Bangladesh seeks support for least developed countries to address pandemic

By Md. Kamruzzaman

DHAKA, Bangladesh (AA) – Bangladesh has urged the international community to support needy countries in addressing the global coronavirus pandemic, said a Foreign Ministry statement issued Friday.

“LDCs [Least Developed Countries] should be provided with financial and technical support for producing COVID-19 vaccines and other life-saving medicines,” Foreign Minister A.K. Abdul Momen said while addressing an international discussion held virtually Thursday at UN headquarters in New York as the keynote speaker, according to the statement.

Currently, 46 low-income countries across the world are considered to be LDCs or less/least developed countries that are facing significant structural challenges to sustainable development.

Highlighting the huge shortage of vaccines in the LDCs and its impact on economies, Momen emphasized the “meaningful transfer of technology, access to aid for trade, and exemption from intellectual property rights so that LDCs can produce COVID-19 vaccines and other life-saving medicines.”

The thematic discussion was held on enhancing international trade and regional integration for the LDCs, according to the statement.

Referring to the commitment of the international community to the less developed countries, he added: “Although the Istanbul Program of Action for the LDCs announced its target in 2011 of doubling the share of LDCs in global trade in one decade, unfortunately during the last 10 years, the share of LDCs in the global trade has rather decreased.”

The minister also stressed the need for South-South and triangular cooperation in the area of trade and technological cooperation for benefitting the LDCs.

Referring to the “sharp decrease” in the incomes of the less-developed countries from the service sector during the pandemic, Momen recommended providing support to the LDCs in the area of digital infrastructure, in particular e-commerce.

He also called for the immediate implementation of all decisions of the ministerial meetings of the World Trade Organization (WTO) in favor of the LDCs, including the removal of non-tariff and different standards related barriers.