New York- The LDCs attach high importance to this debate today as it provides an opportunity to exchange substantive views on full, timely and effective implementation of the Istanbul Programme of Action (IPOA) for the decade 2011-2020.
Statement by Mr. Shanker Das Bairagi, Charge d’Affairs, Permanent Mission of Nepal to the United Nations, on behalf of the Least Developed Countries on agenda item 22: “Groups of Countries in special situations” (a) follow-up to the Fourth United Nations Conference on the Least Developed Countries, New York, 17 October 2011
Ambassador Momen, Chairman of the Second Committee,
I have the honour to deliver this statement on behalf of the Group of the Least Developed Countries (LDCs). Our Group associates with the statement made by Argentina on behalf of the Group 77 and China. I thank the Secretary General for the presentation of the reports under this agenda item. I also thank the Under Secretary-General and High Representative for LDCs, LLDCs and SIDS, His Excellency Mr. Cheick Sidi Diarra for his comprehensive statement earlier today. We particularly commend Ambassador Diarra and his team for their active role and hard efforts that contributed to the success of the LDC IV in Istanbul earlier this year and for his continued support to the LDCs.
The LDCs attach high importance to this debate today as it provides an opportunity to exchange substantive views on full, timely and effective implementation of the Istanbul Programme of Action (IPOA) for the decade 2011-2020. Our deliberations must be informed by the lesson we have learnt in the course of implementation of the previous programmes of action that ‘business-as-usual’ approach cannot bring about much desired socio-economic transformation in the LDCs.
Structural constraints and multiple vulnerabilities continue to greatly hinder LDCs’ development efforts. The multiple yet mutually exacerbating economic and financial as well as food and fuel crises, combined with disproportionate impacts of climate change, have significantly eroded their development gains achieved over the years. Consequently, the LDCs are unlikely to meet important MDG targets by 2015, let alone the IADGs. Against this backdrop, the LDC-IV Conference has come up with the IPOA, identifying the LDCs as the most vulnerable group of countries while emphasizing the imperative need for continued and focused support to them with high priority. International support measures should be proportionate to their structural constraints and multiple vulnerabilities.
The report of the Secretary General has rightly pointed out that enhancing productive capacity, as a development multiplier, which is the main focus of the IPOA, is critical to the realization of the goals and targets in all eight priority areas. Our genuine aspiration is to graduate as early as possible and eliminate this category altogether. Productive capacity is inextricably linked to structural transformation in LDCs’ economies that will help ensure their effective and meaningful global integration.
Building critical mass of viable and competitive productive capacity of the LDCs across the board will require access to the development, acquisition, transfer and diffusion of technologies, particularly environmentally sound technologies and corresponding know-how. Towards this end, we call for the early implementation of the decision taken in the IPOA to undertake on a priority basis by 2013 a joint gap and capacity analysis with the aim of establishing a Technology Bank and Science, technology and Innovation (STI) supporting mechanism dedicated to the LDCs.
Building LDCs’ resilience is essential to withstand endogenous and exogenous shocks as well as other crises and challenges including the disproportionate impacts of climate change. In this context, the IPOA has underscored the dire need for additional, predictable and adequate financial and technical support for crisis mitigation and resilience and climate change adaptation and mitigation for the LDCs. We, therefore, call for the realization of immediate and direct access for LDCs to fast-start finance for adaptation as agreed at the UNFCCC and green technology at affordable cost; the full and timely coming into operation of the Green Climate Fund; and the promotion and facilitation of clean development mechanism projects in the LDCs. The LDCs have been disproportionately affected by the adverse impacts of climate change.
The LDCs emerging from conflicts face governance-related challenges. They require additional international support for strengthening governance, consolidating national ownership and leadership and institutional capacity, as well as for post-conflict economic recovery, reconstruction of infrastructure and rehabilitation of displaced people.
ODA remains the most important source of development financing in the LDCs, because the scope for mobilization of domestic resources is very low in view of limited economic opportunities sustained by low levels of income, savings and investment. We call for full and timely delivery of all ODA related commitments in transparent and predictable manner. The world economic and financial crises should not be used as a pretext to reduce the flow of resource to the LDCs, as it will further accentuate their already precarious situation. The year 2015 will be an important opportunity for the development partners to review their commitment with a view to enhancing their relative share and increasing the overall flow of resources to the LDCs.
