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Bangladesh achieves its goal by participating in UN conference on LDC5: PM

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Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina today said Bangladesh has achieved its goal by participating in the United Nations conference on the Least Developed Countries (LDC5) as it informed the international community about the various preparations and activities taken by Bangladesh to achieve the SDGs.

"In this conference, we informed the international community about the various preparations and activities we have taken to achieve the SDGs and the graduation from LDCs towards the implementation of Vision 2041," she said in the written speech of the press conference following her visit to Qatar to attend 5th United Nations Conference on the Least Developed Countries (LDC5).

Following is the full text of the written speech:

Bismillahir Rahmanir Rahim

Dear colleagues, journalists and distinguished personalities present here,

Assalamu Alaikum! Good Afternoon.

At the invitation of Qatar's Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani and United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres, I visited Doha from March 4-8, 2023 to participate in second part of the 5th United Nations Conference on the Least Developed Countries (LDC5).

The main theme of this year's conference was "From Potential to Prosperity".

Earlier in 2001, I attended the third LDC conference in Brussels and the fourth LDC conference in Istanbul in 2011.

This is probably Bangladesh's last participation as a least developed country in the UN LDC conference. Because, we will leave LDC in 2026.

By participating in various events of this conference, I presented the incredible socio-economic development of Bangladesh to the international community.

At the same time, I raised our various demands and expectations to development partners to ensure a smooth and sustainable graduation from the list of least developed countries in 2026.

On March 5, I addressed the Opening Plenary Meeting of the LDC-5 Conference at Qatar National Convention Centre as the special invited guest.

Apart from me, the Emir of Qatar, the UN Secretary General, the President of the 77th UN General Assembly and the President of Malawi, the current chair of the LDC Group, also spoke on this occasion.

The UN Secretary General in his address said, "LDC graduation should be rewarded, not punished".

I have clearly stated in my speech that LDCs do not want mercy or charity, but their fair dues as per international commitments.

I demanded the implementation, on priority basis, of various international commitments made to LDCs in the wake of the global food, fuel and financial crisis caused by the Covid pandemic and the ongoing war in Ukraine.

In this regard, I highlighted the special needs of LDCs in different issues like international trade, investment, financial assistance, foreign debt repayment, technology transfer, safe migration, access to climate finance, etc.

Besides, I called for the continuation of preferential trade facilities and other facilities applicable to LDCs for an extended period to keep accelerating the development of countries including Bangladesh which remain on the way to graduation.

In 1974, Bangladesh was recognized as a member of the United Nations as a least developed country at the hands of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.

Following his footprints, our government with the people's mandate has been able to fulfill all the criteria of graduation as a middle income developing country by 2021 as per our promise.

On March 5, in the afternoon, I attended a high level session on the side event titled "Sustainable and Smooth Transition for the Graduating Cohort of 2021" organized by three Asian countries-- Bangladesh, Nepal and Lao PDR-- which are on the way to graduation from the list of least developed countries.

Deputy Prime Minister of Nepal Narayan Kaji Shrestha, Deputy Prime Minister of Lao PDR and Executive Secretary of UNESCAP addressed the session.

I present a five-point specific proposal on behalf of the graduating countries side by side with highlighting the initiatives of our government to accelerate Bangladesh's journey of graduation. At the end of the event, a joint statement containing the integrated demands of the three countries was adopted.

In the morning of March 6, I participated in a business summit titled "The Rise of Bengal Tiger: Potentials of Trade & Investment in Bangladesh" jointly organized by Bangladesh Securities and Exchange Commission and Bangladesh Investment Development Authority.

A good number of members including leaders of Qatar's top business organizations participated in this event.

I called for reshaping the bilateral relations between Bangladesh and Qatar on the basis of mutually beneficial economic partnership.

In this context, I proposed the formation of a joint business and investment committee between the governments of the two countries and a joint business forum consisting of the top business organizations of the two countries.

Besides, I called upon Qatari businessmen to invest in Bangladesh in various sectors including renewable energy, offshore gas exploration, energy transmission system, agricultural processing, tourism and start-up.

In the afternoon on that day, I was present as the chief guest at the side event "Investment in Research and Development in LDCs for Smart and Innovative Societies" organized by our delegation.

Ministerial representatives of Egypt, Singapore, Estonia, high-level officials of the United Nations, experts from OECD, ITU, WIPO and FAO participated in the event.

During the event, they lauded the success achieved by our government in the implementation of 'Digital Bangladesh' and promised to stay with us by extending required cooperation in building 'Smart Bangladesh' as per our Vision-2041.

