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New assistance measures for graduating Belt and Road Least Developed Countries toward the achievement of Agenda 2030

Around 12 least developed countries (LDC) are scheduled to leave the category in coming years, more than doubling the number which have left the category in the 47 years since it was formed. Many of these potential graduates are concerned about losing access to the international support measures (ISMs) provided by the international community. After graduation, in some cases after a transition period, countries stand to face reduced support or forego access to support measures in trade, official development assistance and other areas such as travel support and reduced budgetary contributions to the UN. The loss of these benefits disincentives graduating LDCs, most of which are along the Belt and Road, from leaving the category, a process which is not automatic but is ultimately the sovereign decision of governments. The drop-off in international support also risks stalling development progress after graduation. LDC graduation and assistance for LDCs are mentioned in ‘Transforming our world: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development’ approximately 44 times, particularly with a view to ‘leaving no-one behind’. Support for LDCs after they leave the category is an important way of helping these countries meet the SDGs by 2030. The project will work with the governments of Bangladesh, Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar, Nepal and Timor Leste, as well as international specialists and UN entities, to develop a set of proposals for post-graduation assistance. Some of these will be specific to the country concerned, and some generic – ie. applicable across the board. The proposals will partly aim at mitigating the potential impact of forfeiting existing ISMs – such as the loss of duty-free, quota-free market access under the European Everything But Arms Initiative – and will partly take the form of fresh measures to assist with the new development landscape following graduation, such as new infrastructure investment to support trade diversification. The key beneficiaries are thus the populations of these countries, totaling some 269 million people, intermediate through the Ministries of Planning, Trade, the Central Banks and private sector institutions. These will also be the prime entities involved with implementation in each country, alongside teams of national and international consultants overseen by UN DESA staff. The project will first result in a concrete list, for each country, of new proposed assistance mechanisms for the post-graduation landscape. Communications and advocacy measures built into the project will aim at incorporating these mechanisms into international processes such as the forthcoming new Programme of Action for LDCs to be launched after 2020, and ideally some of the measures will be adopted by donors and trading partners. They will also be incorporated into government planning. Secondly, beyond the development and publicity of these measures, the project will strengthen policy
frameworks and institutions for the adoption and use of selected assistance mechanisms in target countries. Analysis and recommendations will be developed and published in an in-depth analytical study. Subject to government priorities and ratification, they will be included in the government planning documents of target countries, supported by development partners, and implemented with a view to enhancing sustainable development in the post-graduation era. An anticipated secondary outcome will be to
incentivize the next graduating LDCs to leave the category, given new assurances of support.

Enhancing the capacity of governments and indigenous leaders to ensure social integration and inclusive development in selected countries in Africa and Asia

The project aims at enhancing the capacity of the target groups in selected countries in Africa and Asia to engage in constructive policy dialogues and/or participatory mechanisms with a view to develop strategies and initiatives to improve their well-being and economic and social status, including through the promotion of social integration and inclusive development. The formulation, implementation and evaluation of the project respond to the principles upheld in the UN Declaration on the Rights of indigenous Peoples and other related instruments, both international and regional. Thorough capacity building of both national and local governments and indigenous leaders, especially indigenous women and youth, the project aims to promote the participation of indigenous peoples in decision-making processes at national, regional and local levels, towards more inclusive development that is responsive to their needs and priorities. The project also intends to enhance the capacity of governments to develop policies, programmes and legislation that recognize and respect indigenous peoples’ development rights and priorities and that include their full and effective participation in national socio-economic development policies. This will advance greater cooperation, national cohesion, and improve relationships between indigenous peoples and governments while also reducing tensions and misconceptions. The project will establish new consultative mechanisms, and/or strengthen existing ones where applicable, such as participatory policy dialogues, between the government representatives and representatives of indigenous peoples utilizing mediation, consensus building, constructive dialogue, participatory and inclusive development planning. The ultimate beneficiaries of the project are the indigenous peoples in the countries participating in the project.

Enhancing national statistical capacity to measure, monitor, assess and report on progress on achieving post-2015 goals and targets for sustainable development

Recognizing the importance of high quality statistics and their effective use in promoting evidence-based socio-economic policies and achieving internationally and nationally agreed goals, the overall objective of the project is to strengthen national statistical systems in select developing countries in their capacity to measure, monitor, assess and report on progress on achieving post-2015 goals and targets for sustainable development. This will in turn improve availability to users, especially policy decision makers, of timely and reliable statistics that are policy relevant and meet the increasing demand for high quality information to ensure development goals at both the national and international levels are achieved.
The project will be delivered through a set of activities including desk studies of the countries’ current statistical capacity to monitor and report on these goals and targets, workshops and in-country technical assistance missions to increase awareness regarding the monitoring and reporting requirements of the SDGs and post-2015 goals and targets, to discuss priorities, to assess national capacities and gaps, to assist in the creation of implementation plans for monitoring and reporting and to build capacity for their implementation.
The project will provide assistance to national statistical offices in 6 pilot countries. The results will be shared on a regional level, allowing other countries to benefit from and to follow the experiences of the pilot counties. A Steering Committee composed of representatives of the participating statistical offices and co-operating agencies will guide the overall execution of the project.

