Int’l support architecture for Asia-Pacific LDCs need of the hour: Momen

Bangladesh Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen has called for stronger policies and support measures for the least developed countries (LDCs).

Addressing the opening session of the four-day Asia-Pacific Regional Review Meeting in Geneva on Monday, the Minister, in fact, urged the global community to chalk out a new international support architecture for the LDCs as well as the graduating LDCs.

The Asia-Pacific meeting, jointly convened by the Bangladesh government, UN-OHRLLS and UN-ESCAP, was held in preparations for the Fifth United Nations Conference on the Least Developed Countries (UNLDC-5) slated for January in Qatar.

Speaking at the event, Dr Momen lauded the remarkable progress made by the majority of the LDCs in the Asia-Pacific, particularly in reducing poverty and investing in human resources and infrastructure.

He shared the graduation story of Bangladesh under the dynamic, bold and visionary leadership of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, which has witnessed the per capita income reaching $2,227 and reduction of poverty to 20.5 percent.

Rabab Fatima, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Bangladesh to the UN in New York, chaired the opening session, while several top leaders, including Volkan Bozkir, President of the UN General Assembly, Collen Vixen Kelapile, President of the ECOSOC, Eisenhower Mkaka, Foreign Minister of Malawi and Chair of the LDCs, and Faruk Kaymakci, Deputy Foreign Minister of Turkey, spoke at the event.

Foreign Minister Momen also chaired one session of the regional review meeting, titled ‘Ministerial dialogue on lessons learned in the implementation of the IPoA-challenges encountered and the way forward’.

During the day, he also held meetings with Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director General of the World Health Organization (WHO), Daren Tang, Director General of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), and Filippo Grandi, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees at their offices in Geneva.

During his meeting with Dr Tedros, the Foreign Minister emphasised on more effective role of WHO to ensure the availability, affordability and equitable distribution of Covid-19 vaccines for the developing countries.

Dr Momen highlighted the importance of the temporary waiver of TRIPS obligations on the production of Covid-19 vaccines, medicines and other medical equipment.

He informed the WHO DG of Bangladesh’s capacity to produce vaccines, therapeutics, diagnostics and other medical equipment that would be crucial in the fight against the pandemic.

During the meeting, both Foreign Minister Momen and Dr Tedros commended the personal initiatives of Saima Wazed, Member of WHO’s Advisory Panel on Mental Health, for bringing mental health and autism issues in the mainstream of the health sector.

During his meeting with the Director General of UNHCR Philippo Grandi, Dr Momen sought UNHCR’s support to put pressure on Myanmar for sustainable repatriation of the Rohingyas from Bangladesh.

During his meeting with Daren Tang, the Director General of WIPO, Foreign Minister Momen sought WIPO’s special support and facilitation for Bangladesh’s smooth graduation and achievement of Vision 2041 by providing support in strengthening the IP sector of Bangladesh.

Both Minister Momen and DG Tang agreed that intellectual property should be a tool for development, and should work as an incentive for SMEs, women entrepreneurs and the youth.

Bangladesh has been playing an active leadership role in the multilateral fora on behalf of the LDCs.

In recognition of that, Ambassador Rabab Fatima, along with Ambassador Bob Rae, Permanent Representative of Canada to the UN in New York, was elected co-chair of the LDC-5 Preparatory Committee Bureau, a key committee that will lead preparations for the LDC-5 conference.

As a co-Chair, Bangladesh will have the opportunity to push forward some of its key priorities, including sustainable graduation and international support measures for graduation.

Source: United News of Bangladesh