Statement by H.E. Rabab Fatima, Permanent Representative of Bangladesh to the UN at the Thematic panel discussion 6: Mobilizing international solidarity, reinvigorated global partnerships and innovative tools for risk-informed sustainable development: a march towards sustainable graduation 28 May 2021

I thank you, Co-Chairs, for giving me the floor.

I thank the keynote speakers and the panelists for their insightful presentations.

The IPOA had an ambitious target to graduate half of the LDCs by 2020. Although the target remains unmet, significant progress has been achieved. Four LDCs have already graduated. And sixteen are in various phases of graduation. In the last triennial review of the CDP, my own country Bangladesh along with Lao PDR, and Nepal have been recommended for graduation.

The COVID-19 pandemic, however, has greatly jeopardized this progress. Many graduating countries are bearing a heavy brunt of the crisis. Their decades of development gains are on high risk of sliding back.

Under these circumstances, the graduating countries have growing concerns about the prospect of graduation. There are also real concerns regarding access to financing for the 2030 Agenda and climate actions.

At its last triennial review, the CDP considered these overarching concerns. It conducted a comprehensive study to assess the impacts of COVID-19 on LDCs. It recommended a longer preparatory period of five years for the graduating LDCs, as well as continuous monitoring of the impacts of the pandemic over the coming years.

These are welcome developments; yet far too inadequate. It would be imperative to develop comprehensive support measures to incentivize graduating countries. They would need enhanced support from their development and trading partners, as well as the UN system to ensure sustainable and irreversible graduation.

The LDC5 Conference provides us an important opportunity to demonstrate international solidarity and partnership to advance the graduation agenda. Let me share some specific thoughts in this regard:

First, the graduating and graduated countries are facing tremendous challenges to implement 2030 Agenda due to the COVID-19 crisis. It would be important to ensure new and improved support measures, especially in trade, IPR and financing. The LDC group has submitted some specific proposals to the WTO. We expect favorable considerations of those proposals by our partners.

Second, there are important commitments in different GA and ECOSOC resolutions to support LDC graduation in a time-bound manner.  But the process is fraught with lack of clarity, especially on support for graduated countries. The new POA should aim to have comprehensive and clearly laid down support measures to mitigate the impacts of loss of ISMs in the post-graduation phase.

Third, a multi-stakeholder approach is essential to ensure smooth transition. There should be tailored support to address every aspect of graduation namely, loss of ISMs, access to non-LDC specific support, smooth transition, FFD, SDGs implementation etc. The private sector can also play a critical role to support graduation, especially through innovative public-private partnership projects.

 Fourth, graduation monitoring is very important to ensure that there are adequate and timely support measures to avoid any slide back. So far, CDP’s monitoring has been more focused on pre-graduation phase, but not so much on post-graduation. As the number of graduating and graduated countries is increasing, it is important to refocus on post-graduation monitoring to ensure necessary support measures.

Fifth, enhanced monitoring mechanism must entail timely response from the UN and other development partners. DCF and UN country team should have better coordination. Capacity development of both the UN and the graduating countries must be given sharper focus. Along with capacity development gaps, data gaps, policy support gaps, coordination gaps must be mitigated as well.

Finally, graduation is essentially a demand driven and country led process. The political willingness at national level is critical to move this agenda forward, as it is important to ensure international support for successful transition. It is, therefore, imperative to create an incentivized global support structure for graduating countries to be encouraged to take the challenging pathway towards graduation.

I thank you, Mr. Chair.