Allocate separate funds for post-MDG agenda – Bangladesh urges

Bangladesh has called upon rich nations to allocate a separate fund, along with their official development assistance (ODA), to help least developed countries focus on their post-2015 agenda.

Bangladesh officials pushed for the fund during a three-day “Asia workshop on global partnership for effective development cooperation: links to the post-2015 development agenda” at Sonargaon Hotel in Dhaka.

After two years, the deadline to meet the UN’s Millennium Development Goals will end. “So, the LDCs have to focus on the post-MDG agenda,” Finance Minister AMA Muhith said at the concluding session of the workshop yesterday.
From an economic perspective, Bangladesh will need 4-5 years to come out of the LDC status, and another three years to make preparations to become a middle-income country, Muhith said.

However, the minister said the country will not be deprived of the ODA when it graduates from the LDC status.
Around $130 billion worth of aid is generated worldwide a year, of which the US alone provides $30 billion, said Md Abul Kalam Azad, secretary to the Economic Relations Division under the finance ministry.
The workshop also came up with some recommendations from the Asia-Pacific region that call for deepening of the MDGs in the remaining two years to address a set of issues.

The issues include income and non-income inequalities, the need for quality education outcomes, youth unemployment, gender inequality and social exclusion, health and environment risks, governance, trade, technology and affordable medicines.

The workshop also stressed putting the ODA in a broader landscape for financing development priorities including MDGs and post-2015 development agenda.

Discussants at various sessions in the workshop called upon the emerging countries such as Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, to enhance their engagement in development financing and cooperation.
ERD officials said the workshop was important as it generated common standpoints from the Asian region on development cooperation ahead of the first global partnership ministerial meeting to be held in Mexico next year.
The workshop also made recommendations on three broad strategies at the country level and will actively seek regional cooperation in a practical and feasible way.

The ERD organised the event with support from the United Nations Development Programme in Bangladesh.
Government representatives from 26 countries in the Asia Pacific region, including Indonesia, South Korea, Cambodia, Laos, Nepal, Mongolia, Myanmar, Afghanistan, the Maldives, Fiji, Papua New Guinea and East Timor, took part in the programme.

Cabinet Secretary M Musharraf Hossain Bhuiyan, and ERD Additional Secretary Arastoo Khan were also present.