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Last updated: 3rd April 2019

Remarks made by H.E. Dr. A K Abdul Momen, Hon’ble Foreign Minister of Bangladesh as the lead discussant at the Side event of BAPA+40 Conference on “Leveraging South-South and Triangular Cooperation to Advance Sustainable Development in Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing States” University of Buenos Aires Law School 21 March 2019

Hon’ble Ministers,

Ms. Fekitamoeloa Katoa ‘Utoikamanu, Under-Secretary-General and High Representative for the LDCs, LLDCs and SIDS,

Excellencies,

Distinguished Representatives of Institutions,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

 

Good afternoon

 

At the outset, I would like to thank the Governments of Argentina, China and Guinea and the UNOHRLLS and UNOSSC for organizing this event.

LDCs face serious development impediments such as low level of economic diversification, limited productive capacities and increased vulnerability to external shocks including negative impacts of climate change. Many of these impediments could be averted or removed if they had easy access to modern and new technologies.

Along with the lack of access to technology, the advent of the Fourth Industrial Revolution has caused more concern than hope in the LDCs. Artificial intelligence, big data, robotics and other technological innovations are likely to adversely impact their job market. Greater automation of every sector including agriculture and services sectorsmayshrink space in job markets for low-skilled people,and this may leadto unemployment and inequality in societies in the LDCs. It may also diminish the role of agriculture as an employment generating sector in these countries. Although highly skill-intensive service jobs such as ICT, computer systems design, finance and other business services have been growing, their share in overall employment remains low. Most of the LDCs are abundant with cheap labour and they are bearing the brunt of their incapacity to manage challenges and utilize the benefits of the 4IR.

The 2030 Agenda pledges to leave no-one behind in global efforts to eradicate poverty, reduce inequality and build a future of shared prosperity. Supporting the LDCs in the form of finance, technology and capacity building lies at the core of this Agenda. It is needless to say that LDCs need robust support from the international community to have technology on their side.

Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) can play a catalytic role for structural transformation and human and social development in the LDCs. Innovative technologies developed in the South are often relevant, cost-effective, and easily adaptable to the challenges the LDCs face. The BAPA+40 Conference provides an opportunity to share our thoughts on how to maximize the impact of South-South and Triangular Cooperation to support the LDCs.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

12 LDCs including Bangladesh are now at different stages of graduation. They have myriad challenges and vulnerabilities. Time has come to look into how the challenges and vulnerabilities of the graduated and the graduating countries could systematically be taken into the framework of the South-South Cooperation. To make graduation sustainable, these countries would need enhanced support in STI also. The Global South must come forward to help these countries in their transition period when they lose the benefits they used to enjoy as LDCs.

The Global South must reflect on how we can leverage South-South Cooperation to facilitate capacity building to cope up with the challenge of technological evolutions, how we can cooperate to build a new generation of workers and how we can cooperate to reform our education sector to address the concerns raised in the wake of the 4IR.

Many LDCs are among the most climate vulnerable countries and the implementation of the Paris Agreement is very important for their development efforts. Many developing countries have gathered unique knowledge and experiences by adopting sustainable, low greenhouse gas emission and climate resilient development pathways. Collaboration among the Global South has contributed to enhanced capacity of developing countries to further their climate actions, which also benefits global progress on sustainable development. LDCs can benefit significantly from the Southern solutions to address both climate change and multiple other development challenges.

For these to happen, we need institutional arrangements that would facilitate more South-South and Triangular Cooperation initiatives tailored for the LDCs.

The recently operationalized Technology Bank for the Least Developed Countries can be a good platform to bridge technology gaps in the LDCs through South-South and Triangular Cooperation. It will boost science, technology and innovation capacity of the LDCs for sustainable development, facilitate technology transfer and promote the integration of LDCs into the global knowledge-based economy. The establishment of the Technology Bank is a testimony to the vitality and strength of South-South and Triangular Cooperation in the global development landscape. While some southern countries have already contributed to this Bank, the active contribution of other developing countries is essential for the sustenance and operationalization of the Bank.

Many southern countries and emerging economies have successful technological solutions to many challenges other southern countries are facing. For example, Bangladesh has invented salinity-resilient rice varieties which would ensure food and nutrition security among many other benefits. Bangladesh also could achieve remarkable progress in improving public service delivery using ICT. Other countries also have similar remarkable achievements or solutions to development challenges. These need to be disseminated so that these can be replicated in the countries facing similar challenges. Keeping this in mind, Bangladesh is setting up a South-South Knowledge and Innovation Centre. This will provide a venue for interaction, and the establishment of networks between relevant stakeholders of the developing countries in order to promote cooperation in science, innovation and capacity-building, and to help facilitate development, transfer and dissemination of relevant technologies for sustainable development.  We need your active cooperation and support.

Thank you all.


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