H.E. Mr. Sultan bin Rashid Al_Khater, Undersecretary of the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, and H.E. Dr. Abul Kalam Abdul Momen, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh, chaired the proceedings of the fifth session titled: Structural transformation and resilient infrastructure for sustained economic growth, poverty alleviation, and decent work for all, convened within the framework of the high-level meeting on Asia-Pacific Regional Review on the Implementation of the Istanbul Program of Action in Preparation for the Fifth United Nations Conference on the Least Developed Countries for 2011-2020, held from August 30 to September 2, 2021.
The fifth session’s proceedings were co-chaired in person by H.E. the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Bangladesh, from the headquarters of the United Nations Office in Geneva. For his part, H.E. the Undersecretary of the Ministry of Commerce and Industry co-chaired the session virtually via video conferencing.
During his intervention at the beginning of the session, H.E. the Undersecretary of the Ministry of Commerce and Industry stressed the importance of focusing on sustainable structural transformation to support the growth of the green economy, especially given the increasing repercussions of climate change in various parts of the world, and its impact on the least developed countries (LDCs). H.E. Mr. Al Khater called for a discussion on the various prospects for enhancing sustainable development and structural transformation in LDCs, in light of technological development and green growth initiatives aimed at Rebuilding Better post-Covid-19 pandemic. Moreover, H.E. Mr. Al Khater stressed the need to ensure that strategies aimed at increasing trade exchange and developing productive capacities were oriented towards addressing the context-specific realities of LDCs.
For his part, the Bangladeshi Minister of Foreign Affairs called on the session’s speakers to highlight the issue of structural transformation as a key priority in the zero draft outcome document, which is currently under negotiation, and entails a range of important sub-topics, such as production capacities, private sector development, maintenance and development of infrastructure, and integration into global and regional value chains.
The session featured a number of interventions and presentations by H.E. Mr. Lyonpo Loknath Sharma, Minister for Economic Affairs of Bhutan; Ms. Isabelle Durant, Acting Secretary-General of UNCTAD; Mr. Jamie Leather, Chief of Transport Sector Group, Sustainable Development and Climate Change Department, Asian Development Bank; Ms. Andrea Della Mattea, President of Microsoft Asia Pacific; and Mr. Dominique Burgeon, Director of FAO Liaison Office with the United Nations in Geneva.
The interventions in the discussion session touched on three themes, including mechanisms to enable LDCs in the Asia Pacific region to fully capitalize on technological progress and regulatory best practices for improving infrastructure (physical transport and broadband) to meet the development challenges facing these countries.
Under the second theme, the role of Microsoft as a private company was highlighted in terms of promoting entrepreneurship, innovation, value addition, and bridging the digital divide in LDCs in the Asia-Pacific. The third theme addressed the national and international policies that should be adopted by LDCs to develop the agricultural sector, and to ensure that the said sector was a driver of growth and structural economic transformation.
It is worth noting that the Asia-Pacific Regional Review Meeting on the Implementation of the Istanbul Program in LDCs comes in preparation for the fifth United Nations Conference on the Least Developed Countries, which will be hosted by Qatar in January 2022. This meeting aims to make a comprehensive assessment of the implementation of the Istanbul Program in the Asia-Pacific LDCs, as well as to share best practices and lessons learned. This meeting also seeks to identify effective international and local policies in light of the outcome of the appraisal, in addition to discussing new and emerging challenges and opportunities and the means to address them.
Source: Ministry of Commerce and Industry