Statement by H.E. Rabab Fatima, Permanent Representative of Bangladesh to the UN at the Second Committee General Discussion on Agenda Item 23(a)Group of Countries in Special Situations: Follow up to the Fourth United Nations Conference on the Least Developed Countries on 08 October 2020

Madame Chair,

I warmly congratulate you on your election. Bangladesh aligns itself with the statements made by the chairs of the G-77 and the LDCs. I thank the Secretary-General for his report on the implementation of the Istanbul Programme of Action (IPOA). I thank the Under Secretary-General/High Representative for her comprehensive update and also wish to take this opportunity to thank her and her office for their support to us.

Mr. Chair,

We are in the final year of implementation of the IPOA. Yet the targets in all its eight priority areas are still very distant. The SG’s report exposed critical gaps in IPOA implementation. We lag far behind in achieving our goal of graduation of half of the LDCs by 2020. Since 2011, only 3 LDCs have graduated while five more countries are on different stages of graduation track by 2024. And now, the COVID-19 pandemic has put them at high risk of backsliding. They would need sustained and stepped-up support now more than ever.

The 5th UN Conference on LDCs in Qatar offers a good opportunity to chart out a new roadmap for LDCs to overcome this crisis and build back better. We need an ambitious agenda to address the high degree of vulnerability from which the LDCs have been suffering historically.

The G-7, G-20, OECD, international financial institutions, and private sector have a crucial part to play in changing the course of the history in the coming decade. The UN must continue to play its catalytic and advocacy role

Allow me to briefly highlight a few issues:

First, the economies of recently graduated countries or those poised to graduate are bearing a heavy brunt of the pandemic, with long term consequences and a high risk of sliding back. It is imperative to create a new support mechanism to help the graduating countries so that they continue to enjoy the support of their partners even after graduation.

Secondly, the resource gap in the implementation of the 2030 Agenda in LDCs is widening. The international community must deliver on the LDC-specific commitments made in different international agreements in the context of the next Programme of Action for LDCs including in the areas of FFD, ODA, technology transfer, and preferential trade.

Thirdly, migrant workers from LDCs are among the most directly affected by the economic fallout of this pandemic. They are facing health, socio-economic and protection crisis. Overall, remittance flow is likely to decline by 20% globally in 2020. We need international support measures to reverse this trend and avert negative impacts on our development gains.

Fourthly, during pandemic, in most LDCs, millions of workers in export-oriented sectors were left jobless as their companies face cancellation of orders by overseas buyers. In the last quarter, in my country alone, export earning went down by 51.5%. Limited export base of LDCs and difficulties in diversification of the same is a challenge, which has been compounded by the pandemic. Trade facilitation and protection of the niche sectors of their economies have become more essential in the wake of the pandemic. It is imperative to ensure targeted international support to the LDCs to tackle this situation.

Finally, the pandemic is proving to be a double blow for climate vulnerable LDCs.  Amid the outbreak of Covid-19, many LDCs, including Bangladesh was struck by disasters, cyclones, typhoons, floods. Bangladesh has recently taken over the 48-member Climate Vulnerable Forum Presidency. We wish to contribute to the evolving global discourse on climate resilience and adaptation, especially for the needs of most vulnerable countries.

I thank you all.