Govt eyes smooth, sustainable LDC graduation

Staff Correspondent

25 June, 2021 12:00 AM printer

The government attaches the highest priority to ensuring a smooth and sustainable LDC graduation for Bangladesh, Prime Minister's Principal Secretary Dr Ahmad Kaikaus has said.

“To this end, we have established an effective platform to support Sustainable Graduation --- taking all the relevant stakeholders on board,” he said.

He was speaking as the chief guest at a virtual meeting on ‘Graduation of Bangladesh from the least developed country (LDC) category and smooth transition towards sustainable development’ on Wednesday.

Economic Relations Division (ERD) of the Government of Bangladesh, The United Nations Office of the High Representative for the Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing States (UN-OHRLLS) and UN Committee for Development Policy (CDP) jointly organised the meeting.

The meeting reviewed the priorities of Bangladesh in preparing for graduation from the LDC category, smooth transition and the most important international support measures (ISMs)—including both traditional and new forms of support—needed from the international community.

Principal Coordinator (SDGs Affairs) of Prime Minister’s Office Zuena Aziz, Director of OHRLLS and Chair of the UN Inter-Agency Task Force on LDC Graduation Heidi Schroderus-Fox, and UN CDP Member and Chair for Sub-Group on LDCs Taffere Tesfachew spoke at the inaugural session the event.

PMO Secretary Md Tofazzel Hossain Miah chaired the event, while CDP Secretary Roland Moller joined him as the co-chair.

High officials from different ministries and divisions, UN Systems, development and trading partners also joined the meeting. It is notable that Bangladesh has been recommended for graduation from the LDC status during the latest triennial review of CDP in February 2021.

Recognising the impacts of COVID-19 pandemic, CDP has also recommended an extended, five-year long preparatory period from 2021 to 2026 as well as enhanced monitoring, analysis, and transition support.

During the preparatory period, Bangladesh will prepare a smooth transition strategy (STS) in cooperation with development and trading partners and with targeted assistance from the UN system, especially members of the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) on LDC Graduation Support.

The STS is expected to provide the basis for a successful transition, ensuring that LDC-specific ISMs are phased out in a way that does not disrupt the country’s development progress.

ERD will coordinate the process of preparing the STS by involving all the stakeholders. 

The virtual meeting was comprised of two business sessions. The first session was themed on ‘Preparing for Graduation and Smooth Transition and Support’. During this session, Commerce Secretary Tapan Kanti Ghosh spoke on the challenges of LDC graduation and way forward while ERD Secretary Fatima Yasmin delivered a presentation on ‘Planned Strategy for Smooth Graduation’.

This session also featured a presentation on ‘Preparing for Graduation and Smooth Transition – what next after CDP recommendations’ from Matthias Bruckner from CDP Secretariat while Mereseini Bower from the same entity delivered a presentation on ‘New Sustainable Graduation Support Facility’.

The second business session was themed on ‘Results of a Survey on Assistance Measures for LDC graduation in Bangladesh’. During this session, Member of UN CDP Dr Debapriya Bhattacharya spoke on the ‘CDP’s Contribution to the Fifth UN Conference on LDCs and Global Support Measures’.

Consultant of United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UN DESA) Dr Fahmida Khatun presented the draft Survey Report on ‘Assistance Measures for LDC graduation in Bangladesh– Key Findings and Recommendations’ in the meeting.

Member of the Planning Commission Dr Shamsul Alam, Foreign Secretary Masud Bin Momen, Member of the Planning Commission Sharifa Khan and Secretary of the Statistics and Informatics Division Mohammad Yamin Chowdhury also spoke at the business session.