Mr. President, Excellencies, Distinguished Colleagues.
I thank the Committee for Development Policy (CDP) for recommending Bangladesh’s graduation in its current report.
I thank you, Ambassador Collen, and your expert Edgar Sisa, for your leadership in leading to the consensual outcome of the resolution that will endorse the recommendation today.
And, I thank all our partners for showing their support and flexibility to reach consensus, especially on exceptional measures resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Graduation has been a long-cherished aspiration of our entire nation. This comes at an auspicious time when we are celebrating the 50th anniversary of our independence and the birth centenary celebrations of our Founding Father.
Let me also take this opportunity to congratulate Nepal and Lao PDR for achieving this milestone with us.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina envisioned to transform Bangladesh into a middle-income country by 2021 and a developed country by 2041. She has led us to this historic moment despite the unprecedented challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Mr. President, Excellencies,
The resolution that we are going to adopt today is marked by some important elements. It embeds the notion of continuous monitoring for ensuring sustainable and irreversible graduation. [And] It advises the CDP to further analyse at its next triennial review whether the preparatory period extended to the graduating countries will be adequate to manage the COVID-19 impacts. Both would be critical in monitoring progress towards smooth and sustainable graduation.
Another welcome development is its recognition of the importance of integrating disaster risk reduction into the smooth transition strategies of graduating countries. It encourages development and trading partners to support graduating and recently graduated countries to reduce disaster risk and build resilience. This is going to be helpful in their efforts to build back better from the pandemic and develop resilience against future shocks, including against climate change impacts.
We have just completed the first preparatory committee meeting (PrepCom) of the LDC V conference. As one of the co-chairs of the PrepCom, we look forward to a transformative Programme of Action for the LDCs in the coming decade. We had focused discussions on building international solidarity and partnerships for sustainable graduation. We are working towards hosting the Asia-Pacific meeting, which will have specific focus on graduation issues. Later this month, we will have the PGA-PECOSOC joint event on LDCs where my Foreign Minister will participate. We encourage Member States, all UN entities, and other stakeholders to remain meaningfully engaged in the process in the lead up the LDC5 conference in Doha in 2022.
The graduation of an LDC is not only a success of the country itself, but also a testimony of the strength of multilateral partnership led by the UN. Graduation, however, comes with many challenges. Amid the ongoing pandemic, the graduating countries are concerned that graduation may doubly jeopardize their development journey, both by the COVID-19 consequences and the loss of LDC-specific support measures. There are multidimensional vulnerabilities, such as climate change, which poses an additional threat. It is, therefore, imperative to ensure continued and strengthened international support measures to the graduating and graduated LDCs. The upcoming LDC-V conference, the 12th WTO Ministerial, and the COP-26 provide us with important opportunities to come up with new and innovative support measures for them.
Let me share some specific thoughts in this regard:
First, the graduating and graduated countries need new and improved support structure. There should be tailored and clearly laid down support measures to address every aspect of graduation namely, loss of ISMs, access to non-LDC specific support, smooth transition, FFD, SDGs implementation etc.
Second, it is imperative to enhance graduation monitoring to ensure that there are adequate and timely support measures to avoid any slide back. Graduation support has essentially been more focused on pre-graduation phase so far. We need to put adequate attention to the post-graduation ISMs now.
Third, capacity development of the graduating countries must be given sharper priority to enable them to take up the graduation challenges. The UN system, especially the UNCTs need to include this in their strategic priorities.
Finally, graduation is essentially a demand driven and politically led process. Therefore, it is imperative to incentivize graduation. Graduation should not be a punishment; it should be a reward.
I thank you, Mr. President.