Statement by H.E. Rabab Fatima, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Bangladesh at the Panel on: Accelerating infrastructure investments for a sustainable and resilient recovery and restoring trade, 13 April 2021

I thank you, Mr. Moderator. An excellent discussion so far.

Excellencies – The FSDR 2021 provides a grim picture of the global economic and financial landscape. We are facing the worst recession in 90 years. The LDCs and other vulnerable countries are the worst victims. They are facing double jeopardy due to domestic financial setbacks and rapid fall of external sources of financing in the areas of FDI, trade and remittances. We must break this vicious cycle and chart out an inclusive and resilient recovery for everyone, everywhere. The Agenda 2030 and the Paris Agreement can be our blueprints for a new paradigm of infrastructure investment and fast-tracking a sustainable recovery.

Allow me to share some specific thoughts in this regard:

First, the lack of infrastructure, especially in the areas of ICT, health, and education was acutely felt during the pandemic. Therefore, it should be an urgent priority to build adequate infrastructure in all these areas to achieve the SDGs.  We must invest in sustainable infrastructure to ensure fast recovery from the pandemic as well as better resilience against any such future shocks.

Second, the pandemic has revealed the importance of digital infrastructure to provide vital services to people when other means seriously fail. We must, therefore, invest heavily in digital infrastructure not only to reap the maximum benefits of ICT and other frontier technologies but also to accelerate recovery from the pandemic. The developed countries must ensure technology transfer to LDCs and other vulnerable countries to build their critical public infrastructures, especially to reach those who are the farthest behind.

Third, we must integrate the disasters and climate change issues into our investment decisions to build long-term sustainability and resilience against the adverse impacts of climate change.

Fourth, the COVID-19 pandemic has revealed the weaknesses of our supply chain infrastructures. We need enhanced investments for building trade infrastructures including in the areas of transit, transportation, shipping, etc. E-business infrastructures is another area of high importance.  We must seize the new opportunities offered by the evolving nature of e-commerce in our recovery journey. The advanced economies should fulfill their unmet promises in the areas of DFQF market access and other trade benefits to LDCs.

Finally, access to grants and long-term concessional financing, especially from the multilateral and bilateral development partners, and multilateral and regional development banks, is the key to fulfill the needs of heavy investments in infrastructure. The private sector must step up their efforts to align their investment with SDGs implementation in line with national priorities. It is also important to further explore untapped opportunities of public-private financing, blended financing, south-south and triangular cooperation etc.

I thank you all.