UN prioritizes least developed countries in plans, investments and actions |

“Inequality. Hunger. Poverty. Weak infrastructure. Competition for dwindling resources. Uncertainty and conflict.” General Secretary António Guterres worked out in your statement to the Fifth NRS (LDC5) Conference in the General Assembly Hall.

“The hopes, dreams, lives and livelihoods of one eighth of humanity rest between the pages of Doha Agenda for Action (DPoA),” he added, focusing on the “lifelines” he provides to help the short-term recovery of the LDCs, achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in the medium term and “grow and prosper” in the long term.

Redesign the global financial system

According to a senior UN official, developing countries need to invest in sectors that reduce poverty and increase resilience, such as job creation, social protection, food security, universal health care, quality education and digital connectivity.

However, he added that the LDCs are confronting a “morally bankrupt global financial system” created by the rich and powerful for their own benefit, which perpetuates inequality rather than promotes development.

“This has to change,” the UN chief supported, noting that the LDCs are demanding “urgent debt relief, restructuring and write-offs in some cases.”

He said they should be able to borrow at a low cost, be protected during a crisis and have more liquidity.

“And we need to create a fair tax system and fight illicit financial flows in order to reinvest some of the huge pockets of global wealth in the people and countries that need it most,” Mr. Guterres said.

Structural transformations

Mr. Guterres said that much of the economic growth of LDCs is in natural resources or extractive industries, which are highly volatile in the short term and vulnerable to fluctuations in commodity prices, market vagaries and the effects of climate change.

Moreover, they are hampered by poor education and training opportunities for workers, weak physical infrastructure, and lack of access to productivity-enhancing technologies, all exacerbated by COVID.

“LDCs need support for structural transformation – right now,” the UN chief said. “They need support to expand their participation in global value chains – right now.”

This means investing in a healthy, educated and skilled workforce to drive economic growth; modernization of infrastructure and transport networks; transforming extractive industries and creating greener jobs; and promoting “open and fair trade rules so that all countries can compete on equal terms,” he stressed.

climate action

While they did not cause the climate crisis, the LDCs are experiencing the worst of it.

The Secretary-General cited the latest report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which showed that mortality from floods, droughts and hurricanes in the most vulnerable countries and regions is 15 times higher.

“In highly vulnerable areas around the world, home to 3.6 billion people, more than 100 climate risks will become more severe. Some of them will be irreversible,” he said.

Turning promises into reality

LDCs need “strong technical and financial stimulus” for a just transition to renewable energy and green jobs, and “to build resilience to the impacts that are already hitting them,” continued Mr. Guterres, urging development banks to urgently work with governments to “develop and implement cost-effective projects”.

“We need 50 percent of climate finance to go towards adaptation and reform screening systems so vulnerable countries can access them,” he said. “And developed countries must meet their $100 billion developing country climate finance commitment this year.”

“Promises must be kept.”

Peace and security

Today, the world is facing the largest number of violent conflicts since 1945, with LDCs representing “the lion’s share of these hotspots,” the UN chief said.

“Peace and security cannot be achieved in the absence of development. Development cannot develop in the absence of peace and security,” he explained.

Nor can it exist in countries where historical injustice, inequality, and systemic oppression are perpetuated, or where basic services such as health, education, security, and justice are lacking.

“My proposed New Agenda for Peace calls on the global community to work as one…to address the roots of violent conflict by investing in development” and includes New social contract universal health coverage coverage; social protection; education and training; and inclusive institutions and justice systems accessible to all, said a senior UN official.

Oath of allegiance

He pledged that, within these life paths and the entire DPoA, LDCs can count on “the full commitment of the entire UN system.”

“We are proud to be on this journey with all of you as we keep the needs of the least developed countries where they need to be,” he said.

“The first one is in our plans. The first in our investments. And always the first in their actions.

About LDC5

LDC5 is being held in two phases: the first at the UN Headquarters in New York on March 17, 2022, which will consider the adoption of the Doha Agenda for Action.

The second part will take place in Doha from 5 to 9 March 2023, where world leaders will come together with civil society, the private sector, youth and others to develop new plans and partnerships to implement the DPA over the next decade.

© World Bank/Dominic Chavez

Young women learn how to sew shirts in Dhaka, Bangladesh.

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