I highlighted our various initiatives including promoting agricultural research since taking charge of my government in 1996, building strong and secure digital infrastructure across the country since 2009 and at the same promoting scientific education, introduction of scholarships and donations to encourage research and innovation in health, climate change, biotechnology, etc.

In the evening on the same day, I participated in the Regional Ambassadors' Conference organized with the participation of Bangladesh Ambassadors stationed in GCC countries, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey.

In the conference, I directed to take concerted steps to open new horizons in our relations with the countries of the Middle East in continuation of the foreign policy followed by the Father of the Nation.

I instructed our ambassadors to put emphasis on various areas of economic diplomacy including export expansion, investment attraction, energy security, protection of interests and rights of expatriates, technology cooperation with these countries.

At the same time, I suggested increasing the range of consular services using digital medium as per need.

In the morning of March 7, with the President of Burundi, I co-chaired the high-level round table meeting titled "Enhancing the Participation of Least Developed Countries (LDCs) in International Trade & Regional Integration" of the LDC-5 Conference.

In my speech, I presented various initiatives taken by our government to build Bangladesh as a Regional Connectivity and Logistic Hub.

In the afternoon on the same day, I was present as the chief guest at the side event "Global Partnership for Smooth and Sustainable Graduation: Marching towards Smart Bangladesh" organized by our delegation.

Apart from Danish Minister for Development Cooperation and Climate Change, high-level representatives of various international organizations including UNCTAD, WTO, UNIDO, OECD and private representatives were present in this event.

I mentioned various far-reaching initiatives taken by our government in various sectors including trade, investment, industrialization, communication infrastructure and digital technology.

I called for continuing the tariff and quota-free trade facilities for LDCs in the post-graduation period and TRIPS exemptions for the benefit of other sectors, including the pharmaceutical industry.

In the evening on that day, I participated in a special program organized by Bangladeshi expatriates in Qatar at the MHM School in Doha on the occasion of the historic 7th March. I called upon Qatari expatriates to contribute to the ongoing socio-economic development of the country.

I requested those, who are intending to migrate, to travel abroad legally by receiving necessary financial assistance from the Probashi Kallyan Bank, send remittances to the country through banks or money transfer agencies instead of hundi, and stay away from criminal activities and abide by the laws of the host country.

Apart from participating in the UN LDC5 conference, I also participated in several bilateral meetings. On March 5, I had a meeting with His Highness Emir of Qatar Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani.

During the meeting, His Highness the Emir of Qatar assured me that Qatar will stay with Bangladesh to meet Bangladesh's growing demand for energy.

On March 6, I had a meeting with Qatar Foundation co-founder and chairperson Sheikha Moza bint Nasser, also mother of the Emir.

In the meeting, we discussed about increasing bilateral cooperation in various sectors including education and healthcare.

Under the Education Above All Foundation established by Sheikha Moza, a memorandum of understanding was signed with the Qatar Fund for Development for a grant of $12.7 million to support primary school dropouts in Bangladesh.The Hon'ble Foreign Minister signed this MoU on behalf of the Government.

In the afternoon of March 4, I had a meeting with UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.

I called upon him to continue his ongoing talks with the parties concerned to end the war in Ukraine.

I sought the UN's cooperation in quick repatriation of Rohingyas to Myanmar and shifting of more Rohingyas from Cox's Bazar to Bhasanchar.

On the same day, I had a bilateral meeting with the President of the 77th General Assembly of the United Nations, Saba Karosi.

Besides, Rebecca Greenspan, Secretary General of UNCTAD, Secretary General of ITU, Administrator of UNDP, Minister for Development Cooperation and Climate Change of Denmark and Commissioner of International Partnerships of the European Union had paid courtesy calls on me.

Also, Al Jazeera, a Qatar-based media, received an interview with me.

Among others, Honorable Education Minister, Honorable Foreign Affairs Minister and Honorable Commerce Minister visited Qatar as my entourages.

They attended various events as well as participated in several bilateral meetings. In the morning on March 8, I left Doha for Dhaka.

A short commemorative event was held on our journey to mark International Women's Day sponsored by Biman Bangladesh Airlines.

Overall, I think Bangladesh has achieved its goal by participating in the United Nations conference.

In this conference, we informed the international community about the various preparations and activities we have taken to achieve the SDGs and the graduation from LDCs towards the implementation of Vision 2041.

On behalf of the least developed countries, we have also pledged to implement the issues applicable to us in the Doha Program of Action.

We hope that the initiative mentioned in this Programme of Action regarding the establishment of Sustainable Graduation Support Facility under the United Nations will proceed appropriately.

Thanks you all again.

Source: Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha (BSS)