I thank you, Mr. Chair.
My warmest congratulations to you and all Members of the Bureau. I also thank the Secretary General and the UNDP Administrator for their comprehensive reports.
Bangladesh aligns itself with the statement of the G-77. I wish to make a few additional points in my national capacity.
The countries of the global south have enhanced cooperation on various fronts to achieve the 2030 agenda following the HLC decision in 2016 as well as the BAPA+40 Commitments. Since then, the COVID-19 pandemic has changed the whole landscape of global cooperation. This session of HLC provides us with an important opportunity to explore the implementation progress of BAPA+40, especially to build back better from the pandemic.
We consider South-South and Triangular Cooperation as a vital driver of our development. In the BAPA+40 Conference, our Foreign Minister proposed to establish a forum of the Ministers of Development or Finance and of Foreign Affairs of the South, to take forward our collaborative work. He also announced setting up a “South-South Knowledge and Innovation Centre” in Dhaka. The center will aim to co-create solutions to address the pressing challenges of the South. And that includes technology transformation, reaping the benefits of 4IR, sharing innovative practices, leveraging STI, and SDGs implementation.
The COVID-19 pandemic has jeopardized decades of our hard-earned development gains and implementation of Agenda 2030. Yet, amid the tumult and turbulence of the pandemic, some rare opportunities have emerged in certain areas such as trade and investment, regional integration and digital inclusion. In this regard, South-South Cooperation can contribute to the exchange of innovations and expanding partnerships among countries and UN entities. Alongside that, we must step up our efforts with clear focus on areas that are severely impacted by Covid-19 such as health, education, decent jobs, agriculture, and climate vulnerabilities.
Let me share a few specific thoughts in this regard:
First, while the global North has set itself on a fast recovery track, the LDCs and other vulnerable countries in the South remain furthest behind. The vaccine coverage in those countries is mere 2% or less. It is imperative now to eliminate these burgeoning vaccines divide and declare COVID-19 vaccine as a global public good. Enhanced SSTC can play an important role in this regard. LDCs with large production capacities of pharmaceuticals and vaccines, such as my country, can contribute to this effort, if the technology is shared. Alongside, we need robust investment in health infrastructures in global South.
Second, for the first time since 1998, we see an alarming rise in global poverty. Inequality has also risen dramatically. The countries in the global south, including my own country, have led many innovative solutions to fight these challenges. There must be better networks to share ideas and experiences for durable solutions to these problems. We need targeted investments in the areas of productive capacity building, jobs creation, gender mainstreaming, and better integration with global economy.
Third, the COVID-19 pandemic has once again revealed the stark economic disparities between the global north and the south. The voices of the south in defining the course of actions to finance the recovery efforts remain far from equal. We must forge stronger collaboration among the developing countries to close this gap, including through the new generation financial institutions, enhanced trade and investment, financial and technological inclusions etc.
Fourth, the COVID-19 pandemic has had a drastic impact on the export earnings of the countries in the south due to reduced price, falling demand, and supply chain disruptions. We need a multipronged approach to revive the trade and investment situations in countries in the south. And this can be achieved by promoting south-south value chains for economic growth and enhanced regional trade and development initiatives.
Fifth, agricultural output is much lower in the LDCs in comparison even with other developing countries. Climate change is aggravating the situation. Food security is also a rising challenge in this pandemic. To overcome this, we need targeted technology support, including through SSTC, UN Technology Bank for LDCs etc .
Finally, we must leverage SSTC to bridge the digital divide and ensure universal access to remote learning and digital health services to alleviate the fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic in education and health sectors.
I thank you.