Finding concrete solutions for the Least Developed Countries
As preparations for the 5th United Nations Conference for the Least Developed Countries (LDC5) are well underway concrete and deliverable solutions are profoundly needed to overcome the challenges impeding the LDCs’ race towards sustainable development. This is why, representatives of 41 LDC nations and development partners came together for an Ambassadorial Retreat away from the negotiation rooms of the United Nations. During the 2-days retreat they discussed the proposals of experts from United Nations’ agencies for solutions to realise a common and ambitious vision.
The Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations, Ms. Amina Mohammed, also joined the meeting bringing encouraging words to inspire the negotiations of the new Programme of Action for the LDCs: “The upcoming LDC5 Conference offers an opportunity to emerge stronger from the devastating impacts of the pandemic, to regain lost ground on the Sustainable Development Goals, make important headway in the Decade for Action, and take big strides towards sustainable graduation”.
Private investment, blended finance and debt relief ideas were proposed to solve issues affecting agriculture, quality education, and sustainable social protection. Many concrete solutions and proposals were brought to the table to better support countries graduating from the status of Least Developed - including tangible examples from many countries.
Harnessing and expanding the potential of LDCs and their populations is key to realizing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. This can only be achieved through quality education and attention to surpassing the digital divide in developing countries. However, interventions in this matter cannot be limited to primary education. For this reason, one of the proposals discussed, included the creation of an online university with high academic excellence and national accreditation. This initiative is primarily dedicated to teaching STEM for citizens of LDCs and graduated countries. Development partners are invited to host the university and provide predictable financing to cover students’ tuition fees and expenses, including those related to access to internet and adequate technology.
Building the Least Developed Countries’ resilience to potential shocks and crises constitutes the first line of defense to protect their populations’ lives and livelihoods. Experts from the African Risk Capacity Insurance Limited, and ECLAC introduce elements of a resilience building mechanism. This mechanism aims at establishing new or revitalizing existing national, regional and global measures to save lives, limit economic loss, speed up response and bring predictability in crisis response.
None of the initiatives proposed can be realized without suitable finance support, including enhanced access to sources of financing and long-term sustainable finance. Initiatives to support access to differentiated sources of finance were proposed by experts from UNDESA and UNDP. Their proposals included the strengthening of regulatory and policy frameworks.
Moreover, Ms. Preeti Sinha (Executive Secretary of UNCDF) and Ms Laura Gabriela Jaitman (Special Representative to the UN of the World Bank) presented on blended finance projects that aim at leveraging additional, substantial and predictable finance to support development projects. More initiatives were also proposed to create an International investment Support Centre to provide access to investment facilities. Aid for Trade frameworks to enhance institutional and productive capacity were also presented.
The retreat was closed by Ms Alya Ahmed Saif Al-Thani, Permanent Representative of the State of Qatar (the LDC5 Conference Host Country), Ms Rabab Fatima, Permanent Representative of Bangladesh, Mr Robert Rae, Permanent Representative of Canada, and Mr Perks Ligoya, Permanent Representative of Malawi, and Mr. Courtenay Rattray, High Representative for the Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing States.