At a Glance

Background

With a view to coordinating all the activities related to graduation in the country, it was decided during the second meeting of the National Task Force (NTF) on 15th April 2018 that ERD would undertake a project to identify the impacts of graduation as well as to promulgate this historic achievement at home and abroad by producing various research papers and publications related to graduation for brightening the image of the country. It was also decided that the project would provide necessary capacity building supports and other necessary supports to the relevant ministries. As per that decision, ERD has undertaken a project titled as “Support to Sustainable Graduation Project” to carry out the aforementioned activities as well as to provide secretarial support to the NTF. The estimated cost of the project is Tk. 13475 lac out of which Tk. 9010.40 lac is coming from the Japanese Debt Relief Grant AssistantCounterpart Fund (DRGA-CF) while the rest is funded by the Government of Bangladesh. This project has four components which have been highlighted below.

Project Components

Objectives

The major objectives of the project are to:

develop support mechanism for the National Task Force (NTF);

coordinate with all national and international stakeholders for designing a well-prepared transition strategy for smooth and sustainable graduation;

ensure effective monitoring and supervision of the implementation of graduation preparedness initiatives until the official graduation in 2024;

ensure the development of a smooth transition strategy for sustainable graduation;

close monitoring and evaluation of the graduation related direct and indirect data and developing a framework for regular assessment of the policy gaps for decision making or policy intervention, as appropriate;

enhance the capacity of relevant stakeholders, including GoB, CSOs, trade bodies to cope up with the challenges during and after graduation;

organize a wide range of campaign programs both at local and global level for graduating the mindset of the stakeholders and to sensitize them for creating an enabling environment for graduation with momentum;

enhance the negotiating capacity of the relevant stakeholders to sustain the International Support Measures (ISMs) significant to Bangladesh’s development trajectory and achieving the SDGs by 2030;

Design and develop knowledge products and tools, including socioeconomic forecasting model that help and sensitize policymakers in decision making and policy intervention.

Major Ongoing Tasks

The project is providing necessary support in organizing the meetings of the National Task Force, providing secretarial support to the NTF and assisting in following up the decisions taken during the NTF meetings.

Providing support in organizing the meetings of the Core Group formed for analyzing the impacts of graduation, providing secretarial support to the core group and assisting in following up the decisions taken during the core group meetings.

Coordinating with the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UN DESA) in preparing the ex-ante Impact Assessment on Bangladesh’s LDC Graduation.

Coordinating with the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) in preparing the Vulnerability Profile of Bangladesh.

Supported ERD in organizing a countrywide celebration on 11 January 2020 to commemorate the birth centenary of the Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. A range of events were organized in every single upazilla of the country along with a grand celebration at Dhaka’s Hatirjheel. The daylong celebration ended with simultaneous fireworks in all upazillas of the country.

A series of side events are being organized with support from the project during various international events to raise awareness about continuing the International Support Measures (ISMs) for the LDCs even after their graduation. Already a number of such side events have been organized during the High Level Political Forum in New York in July 2018, the ECOSOC Forum on Financing for Development (FfD) in New York in April 2019 as well as the 75th session of the UN ESCAP in Bangkok in May 2019.

Various training programs are being organized by the project to enhance the capacity of the relevant government officials and stakeholders regarding sustainable graduation.

Coordinated with the Geneva based think tank ‘South Center’ to conduct a research on the impact of LDC graduation on the pharmaceutical Industry of Bangladesh. The findings of workshop was shared during a daylong workshop organized in Dhaka jointly by the SSGP of ERD and the South Center on 9th February 2020.

A series of workshops or seminars are being organized by ERD with support from the project at the local level to raise awareness about sustainable graduation and to make the process inclusive.

SSGP recently organized a webinar in collaboration with the Ministry of Commerce on ‘Trade-related challenges of LDC graduation under changed circumstances due to COVID-19 pandemic: Way Forward’.

To sensitize the relevant high officials from the concerned ministries about sustainable graduation, two rounds of workshops on “SDGs and Sustainable LDC Graduation of Bangladesh” were organized by UNESCAP with support from the project during the third week of June 2019.

A series of communication and publicity materials are being prepared by the project to raise awareness at the national and international level about the country’s sustainable graduation and to ensure the participation of the common people in this process.

Future Steps

Regular monitoring and analysis of the graduation thresholds for initiating the required measures so that Bangladesh is able to meet the graduation criteria for the second consecutive time in March 2021.

Maintaining regular liaisons with CDP, UNCTAD, UNOHRLLS and other relevant international organizations relevant to the graduation.

Taking necessary steps for expediting the formulation of UNCTAD’s Vulnerability Profile and collecting opinions from various ministries/divisions/ agencies in this regard.

Conducting research works regarding the potential impacts of graduation on Bangladesh’s trade, including readymade garments industries, and foreign aid flows as well as the impacts of discontinuation of the TRIPS waivers and other facilities of the WTO.

Identifying some specific sectors based on the impact assessment of GED and carrying out necessary research works on the impact of graduation on those specific sectors with a view to formulating the required strategies for mitigating those impacts.

Commencing the formulation of the transition strategy through involving the relevant stakeholders.

Commencing negotiations with the development partners, trade partners and relevant international organizations regarding the continuation of International Support Measures (ISMS) after graduation.

Arranging training programs for the relevant stakeholders to enhance their capacity for addressing the post-graduation scenario.

Arranging workshops, seminars and Focused Group Discussions (FGDs), etc. at the national and International level to raise awareness about sustainable graduation among the relevant stakeholders.

Producing various publications, audio visuals, documentaries as well as other communication and advocacy materials regarding graduation to ensure a positive mindset about graduation among the general people.

Arranging regular meetings and providing secretarial support to the graduation related National Task Force and Core Group.

In addition, in light of the ongoing pandemic caused by the COVID19 and its potential socioeconomic impacts on the LDCs, the project is planning to assist ERD in the following initiatives:

Conducting a quick assessment of the economic impacts of COVID-19 in LDCs

Organizing campaigns for consensus building at LDC forum and pursuing with CDP, DESA, ECOSOC, OHRLLS in this regard

Pursuing bilateral/ multilateral DPs for suspending debt service obligation using the LDC platform

Sensitizing the LDC group platform for pleading to global community for health, food, economic and financial support

Raising a strong voice through the LDC platform for supplying vaccines to the most vulnerable population for free or at an affordable rate as soon as it is invented