STATEMENT ON BEHALF OF THE LEAST DEVELOPED COUNTRIES BY H.E. MR. MASUD BIN MOMEN, AMBASSADOR AND PERMANENT REPRESENTATIVE OF THE PEOPLE’S REPUBLIC OF BANGLADESH, CHAIR OF THE GLOBAL COORDINATION BUREAU OF THE LEAST DVELOPED COUNTRIES, AT THE GENERAL DEBATE OF THE SECOND COMMITTEE OF THE SEVENTY-FIRST SESSION OF THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY (NEW YORK, 3 OCTOBER 2016)
1. I have the honour to deliver this statement on behalf of forty-eight least developed countries. We align ourselves with the statement made by the Group of 77 and China.
2. The 71st session of the General Assembly assumes special significance as it marks the completion of a year of our adoption of the transformative 2030 Agenda. The theme of this year’s General Debate: “Sustainable Development Goals: A Universal Push to Transform our World” truly captures the need to translate our commitment demonstrated last year into real actions.
3. We recognize the importance of the work of the second committee in preparing the ground for the implementation of the 2030 Agenda. The deliberations and actions of this committee would play an important role in building tools to impact social, economic and environmental dimensions of sustainable development in a balanced and coordinated manner.
4. The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) have provided the humanity with a huge opportunity to fulfill peoples’ aspiration to eradicate poverty, hunger, illiteracy, diseases, environmental degradation and live in peace, prosperity and dignity. We vowed to leave no one behind in our pursuit for development. We will be able to truly transform the world through forging stronger and dedicated partnership and cooperation between the Developed and the Developing countries particularly the least developed countries.
5. The least developed countries have enormous potential to further the global economic growth and prosperity. However, multiple structural challenges such as narrow production and export bases, stagnant trade and investment flows, diminishing productivity growth, weak land and natural resource governance, and widespread poverty, hunger and malnutrition continue to obstruct the growth of these countries. These long-standing challenges are compounded by new and emerging challenges, such as climate change, increased incidences of natural disasters and public health emergencies, conflicts, declining commodity prices and rising capital outflows. The special needs of these countries for undertaking structural transformation must have a wider recognition.
6. We would also like to mention that the LDCs in conflict and post-conflict situations and those experiencing political instability, or unable to deliver basic State services, have specific structural challenges. They require context-specific approaches, including targeted national policies and international support measures to address these challenges and to support peacebuilding, State-building activities and sustainable development.
7. It was reassuring for us to see that our aspirations as well as concerns have been reflected in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the Addis Ababa Action Agenda, the Paris Agreement under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015–2030 with an acknowledgement that we deserve special attention. These global agendas have underlined the importance of strong synergy in the implementation of the recently adopted agendas and the Istanbul Programme of Action at all levels.
8. The onus of development lies primarily with us, the least developed countries. We have made significant progress towards achieving the objectives, goals and targets of Istanbul Programme of Action and Millennium Development Goals. We are encouraged to see that some least developed countries have already started preparation to implement the 2030 Agenda. There are visible efforts to align existing policies with the new global plan of action. We are fully aware that to address the existing and emerging challenges, we need to enhance national capacities for evidence-based and data-driven decision-making. We would have to bring in more policy and system-wide coherence and integration for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals and targets. While we are making utmost efforts to accelerate the pace of development in our countries, the international community must deliver on their commitments to provide us with all sorts of support crucial for our success. There must be serious efforts to revitalize and enhance the Global Partnership for Sustainable Development in LDCs focused in particular on the eradication of poverty and promotion of inclusive growth and the implementation of social protection systems. There must be participatory, cooperative and enabling environments at all levels to support the least developed countries.
8. Reducing vulnerability to climate change is a global challenge faced by all, in particular those living in poverty. We are looking forward to the speedy ratification of the Paris Agreement that calls for specific support measures for the most vulnerable LDCs. Efforts have to be strengthened for mobilization of adequate, and additional to official development assistance, resources required for its implementation. Our development partners have to come forward to operationalize fully and in a timely manner the Green Climate Fund, with the goals of mobilizing $100 billion per year by 2020. This would significantly contribute to the promotion and facilitation of clean development mechanism projects in the LDCs and addressing the needs of people
displaced as a result of extreme weather events. The LDCs must have easy access to all relevant climate change related funds.