We express serious concern that many LDCs still continue to struggle with a high debt burden. We stress that, as debt service takes up a sizable part of scarce resources of the LDCs, effective measures must be undertaken to fully cancel all bilateral and multilateral debts owned by the LDCs. As an interim measure their debt burden should be substantially lightened right away.
The LDCs have not been able to meaningfully benefit from the global trading system due to restrictive market entry conditions and supply-side constraints. Therefore, they must be ensured greater DFQF market access together with simplified, transparent, predictable and facilitating rules of origin, removal of all trade distorting measures and barriers, including subsidies and building supply-side capacity.
As there are no signs of an early conclusion of the Doha Development Round, the implementation of the “early-harvest provisions” incorporating the issues of LDCs including enhanced market access, agriculture and fisheries, outcome on cotton and services by 2011 will be instrumental to accelerate LDCs’ development efforts. This should be taken up as priority and we expect delivery on this as a matter of urgency. We call upon the development partners to significantly increase the share of assistance through Aid for Trade as agreed in the IPOA.
Attracting FDI in the LDCs will require both an enabling domestic environment and supportive external measures and incentives. We call upon the development partners to establish investment promotion regime to promote FDI in the LDCs.
It is equally important that international economic, financial and trading systems operate in a coherent, coordinated and consistent manner to be responsive to the special development needs of the LDCs. The LDCs’ enhanced voice and representation including their recognition by IFIs as a special category will be essential to promote equity and inclusiveness at the global level.
Full utilization of the ever growing potential of South-South cooperation, as a complement to but not a substitute for North-South cooperation, will significantly widen opportunities for LDCs’ development. We commend the increasing volume of assistance and financial flows, technology transfer, and duty-free, quota-free market access being provided by countries of the South to the LDCs. We welcome such initiatives and call for more substantive cooperation.
In the IPOA, the LDCs have committed to undertake 126 actions and the development partners 102 in its priority areas while 16 actions will be undertaken jointly. Needless to say, the LDCs alone cannot fulfill their commitments without meaningful international support measures. All the commitments and actions in the priority areas of the IPOA must, therefore, be undertaken, by all the relevant stakeholders, fully and timely, in a coherent, coordinated and holistic manner. Results will not be achieved without implementing the commitments in their entirety.
In this context, quantification and further development of goals and targets will ensure effective implementation of the IPOA and its follow up, monitoring and evaluation at all levels. The Development Cooperation Forum in 2012, Annual Ministerial Review in 2015, and a comprehensive mid-term review of the IPOA will provide important high-level occasions for reviewing progress and providing much needed political impetus to further strengthen global partnership for LDCs’ development. As the OHRLLS is mandated to support the effective follow-up and monitoring of the implementation of the IPOA, it is important that it is equipped with adequate resources, and its capacity is enhanced and strengthened.
Timely integration of IPOA is the first step towards its full and effective implementation. In this context, the LDCs, as primary stakeholders, should integrate the IPOA into their development policies and programmes. The development partners should integrate it into their development cooperation policies and framework. The organizations of the UN system, including the IFIs and WTO should mainstream it into their strategic plans and operational activities. All other relevant stakeholders should integrate the IPOA into their respective policy frameworks and operational activities. In this regard, we appreciate the development partners and the organizations of the UN system that have already integrated the IPOA. We call upon all others to integrate it as a matter of priority.
It is incumbent upon the international community to mainstream the priority agenda of the LDCs in the debates and outcomes of the major UN Conferences and Summits in the areas of economic, social and related fields. We attach utmost importance to the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20) to be held in Brazil next year and urge the member states to adequately address the special challenges and priorities and safeguard the interest of the LDCs in the context of sustainable development.
In conclusion, Mr. Chairman, the real success of the IPOA will be measured over a decade against its contribution to bring about qualitative change in the lives of almost a billion poor people living in the LDCs and its contribution to enabling the maximum number of the LDCs to meet the graduation criteria. We are fully committed ourselves to implementing the IPOA. We urge our development partners, UN agencies and other multilateral organizations, parliaments, the private sector, civil society and all other stakeholders to play their respective roles actively and effectively within the framework of a renewed and strengthened global partnership. That is the fundamental tenet of the IPOA.
I thank you.
-Shanker Das Bairagi
Charge d’Affairs, Permanent Mission of Nepal to the United Nations
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