Statement by H.E. Ms. Rabab Fatima, Permanent Representative of Bangladesh to the UN at the Third Open Meeting of the Discussion Group-1 on FFD in the Era of COVID-19 and Beyond on External Finance, Remittances, Jobs, and Inclusive Growth Agenda, 27 August 2020

Thank you, Chair, for setting the tone for the third and final open meeting of this Discussion Group.

We are indeed very happy to have had this opportunity to work with you, Spain, and Japan in this Group as a co-lead and to be able to contribute to its work. Let me also express our sincere appreciation to all the supporting agencies for their excellent support.  We are also grateful for the active participation and valuable contribution of all participants and experts in the series of consultations held so far.  The Executive Summary that we have before us reflects the collective effort of all.

The key points are well captured in the executive summary, in the five specific areas of focus of this group.  And very importantly, evidence-based immediate, medium as well as long-term menu options have also been identified for the consideration of policy makers.

Allow me to touch on some important highlights of the document:

 First, we recognized the importance of embarking on a new investment-development pathway harnessing the untapped potentials of innovative investments, including through blended financing, PPPs etc.  It would be important to foster new forms of partnerships for targeted private investments in SDGs implementation. The advanced economies can play a critical role towards building capacities in the developing countries.

Secondly, we emphasized on the importance of public financing not only for immediate relief and support to the people in distress but also for long-term reconstruction and recovery efforts. We need to ensure that public finance is steered in the right direction to stimulate job creation, economic activities and building back social infrastructures better in the areas of health and care services, education, gender, and climate change.  There are many untapped opportunities to strengthen global partnership for public financing including through EXIM banks, South-South and triangular cooperation, etc.

 Thirdly, for reversing the falling trends of remittance, we have identified some practical policy options to reduce cost of remittance flows and provide financial support to remittance families. We have also stressed on the importance of incorporating migrant returnees into local economies as well as international support measures for migrant workers to cope with the COVID-19 job market and beyond.

Fourthly, we considered it important for the advanced economies to meet the 0.7%ODA commitment, with at least 0.15 to 0.20% of their GNI to the LDCs and the most vulnerable countries, especially now to support Covid-19 recovery. It would also be critical to have separate stimulus packages and innovative support measures for graduating countries as well, to prevent any possible slide back.

Finally, we have included some pragmatic menu options for creating new jobs, ensuring targeted international support to revitalize global trade and export earnings etc. We highlighted the potential roles of advanced economies and multilateral financial institutions to help the countries in difficult situations, especially the LDCs and climate vulnerable countries, by meeting their unmet promises in the areas of duty-free-quota-free market access, technology support, and more accessible financing for MSMEs, etc. We have also stressed on the importance of ensuring equal access for women to finance and economic opportunities, skills development and labour force participation.

Excellencies, Dear Colleagues,

This has been a very useful exercise; undertaken with a certain degree of urgency as we grappled with the devastating impact of Covid-19.  It was imperative to come up with innovative and bold policy options for financing development and financing the SDGs.

The interest and conviction that was so evident over the past weeks now needs to be sustained, especially in taking forward the important set of recommendations.  We would need to ensure implementation of the policy options identified. We intend to place the key takeaways from our discussions to the Ministers of Finance in the upcoming high-level meeting. The menu options that we have prepared can be translated into meaningful plans and actions at national regional and global levels.    I am convinced that we can do that, by further building upon the good partnership and understanding that have been forged in the course of this important exercise.

The executive summary and the policy paper that have been shared remain open for inputs. We look forward to your valuable suggestions and contributions to enrich those.

I thank you all.