Khulna, 25 May 2023: Speakers at a workshop in Khulna has called for export diversification to ensure smooth and sustainable LDC graduation of the country.

Simultaneously, they have called for necessary policy support to tap the fullest potentials of local shrimp, jute and tourism industries.

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 Khulna district administration as well as the Khulna Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

ERD Secretary Ms. Sharifa Khan graced the occasion as chief guest while Divisional Commissioner of Khulna Mr. Md. Zillur Rahman Chowdhury attended the event as special guests.  Deputy Commissioner of Khulna Mr. Khandaker Yasir Arefin 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 emphasized on cost minimization and productivity enhancement to prepare the local industries for increased competition after LDC graduation.

Divisional Commissioner of Khulna Mr. Md. Zillur Rahman Chowdhury identified skill enhancement as the major prerequisite for smooth and sustainable LDC graduation as well as for attaining developed country status by 2041.

Deputy Commissioner of Khulna Mr. Khandaker Yasir Arefin, in his speech, put enhanced emphasis on research and innovation as well as strengthening of institutional structures.

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 and the Role of Local Level Stakeholders’.

Khulna’s Superintendent of police Mr. Muhammad Mahbub Hasan also spoke during the occasion. Professor of Khulna University of Engineering and Technology Mr. Md. Mustafa Saroar, former Commander of the Khulna City Muktijoddha Command Council Professor Md. Alamgir Kabir and the President of Khulna Press Club Mr. S. M. Nazrul Islam spoke during the event as panelists. Senior Vice President of Khulna Chamber of Commerce and Industry Mr. Sharif Atiar Rahman also spoke during the event as designated discussant.

Local stakeholders emphasized on ensuring gas supply in the region, infrastructure development and tapping the full potentials of Mongla port.

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