strategies.

In our efforts, we expect greater solidarity from the international community, especially our trading partners, and we urge them to practice responsible business conduct during this crisis. It is no time for economic or trade protectionism. LDCs should be given their previously committed market access.

Thirdly, the Secretary General launched this morning his policy brief on people on the move, where he highlighted that the pandemic has had disproportionate impact on migrants and migrant workers. Migrants face health, socio-economic and protection crisis. The fall in remittances and managing the return of migrant workers are huge challenges for countries like Bangladesh. We call upon the migrant destination countries to ensure the rights of migrants and keep them in their respective response and recovery plans.

Finally, I wish to highlight that the COVID pandemic is exacerbating the vulnerabilities of the climate vulnerable countries. More vigorous efforts are required to finance climate actions, which will support us in building better resilience against any disaster.

I thank you.