The government should draw up a robust LDC transition strategy to deal with the possible fallout of the country’s LDC graduation and lay out a pathway for graduation with a momentum, said Debapriya Bhattarharya, convener of Citizen’s Platform for SDGs, Bangladesh.
In a virtual conversation with the media, he also said that the core priority of the strategy should be to boost private investment, mobilise domestic resources, diversify export and improve quality of health and education.
‘The government should come out from addiction towards external benefits. Rather, domestic reforms should get the core attention,’ he said, adding that unfortunately, all discussions are now centred on how much benefit could be materialised foreign countries following the graduation.
Bangladesh has qualified to graduate from the least developed country status as the United Nations Committee for Development Policy on Friday recommended the country’s graduation in 2026.
The government should also prioritise the issues of inclusivity in development and good governance with a focus on reducing inequality, and ensuring human rights, he said, adding that these are the two important considerations regarding the LDC criteria.
The UN CDP did not recommend the graduation of Myanmar considering the latest military coup and its impact on citizens despite the country having met the criteria for graduation, Debapriya said.
Debapriya, also a member of the UN CDP and a distinguished fellow of the Centre for Policy Dialogue, said that the most important issue was to create an enabling environment for attracting more domestic and foreign investment, a key to creating the required amount of jobs.
The country will also not be able to utilise the global benefits which will be derived following the graduation without increasing domestic revenue, he said.
It also needs to enhance investment for ensuring quality education and health services as well as social safety nets, he added.
Although Bangladesh will lose a number of benefits, particularly those related to preferential trade benefits and low-cost global finance, the graduation will open up a number of other opportunities, he said.
Currently, a number of global and bilateral initiatives are underway to articulate enabling measures for the graduating LDCs, he said.
Coordination among the government ministries is a must in negotiation at global forums like WTO’s ministerial meeting where the proposal for extension of all existing preferences for 12 years to graduating LDCs will be discussed, he said.
The foreign ministry should play the key role in these areas, he recommended.
Debapriya said that the post-COVID recovery plans, Rohingya maintenance and repatriation had to be embedded in the strategy.
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