Statement by H.E. Dr. A. K. Abdul Momen, Ambassador & Permanent Representative of Bangladesh at UN, on behalf of the Group of Least Developed Countries, at Second Committee on agenda item 24: Eradication of poverty and other development issues 13 October 2015
Thank you Mr. Chair, for giving me the floor.
I have the honor of delivering this statement on behalf of the Group of 48 Least Developed Countries. The LDCs align themselves with the intervention made by South Africa in its capacity as the Chair of the Group of 77 and China.
- At the outset, the LDCs would like to thank the Secretary-General for his report on the updates regarding the implementation of the Second United Nations Decade for the Eradication of Poverty. We appreciate the point that in this year’s report, the situation of poverty in LDCs has been mentioned, although not in a very detailed manner. We request the Secretary-General to present in his future report to this Committee, a detailed analysis of the trends in progress in addressing poverty both in absolute and relative terms, efforts made by LDCs in this respect, challenges encountered in achieving rapid progress and provide more concrete recommendations on how to address the challenges.
- Eradication of poverty must be the highest focus of the international community. Our leaders repeatedly committed to free the humanity from poverty and hunger on an urgent and priority basis. Less than three weeks ago, Members of UN adopted the historical Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development, where the first goal is to eradicate extreme poverty within next fifteen years, and “no one to be left behind”.
- We definitely have made progress in achieving the goal set by ourselves. However, the pace is too slow in many of the LDCs. We still have to cover long miles to reach the destination. As mentioned in the Secretary-General’s report, there has been considerable progress globally. However, the progress is uneven. LDCs, as a group, are far from the MDG targets. In sub-Saharan African LDCs, different programs for addressing the extreme poverty have not yielded any significant results. The number of people living in poverty in those countries reduced from 416.4 million in 2010 to 403.2 million in 2015 – only 13.2 million. According to the report of Secretary-General, the number of poor people in these countries is expected to further decrease to 334.6 million in 2030. This is of course a step forward; but if we see it from a larger perspective, we find that in 1990, the number of people living in extreme poverty in sub-Saharan Africa was 287.1 million. So, even if there is success in reducing poverty in sub-Saharan African LDCs, the stark reality is, in 2030 we will have close to 50 million more poor people living in poverty than we had in that region 40 years ago.
- You will agree with me that this cannot be the future that we want. To fulfill the promise that we made to our peoples, we need to change the way we address the issue of poverty. “Business as usual” and tall talk will not lead us to our cherished goal.
- The Istanbul Programme of Action for the LDCs provides clear roadmap for graduation of LDCs, which can make a great contribution to the eradication of poverty. One of the key priority of the IPoA is productive capacity building in LDCs. We have seen in the report by Secretary-General that the success story of Ethiopia in significantly reducing its poverty greatly relates to strengthening the agriculture sector, focusing on industrial sectors with high potentials, and foreign direct investment. These are some of the areas where LDCs need assistance from the international community in addressing the challenges of poverty.
- It is important to synchronize between the IPoA and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development to ensure synergy. There are special provisions for LDCs in the SDGs which need to be operationalized, especially in the income generating activities and the sectors set out in IPoA to address the issue of widening gap of poverty in some LDCs.
- The global community also needs to assist the LDCs urgently in the area of disaster risk reduction and rehabilitation programmes for LDCs whose infrastructures are being destroyed by natural disasters. These phenomenon of climate change is driving the LDC populations further into extreme poverty even for provision of basic services.
- There are of course immense opportunities as well. The positive impact of quality education and decent job creation for the significantly large youth population of the LDCs need to be realized by the international community. In view of the potential that this youth population has, technology transfer to LDCs will lead to strengthening their productive capacities, and industrialization in these vulnerable economies in a sustainable manner.
- The group of LDCs is of the view that in the area of poverty, the global priority should be guided by the following four key principles: First: we need to look at the percentage of people living in poverty and not only the absolute number; Second: Countries capacity to deal with the challenges by themselves; Third: The pace of progress in poverty reduction over the years; and Fourth: countries resource endowment.
- We recognize that LDCs also have their responsibilities spelt out in the IPoA for eradication of poverty. National governments of LDCs need to ensure that the development programs address the needs of their peoples, and will benefit the extreme poor people. Rural development plays an important role in eradicating poverty. However, we need to remember that with every passing year, more and more LDCs are becoming urban-oriented, and in the poverty eradication programs for LDCs, the issue of sustainable urban life must be taken into consideration.
- We must not forget that ending poverty and hunger globally will not be possible without achieving these goals in LDCs. Only through development of all and everyone, we can achieve the goals and targets of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. LDCs are ready and willing to do their part in the efforts to eradicate poverty.
- As we are aware that the World Bank has adjusted the poverty line at $1.90 a We would be willing to know some details from the secretariat about how this revision is going to affect the benchmark of poverty measurement in the United Nations.
- Allow me to flag a few points on the issue of women in development. We are thankful to the Secretary-General for providing us with the report, where it has been mentioned about the state of development, or lack of it, in terms of mainstreaming gender equality. Women are one of the most potential agents not only for eradication of poverty but also for achieving sustainable development. Strengthened and special attention is required for women empowerment in all of the cross-cutting sectors of the sustainable development.
- LDCs attach high importance to the vital role of women in development and we are committed to ensuring women’s political and economic participation in all spheres of life. It is true that globally there remain many constraints in ensuring that women get the equal opportunity in all sectors of life. The report highlights some of the somber statistics in this regard. However, LDCs are trying their best, in spite of their economic and institutional limitations, to mainstream women empowerment and gender equality. In many of the LDCs, national and local governments have started implementing gender-responsive budgets. Yet LDCs are aware that the international community needs to do much more to overcome the challenges faced by women in their development and decent social life.
- In this regard, LDCs remain committed to implement and fulfill the relevant goals and targets of the Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development, with support of the international community. Development of women, especially economic emancipation is a must to realize our commitment to eliminate all forms of violence and discrimination against women, and to establish rights of women.
- Finally, Mr. Chair, let me reassure you of the constructive engagement of the Group of Least Developed Countries in the discussion and works of this Committee on these issues that are crucial for our shared development. What we need is goodwill, commitment, and practical engagement by every stakeholder to reach our common aspiration.