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Secretary-General António Guterres (centre left) with Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani (centre right), the Emir of Qatar and delegations arrive for the first plenary session of the Fifth Conference of Least Developed Countries (LDC5) taking place in Doha, Qatar from March 5 to 9.    --Photo United Nations

LDCs need urgent support: UN chief

Doha, Qatar: The United Nations Secretary-General, Mr António Guterres, has urged developed countries to honour their support commitments to least developed countries (LDCs), which are suffering from global upheavals, so that no one will be left behind.
“It is also high time that developed countries live up to their commitment to provide least developed countries with 0.15-0.20 percent of their Gross National Income for Official Development Assistance,” Mr Guterres said in his speech at the first plenary session of the LDC5 held in Doha on Sunday.
The LDC conference, which runs until March 9, brings heads of state and government, and representatives of 46 least developed countries, development partners, civil societies and the private sector to Doha to discuss implementation of the Doha Programme of Action, which aims to spur recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic and other global upheavals.
The Doha Programme of Action identifies five key deliverables that will assist least developed countries in removing a number of structural impediments to inclusive growth and sustainable development.
These include an Online University to enable students in LDCs to have international standard education, and Sustainable Graduation Support Facilities to ensure smooth transition and sustainable post-graduation development.
A Food Stockholding Mechanism aims to support the capacity of LDCs to address food crises, while an Investment Support Centre will focus on facilitating the inflow of foreign direct investment and resilience building mechanisms to support LDCs to cope with climate change and early warning systems.
A number of countries including Laos, Nepal and Bangladesh moved its LDC graduation timeframe 2026 after suffering economic setbacks including high inflation and mounting public debt and high employment. These countries are now working with the United Nations and relevant stakeholders to develop strategies to secure its smooth transition to a developing nation and beyond the graduation.
According to Mr Guterres, least developed countries are struggling due to a rising tide of crisis, uncertainty, climate chaos and deep global injustice. He also said these countries are unable to keep pace with lightning-speed technological changes.
To help the most vulnerable countries cope with the changing environment, the UN Secretary-General said LDCs need international support not just financial means but also capacity building, access to low finance and technology so that they will be in position to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals in 2030.
He also emphasised it is necessary to reform the global financial system to enable least developed countries to obtain loans at reasonable interest rates. In addition, it will be necessary to adopt new ways to measure countries’ economies, such as developing lending criteria that go beyond Gross Domestic Product. This would help provide a true view of the value of natural capital such as the preservation of forests, watersheds and marine resources, he added.


By Ekaphone Phouthonesy
(Latest Update March 7, 2023)

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