Promoting Environmentally Sustainable Transport (EST) in Asia – Formulation of National EST Strategies vis-à-vis Capacity Building for Socio-economic Concerns

In the context of the Post-2015 Development Agenda and of the 2020 World Population and Housing Census Programme, the time is ripe to: (i) take stock of the current state of affairs regarding disability measurement from the point of view of those developing guidelines and also from the national perspective in terms of how data are collected, and (ii) to offer countries more practical guidance for collecting and utilizing quality and reliable statistics on persons with disabilities. For inclusive development leaving no one behind, the census is an ideal vehicle for data collection. As censuses embody total coverage of a country, they are a vital source of data that can be disaggregated by age, sex, geography, disability status, and socio-economic characteristics for comparative analysis of the situation of persons with and without disabilities in terms of equalization of opportunities. In this respect, country participation in the 2020 census round is very important. In the context of collecting adequate and relevant data for all inclusive development planning and monitoring taking into account the situation of persons with disabilities, it is equally important that countries also plan for and conduct more detailed studies mainly through sample surveys. 17. A review of experiences of countries in collecting data on disability through censuses and surveys will be necessary in order to identify good practices and also challenges that countries still face in this regard so that, if necessary revisions/updates can be done on existing international guidelines for disability measurement. Also in the context of reviewing past national experiences it will be important for UNSD to collect, collate and disseminate disability data that countries have collected during censuses of the 2010 round and also through recent sample household surveys and other nationally-representative data sources. 18. The project aims to enhance the capacity of national statistical offices to produce and disseminate good quality and fit-for-purpose statistics on disability for evidence-based policy making and monitoring. In so doing, this project will build on the work of the Washington Group, taking into account other initiatives on developing disability measurements.

Promotion of the 3Rs (Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle) in Asia and the Pacific Promotion of the 3Rs (Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle) in Asia and the Pacific

The main objective of the 3R process in Asia is to integrate 3Rs and resource efficiency in the overall policy, planning and development, by sensitizing the local and national governments, private sector, industry and business groups (including SMEs), and civil society, in order to contribute the Outcome of Rio+20 – The Future We Want, 3Rs and resource efficiency are promoted as the basis for sustainable waste management. The objectives of the proposed Project are more explicitly the following:
– To achieve a low carbon and resource efficient society in Asia by integrating 3Rs in overall policy, planning and development.
– To strengthen multilayer partnership for effective implementation of 3Rs as outlined in Ha Noi 3R Declaration (2013-2023).

Strengthening national capacities for assessing and implementing the Belt and Road initiative to accelerate the achievement of the SDGs in participating countries

The government of the People’s Republic of China has launched a far-reaching international development cooperation initiative in 2013 for jointly building the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st-Century Maritime Silk Road, or, the Belt and Road (B&R). The B&R presents the potential for promoting inclusive and sustainable development in the countries in South East Asia, South Asia, Central and Western Asia, Middle East and Africa, and Central and Eastern Europe, with positive spillovers to the rest of the world. The initiative is expected to enhance policy coordination, connectivity, trade, financial integration and people to people contacts, forging greater international economic integration and helping these countries implement the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and achieve the SDGs. To realize the huge potential of the Belt and Road requires substantial strengthening of the national capacities in those countries for stipulating various policy options under the Belt and Road initiative and assessing the effects on the achievement of the SDGs both within and across countries.
Development Policy and Analysis Division (DPAD) of the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UNDESA) has comparative advantages to lead the proposed multi-country project, to strengthen national capacities for policy analysis and facilitate policy dialogues among key stakeholders from the participating countries. DESA/DPAD will implement the project in partnership with the State Information Center (SIC), National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) of the People’s Republic of China and other policy research institutions in the target countries. At various stages of implementation, DPAD will partner with DSD, UNSD, FfDO and OESC in UNDESA. It will also collaborate with UN regional commissions (UNESCAP, UNESCWA, ECA and ECE), ITC, UNCTAD, UNDP, UNIDO and WTO. The project also aims at strengthening and deepening engagement and policy dialogues among policy-makers and experts from the participating countries, between these countries and other countries with shared interests, and between these countries and international organizations, including through existing platforms at the United Nations, such as the voluntary national presentations in the HLPF and the DCF.