Date: November 22, 2021 Venue: InterContinental, Dhaka
The National Dialogue Concept
At the time of the celebration of the golden jubilee of the independence, Bangladesh has made an outstanding achievement receiving the final recommendation by the Committee for Development Policy of the United Nations (UN-CDP) on February 2021 to become graduated from the least developed country (LDC) category in 2026. The graduation will bring prestige improving brand image of the country in the global landscape. The country is expected to have more FDI, reduced cost of international borrowing, better credit rating, improved ability to pay back loans, opportunity to mobilise resources from international sovereign bonds and prospect to have capital flow for the private sector from the global financial market. However, the list of challenges is long if not overcome efficiently. The country will lose preferences and privileges of Generalised System of Preferences (GSP) by several countries provided duty-free quota-free (DFQF), LDC-specific special and differential treatment (S&DT), Trade Related Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) particularly pharmaceutical industry related waiver and Green Climate Fund (GCF).
2021-2026 is the preparatory period when the country should formulate a Smooth Transition Strategy (STS) to mitigate the challenges and ensure sustainable graduation. Formulation of an effective STS is very crucial for the country that requires economic sector-wise risk assessment, deep consultation with the bilateral and multilateral development and trading partners, UN system, private sectors, NGOs, CSOs and other stakeholders and engagement in international process, for example, UN-CDP, UNCTAD, COP, WTO and LDC5. The fact reveals that the government has already taken a number of initiatives such as formation of the National Committee on Graduation, six subcommittees on STS, Joint Task Team and Working Group. Furthermore, the Economic Relations Division has launched a project titled Support to Sustainable Graduation Project. It appears that the government is yet to have a comprehensive action plan to prepare an effective STS. Moreover, there are overlapping and vagueness on ToR of the created bodies and seemingly potential coordination is absent. Consultation and engagement with development partners and national and international stakeholders are also limited.
In this milieu, the Centre for Governance Studies is organising a day-long National Dialogue on LDC Graduation in InterContinental Dhaka on November 22, 2021 with an objective to facilitate the government, development partners, private sector, NGO, CSOs and academics to sit together, discuss and outline an action plan for smooth and sustainable transition from LDC. There will be three Round Tables on three different themes to facilitate discussion- Preparedness for Smooth and Sustainable LDC Graduation, LDC Graduation and Effective Development Cooperation and LDC Graduation: Opportunities and Challenges for Commerce and Trade.