Thank you, Heidi.
His Excellency Mr. Ville Kinnari
Her Excellency Ms. Suzi Carla Barbosa
Professor Jeffrey Sachs
Ambassador Perks Ligoya
USG Courtenay Rattray
Excellencies, Distinguished Participants
Good morning to you all from New York.
I am honoured to join you to speak on behalf of my fellow co-chair, Ambassador Bob Rae, and myself.
I was very keen to join the Forum in person, but due to some pressing engagements here, I could not do so. I have tried to follow the discussions online.
At the outset, I wish to thank and commend the Government of Finland for hosting the first LDC Future Forum. This was an invaluable contribution to our preparations for the LDC-5 Conference. [Thank you, Mr. Minister]
I thank Minister Kinnari and Minister Barbosa for their inspiring statements.
And it is always a pleasure to hear Prof. Sachs. And our Chair, Amb. Ligoya, is always inspiring; showing us the way. Thank you.
I congratulate USG Rattray and his excellent team for their tireless efforts to ensure a successful event. [Thank you, Courtenay]
I also thank and convey our deep appreciation to the distinguished participants, the scholars, academicians, and development practitioners for their important contributions.
Over the past two days, we have had very rich discussions; and heard many insightful presentations. A wide variety of thematic areas have been covered, which are all very pertinent to the next programme of action for the LDCs.
As we prepare for the next round of negotiations of the draft POA, the takeaways from this Forum will encourage us to be more ambitious.
Excellencies, Distinguished Participants,
The Future Forum is taking place for the first time. And it comes at a critical time. We are in the midst of an unprecedented crisis. The pandemic has created havoc in all spheres of our societies. Millions of people have been pushed into poverty and hunger. Inequalities both within and across societies are on the rise. The twin impacts of climate change and disasters have compounded the situation further.
The LDCs are bearing the heaviest brunt of these crises. Recovery efforts are grossly insufficient and uneven to say the least. Take vaccines for instance – only about 1.2% of the people in the LDCs have been vaccinated.
Even before the pandemic, the LDCs were the furthest behind. The 46 LDCs are home to 12% of the global population; but they account for less than 2% of the world’s GDP, and less than1% of global exports. The pandemic has exacerbated their pre-existing vulnerabilities and pushing them further behind.
The IPrOA has had some limited success. Since its adoption, 4 countries have graduated, and 16 others are in different stages of graduation. Yet the targets in all its priority areas remain unfulfilled. And we had heard how the pandemic is posing further challenges.
The 5th LDC Conference offers an opportunity to agree on a new transformative roadmap for the LDCs to overcome this crisis and build back better, and stronger.
Excellencies, Distinguished Participants,
As many of you are aware, the negotiations on the draft Doha Programme of Action are well underway. Ambassador Bob Rae and I are truly honoured to co-chair the Preparatory Committee of the LDC-5 Conference.
The group of LDCs under the leadership of Ambassador Ligoya has submitted an excellent draft. We have already had one round of consultations; and the PrepCom will meet for the second round on the revised draft next week, on the 13th and the 14th in New York.
The draft captures the hopes and aspirations of the LDCs, especially now in their efforts to build back better from the pandemic. It is expected to be a strong compact of partnership between the LDCs and their development partners and all other stakeholders.
The draft has identified some concrete deliverables for eradicating poverty, ensuring lifelong learning, facilitating trade and investment, and ensuring sustainable and irreversible graduation of the LDCs. And very importantly, it sets a target to address the vaccines crisis, by promoting and encouraging technology transfer to increase production and distribution capacities of vaccines in LDCs.
Negotiations so far have been very constructive, with all sides showing a genuine desire to have a transformative programme of action. We expect to conclude the negotiations on the Programme of Action positively by mid-December.
The proposals and recommendations from the academic papers and the rich discussions held during past two days are expected to complement our ongoing discussions in New York. This event is also likely to facilitate consensus building on critical issues of importance to LDCs.
Keeping this in mind, I wish to propose four specific recommendations:
First: I would request OHRLLS and other co-organizers to prepare a compendium of the specific policy recommendations coming out from the various analytical papers and share it with the member states and other stakeholders for their consideration, as those could serve as important inputs for their development strategies and practices.
Second: On a similar note, some of the innovative ideas and key deliverables from here could be shared with the Member States for their consideration for suitable reflection in the negotiating text; and to complement the elements contained in the draft programme of action.
Third: Create an online platform for the LDC Future Forum to engage the resource persons virtually on issues that are of importance to the LDCs, especially in the preparatory process, as well as in later stages.
Finally: Bring the Future Forum to Doha as a part of the programme of the LDC-5 Conference to be held in January 2022 in Doha.
I thank you all for your kind attention. And we look forward to remaining engaged with you all in the coming days.