PM Sheikh Hasina in 5th LDC Summit: The Roadmap for the Future

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Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina departed for Doha, Qatar’s capital, to attend the 5th United Nations Conference on Least Developed Countries. 

The gathering is in Doha from March 5 to 9, and it looks like Dhaka’s final participation as a member of this organization since Bangladesh is due to leave the forum in 2026. Hence, this year, the LDC summit is very significant for Dhaka, and it will seek support to ensure its smooth transition as an LDC graduate. 

The country has satisfied all three qualifying criteria for LDC graduation: per capita income, human assets, and economic and environmental vulnerability. 

The Fifth United Nations Conference on the Least Developed Countries (LDC5) represents a once-in-a-decade opportunity to accelerate sustainable development in areas where international assistance is most needed – and to tap the full potential of the Least Developed Countries to help them make progress on the road to development. The LDC Summit is generally held every ten years but has been postponed twice since 2021 due to the coronavirus epidemic.

Against such a backdrop, Bangladesh is expected to seek worldwide support for a smooth LDC graduation during the summit. 

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina is also going to meet Rwandan President Paul Kagame, UN Conference on Trade and Development Secretary-General Rebeca Grynspan, and International Telecommunication Union Secretary-General Doreen Bogdan-Martin and will also speak at a side event titled ‘Sustainable and Seamless Transition for the Graduation Cohort of 2021,’ organised by Bangladesh, Laos, and Nepal. 

Hence, this summit is very significant as a multilateral forum for Bangladesh to demand ambitious investments in health, education, and social protection systems, as well as all of the resources necessary to properly achieve Agenda 2030 and the Sustainable Development Goals representing the other LDC countries as well. 

Bangladesh’s Aspirations 

In light of the global crisis and the impact of COVID-19, Sheikh Hasina is anticipated to persuade developed nations to extend Bangladesh’s trade advantages beyond 2026. Bangladesh will graduate from LDC by that year. 

During the 5th UN Conference on the Least Developed Countries (LDC5), Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina is anticipated to highlight Bangladesh’s success story in becoming eligible for graduation from the Least Developed Countries classification. Besides, She will seek worldwide support from the Least Developed Countries group for a seamless transition, particularly in areas of socioeconomic development impacted by the coronavirus epidemic, climate change, and the Ukraine-Russia war. 

The Prime Minister described how the epidemic and conflict delayed economic development and made it difficult for poorer and developing nations to meet Sustainable Development Goals. 

The event will bring together world leaders, commercial sector and civil society leaders, and young people to push new ideas, make fresh promises of support, and accelerate the delivery of agreed commitments through the Doha Plan of Action. 

Ending the Ongoing Russia-Ukraine Conflict 

Reaching Qatar, Prime Minister urged the United Nations to take effective measures to stop the Russia-Ukraine war as soon as possible. 

“We are suffering a lot as a result of the war. Inflation has increased, especially due to the non-arrival of goods for sanctions. People are suffering a lot because of the war; people are suffering all over the world,” she said. 

She made the call amid a meeting with the UN Secretary-General Antonio Gutters. She opined that the countries’ profit from this should help other countries reduce their sufferings. 

Bangladesh has become an ‘Asian miracle.’ The PM would argue that the LDCs and developing countries were the worst sufferers of the epidemic, while the Russia-Ukraine war shook their economies more than the wealthy countries.

Urged Support for Rohingya Repatriation 

Amid the meeting, the UN Secretary-General Guterres appreciated Hasina for her unprecedented successful development, diplomacy, and tackling the Covid pandemic. 

Another important development while discussing the Rohingya issue, the Prime Minister urged the UN Secretary-General to undertake initiatives for the successful repatriation of these Myanmar Nationals. 

Meanwhile, owing to the Russia-Ukraine war, there is a sharp decline in the assistance of the Rohingya community. Donor organisations are increasingly losing interest in providing food aid to Bangladesh’s displaced Rohingyas. 

The World Food Programmer’s (WFP) proposal to restrict food aid to hundreds of thousands of Rohingya refugees living in camps in Bangladesh due to a serious budget deficit is raising concern. 

The monthly grant will be reduced by 17 per cent to US$ 10 per person beginning March 1, with the World Food Programme warned that more cutbacks may be inevitable if fresh money is not secured by April. 

Hence, the PM is trying to adjure the international community from overlooking the Rohingya community’s endurance. Referring to her government’s relocation of 30,000 Rohingyas to Bhasan Char, she requested UN bodies to cooperate to move more Rohingyas there. 

 Emphasizing on South-South Cooperation 

The Ukraine war has put forward the inexorability of South-South Cooperation. While talking to the UNGA president, Csaba Korosi, the PM proposed forming an international forum incorporating the South countries to find the potential and the things to be done for the welfare of the people as the developed nations did not fulfil commitments to the global south. 

Moreover, she sought the cooperation of the UNGA in holding an international conference on the issue for a day. Korosi also applauded the economic journey of Bangladesh. The two leaders also discussed the issue of water management and climate change.

To conclude, this summit shed light on the development journey of Bangladesh and how successfully it has buried its bottomless basket case title and marched forward as an ‘emerging economy.’ 

Therefore, the PM will draw attention to the development trajectory of Bangladesh and seek support to resolve ongoing challenges owing to the geopolitical crisis. 

– Saume Saptaparna Nath is a Research Associate at the KRF Center for Bangladesh and Global Affairs (CBGA). Previously, she worked as an Intern at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Bangladesh.

Published in Financial Express [Link]