Rajshahi, 09 February 2023: Speakers at a workshop in Rajshahi has called for diversification of local industries and better utilization of local agricultural resources.

Simultaneously, they have called for improving the quality of vocational education and development of skilled workforce.

Support to Sustainable Graduation Project (SSGP) of the Economic Relations Division (ERD) organized the workshop styled ‘’Local Level Stakeholders Consultation on Inclusive, Smooth and Sustainable LDC Graduation’’ in collaboration with the district administration of Rajshahi.

ERD Secretary Ms. Sharifa Khan and Divisional Commissioner of Rajshahi Mr. GSM Jafarullah  attended the event as special guests.  Deputy Commissioner of Rajshahi Mr. Abdul Jalil chaired the workshop.

It is notable that Bangladesh met all the criteria for graduation from the LDC status during the triennial review of the Committee for Development Policy (CDP) of the United Nations back in 2018 and 2021. Consequently, CDP recommended Bangladesh for LDC graduation with a five year long preparatory period. The recommendation has been duly endorsed by the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC). Subsequently, United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) has taken note of Bangladesh’s graduation recommendation during its 76th session held in November 2021. The country is set to leave the list of LDCs by 2026 after enjoying a preparatory period of five years.

The Government of Bangladesh is attaching highest priority to ensure smooth and sustainable graduation with momentum. It has formed a National Committee on LDC Graduation (NCG), headed by the Principal Secretary to the Honorable Prime Minister, involving all the relevant Ministries and organizations from both public and private sectors. Seven thematic subcommittees have been formed under the guidance of the NCG to address various core issues related to graduation. It is recommended by the United Nations that a graduating LDC should prepare a national smooth transition strategy (STS) during the preparatory period in cooperation with the relevant stakeholders. The 9-member Subcommittee on STS led by the Secretary ERD and co-led by the Secretary of the Prime Minister’s Office is tasked with the formulation of the STS. ERD has undertaken a project called “Support to Sustainable Graduation Project (SSGP)” to identify the impacts of graduation, to provide necessary capacity-building supports and other necessary supports to the relevant ministries as well as to promulgate this historic achievement at home and abroad by producing various research papers and publications related to graduation.

In this context, ERD, with support from SSGP, has been organizing a series of workshops at the local level to sensitize the grassroot level stakeholders regarding the process and opportunities of LDC graduation as well as to discuss on how the local level stakeholders can be involved in the process of ensuring smooth and sustainable LDC graduation.

Speaking on the occasion, ERD Secretary Ms. Sharifa Khan called for turning the challenges of LDC graduation into opportunities.

Divisional Commissioner of Rajshahi Mr. GSM Jafarullah emphasized on making the best utilization of the five year long preparatory period for LDC graduation. He also called for preparing the country for the upcoming Fourth Industrial Revolution.

Deputy Commissioner of Rajshahi Mr. Abdul Jalil, in his speech, said that feedbacks coming from such local consultations would help in relevant policy formulation regarding LDC graduation.

Additional Secretary of ERD and the Project Director of SSGP Mr. Farid Aziz delivered the welcome remarks of the event. Mr. Aziz, in his welcome remarks, emphasized on sensitizing the local private sector representatives, especially the export-oriented industries about the opportunities to be created by LDC graduation of the country.

International Trade Expert of SSGP Mr. Nesar Ahmed delivered a presentation providing an overview of LDC Graduation process while Component Manager of SSGP and Joint Secretary Dr. Md. Rezaul Bashar Siddique delivered a presentation on ‘Measures undertaken for Sustainable Graduation’.

Speakers at the workshop highlighted on the process of LDC graduation as well as its impacts on Bangladesh. They emphasized on greater connectivity of Rajshahi with the rest of the country.

Eminent social worker Ms. Shahin Akter Rainy, Professor of the Department of Economics of University of Rajshahi M. Moazzem Hossain Khan and President of Rajshahi Press Club Mr. Saidur Rahman also spoke during the event.

Ms. Shahin Akter Rainy, in her speech, called for incentivizing women entrepreneurship for ensuring female empowerment.

Officials from ERD and SSGP, officials from the district administration as well as the representatives from the private sector and civil society participated in the workshop.