Good morning, Colleagues.
I thank Ambassador Philippe Kridelka and Ambassador Feridun Sinirlioğlu for convening today’s meeting.
With just a week to go for the first session of the Preparatory Committee of the LDC5 Conference, this is indeed very timely.
Preparations for the LDC5 Conference in January 2022 is going on in full swing, albeit some of the challenges created by the pandemic. The regional preparatory meetings have been somewhat affected. The African regional meeting was held in February and was very successful. The Asia-Pacific meeting scheduled to be held in Dhaka had to be delayed in the face of fresh, serious outbreaks in the region. We are trying to work the dates and modalities of that meeting.
In February, Amb. Bob Rae and I, had the honor to Chair a successful organizational session of the PrepCom. That meeting was very well attended. A number of other meetings have also taken place in preparation of the Conference. Many reports and analytical works have also been done. USG Fekita will update us with more details on those.
You will agree with us that this past year has only underscored the importance of the LDC5 Conference, and in setting an ambitious 10-year Programme of Action.
The Conference will provide an opportunity to take stock of where things stand, and what needs to be done to live up to our commitment to leaving no one behind – whether in relation to vaccine manufacturing and distribution, climate change mitigation and adaptation, improving trade and investment into LDCs or seizing the opportunities presented by modern technologies. We believe that this group, the Group of Friends of LDCs has a very important role to play in mobilizing the support needed now.
The First PrepCom meeting provides an excellent opportunity to discuss various key issues and explore the options for new policy measures and support initiatives for LDCs at all levels. We must make the best use of this opportunity.
To help ground our work, we will use our first PrepCom next week to hear from experts on a range of issues.
To guide us, we have divided the week into six thematic discussions:
- Investing in people;
- Leveraging the power of science, technology, and innovation;
- Structural transformation;
- Enhancing international trade;
- Supporting our climate and ensuring a resilient recovery from COVID-19; and,
- Mobilizing international solidarity, reinvigorated global partnerships
Our intention here is to reflect on many of the issues we know to be important to LDCs, development partners, UN system, MDBs and other stakeholders while being broad enough in scope to allow for new priorities and issues to come to the fore.
The other important part of the PrepCom will be providing Member States, agencies and other stakeholders a chance to express their views on what should be our priorities for the months to come. To that end, the last session of the prepcom will also give an opportunity to have focused discussions on the elements of the next programme of action.
Some of you will have provided initial input at the Organizational Session on February 8, but we hope to hear your further refined ideas next week in concrete terms, and to hear from more of you, especially our development partners.
Let me now hand over the floor to Ambassador Bob Ray.
I thank you all.