9. International trade is an important determinant of global growth and development and there remains considerable untapped potential in LDCs to exploit the benefits of international trade. We are deeply concerned that the share of LDCs in global trade is decreasing. In 2015, the share of LDCs in world merchandise exports decreased to 0.97%. The continuous lack of progress on most of the issues of the Doha Development Agenda undermines the aspiration of LDCs to gain the development benefits of fair and equitable trading system. LDCs must have duty-free and quota-free market access on a lasting basis for all their products with a view to realizing the SDGs target of doubling the least developed countries’ share of global exports by 2020. Measures need to be undertaken to extend specific preferences to the services and service suppliers of least developed countries so that they could enhance their participation in services trade. The WTO Members must fully and faithfully implement all the LDC-specific provisions contained in the existing WTO Agreements, Ministerial Decisions and Declarations. We appreciate the Aid for Trade initiatives in trade-related capacity building and would want allocation of at least 50% of the Aid for Trade for the LDCs.
10. Official development assistance continues to be the largest and a critical source of external financing for the development of the least developed countries. It provides a buffer to weather the impacts of the unstable and volatile global economic environment. We welcome the decision by the European Union, which undertakes to reach the target of 0.20 per cent of official development assistance/gross national income to least developed countries within the time frame of the 2030 Agenda. We also welcome the provisions of the Addis Ababa Action Agenda that encourage our development partners to allocate at least 50 per cent of their official development assistance to least developed countries. These are some qualitative and quantitative changes in the decades-long target on official development assistance for the LDCs. We call upon all development partners to fulfil these targets. Also, a right balance has to be ensured in the allocation of official development assistance among various sectors with particular focus on productive sectors, including infrastructure, agriculture and information and communications technology vitally important for the development of the LDCs.
11. Considering migration as an enabler of development and recognizing the contribution of migrants and remittances in our economies, we strongly urge partner countries to start taking actions in line with the targets stipulated in the 2030 Agenda to facilitate orderly, safe, regular and responsible migration and mobility of people, including through the implementation of planned and well-managed migration policies.
12. There must be increased investment in the LDCs in infrastructure, energy, agriculture, information and communication technology and skill development of the
weaker section of the society with emphasis on youth and women. We look forward to a greater foreign direct investment in our countries as means to address productive capacity building and full and productive employment creation. There should be reinvigorated discussions on the implementation of the Investment Promotion Regime focusing on the LDCs pursuant to the Addis Ababa Action Agenda.
13. Science, technology and innovation can be effective tools bringing meaningful changes in the lives of our peoples. We are happy to see the progress made in establishing the Technology Bank. There must be bigger efforts to mobilize resources for its sustenance and effective operationalization.
14. The havocs caused by frequent disasters, climate change, and widespread break-out of diseases brings home the fact that building resilience against shocks and crises are equally important for long-term sustainability of our development. We therefore call for the timely establishment and operationalization of a crisis mitigation and resilience-building mechanism for the least developed countries as proposed in the 2030 Agenda and AAAA. The Political Declaration of the Mid Term Review of IPOA gives us necessary guidance in that direction.
15. We stress the importance of the deliberation and negotiation of the Quadrennial Comprehensive Policy Review (QCPR) resolution during this session. The QCPR is going to provide the United Nations Development System strategic guidance needed for the implementation of the 2030 Agenda. The effectiveness, efficiency, coherence and impact of the UN operational activities for development must be enhanced and strengthened to support the LDCs in their efforts to implement the 2030 Agenda and other globally agreed instruments.
16. The Second Committee is assigned to work on a host of issues. The diversity in agenda items provides us with the opportunity to address the complexities in development discourse. We, the least developed countries, have particular interest in the works of the Second Committee that play a crucial role in furthering attainment of our development objectives. We remain committed to constructively engage with all Member States in the Committee to push its agendas forward.