Foreign Minister Abdul Momen called for stronger policies and support measures for the LDCs and urged the global community for a new international support architecture for the LDCs and also for the graduating LDCs at the High-level opening session of the 4-day Asia-Pacific Regional Review Meeting, jointly convened yesterday by Bangladesh government, UN-OHRLLS and UN-ESCAP at the UN Headquarters in Geneva in preparation for the Fifth UN Conference on the Least Developed Countries (UNLDC-5) to be held in Qatar in January
Speaking at the event, Dr. Momen lauded the remarkable progress made by the majority of the LDCs of the Asia-Pacific region, 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 that has witnessed 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 high-level speakers 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 on this 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), Mr. Daren Tang, Director General of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), and Mr. Filippo Grandi, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees at their offices in Geneva today.
During his meeting with Dr. Tedros, Foreign Minister emphasized on the more effective role of WHO to ensure the availability, affordability, and equitable distribution of Covid-19 vaccines for the developing countries. Dr. Momen further highlighted the importance of temporary waiver of TRIPS obligations on the production of Covid-19 vaccines, medicines, and other medical equipment. He informed the DG of Bangladesh’s capacity to produce vaccines, therapeutics, diagnostics, and other medical equipment that would be crucial to fighting against the pandemic. Dr. Momen also briefed DG of WHO about the significant positive impact of the community clinics on public health, particularly maternal and neonatal health in Bangladesh, and sought the support of the WHO for establishing more such clinics. During the meeting, both Foreign Minister Momen and DG Dr. Tedros commended the personal initiatives of Saima Wazed, a Member of WHO’s Advisory Panel on Mental Health for bringing mental health and autism issues in the mainstream health sector.
During his meeting with the Director-General of UNHCR Mr. Philippo Grandi, Dr. Momen requested for UNHCR’s support to put pressure on Myanmar for sustainable repatriation of the Rohingyas from Bangladesh. DG Grandi again expressed the sincere appreciation of the UNHCR to the Government of Bangladesh, particularly to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, for her extraordinary humanitarian decision to provide the forcibly displaced Rohingyas shelter in Bangladesh.
During his meeting with Mr. 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 move forward some of its key priorities, including sustainable graduation and international support measures for graduation.