Bismillahir Rahmanir Rahim
Hon’ble Foreign Minister of Malawi and Chair of LDCs,
H.E. President of the 76th Session of the UN General Assembly,
Excellencies, Distinguished participants,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Assalamu Alaikum. Peace be upon you all.
It is indeed a great pleasure for me to address this Annual Ministerial Meeting of the Least Developed Countries (LDCs). Almost one year after the end of the IPOA, it is time to retrospect how much progress we have achieved to realise our long-standing ambition. I must say our progress is significant as six LDCs have already graduated and 16 of them have met the benchmark for graduation as per the latest 2021 triennial review by the UN Committee for Development Policy (CDP). We still have a long way to go. Therefore, we should step-up our efforts to achieve our desired goals.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
- Recently we convened the Asia-Pacific Regional Review meeting of the LDCs together with UN-OHRLLS and UN-ESCAP in in Geneva to assess how the LDCs of the region have done in implementation of the IPoA. We were encouraged to observe that the Asia-Pacific LDCs have registered considerable progress in their socio-economic development and 10 out of 11 LDCs of the region have already met the criteria for graduation at least once.
- Bangladesh is set to graduate in 2026, fulfilling all three eligibility criteria in two subsequent terms. Our Hon’ble Prime Minister led our graduation journey with her dynamic and prudent guidance. We have achieved laudable success in each of the eight priority areas of IPoA. We have reduced our poverty rate by half and now it is down to 20.5 percent. A robust manufacturing sector, significant investment in infrastructure, increased remittance flows, enhanced exports and country’s visionary leadership are major drivers for Bangladesh’s recent development. Moreover, our incremental development plan has set a target of becoming a developed country by 2041, coinciding with the platinum jubilee of our independence.
- Unfortunately, the unforeseen tragedy of the COVID-19 pandemic has negatively affected the progress of the LDCs including my own country. The recent flagship ‘State of the LDCs 2021’ report by UN-OHRLLS states that the structural vulnerabilities exposed by the COVID-19 pandemic have devastating and compounding ramifications on public health, food security, trade, and Science, Technology, and Innovation (STI) in LDC countries.
- All LDCs are also disproportionately suffering high human and economic loss owing to climate change, despite being the lowest emitters of carbon. The recently published IPCC-6 Impact Assessment report says that we are at the tipping point of the climate catastrophe.
- You are aware that Bangladesh has sheltered almost 1.2 million Rohingyas who have been forcibly displaced from Myanmar. The economic, social and environmental impacts of sheltering the Rohingyas is enormous.
- It is time for us to revisit the current structure of our partnership in the lead-up to the LDC-5 Conference to agree on a redesigned international support architecture for the LDCs. To this end, let me make the following proposals:
First, rapid and sustainable recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic. Providing adequate support to the LDCs including safe and affordable vaccines is a top priority now;
Second, continuation of the LDC-specific support mechanism under the purview of WTO and other multilateral, regional, and bilateral mechanisms for a certain period after graduation to ensure smooth and sustained graduation. We have already placed a proposal to the WTO for an extension of 12 years after graduation which warrants a favourable consideration by the international community;
Third, upholding multilateral cooperation and strengthening global partnerships for channeling more financial and technological support for the LDCs;
Fourth, strict implementation of the Paris Agreement, mobilisation of 100 billion dollars climate fund annually with 50:50 balance between adaptation and mitigation. LDCs also need urgent access to green technologies; and
Finally, focus on job creation, scaling up social protection, and lowering cost of remittance transfer will be important for the LDCs in the next Programme of Action.
I thank you all.