For emerging and interconnected crises, old ideas won’t do
United Nations convenes world-renowned thinkers and policymakers to propose new solutions to unstick Least Developed Countries’ stubborn problems.
For immediate release
(Helsinki, Finland) At the frontlines of COVID, climate change and a growing crisis of debt, the Least Developed Countries are falling further behind the rest of the world and need to be supported with bold new ideas and a broad coalition to push them through. That’s the premise behind a gathering of eminent academics, thinkers, policymakers and development practitioners in Helsinki, Finland, designed to introduce new ideas into the global development conversation on the Least Developed Countries, or LDCs.
Taking place in Helsinki from October 5-7, the meeting convenes those with the potential to transform the global development agenda in the most vulnerable countries, including Professors Jeffrey Sachs and Joseph Stiglitz along with senior policy makers and practitioners from around the world.
"The world is reaching a breaking point. The rich are vaccinated, not just from COVID but also from the hardships of poverty. The Least Developed Countries remain vulnerable to both the pandemic and extreme poverty,” said Prof Jeffrey Sachs of the United Nations Sustainable Development Solutions Network and co-organiser of the LDC Future Forum. “The persistence of extreme poverty in a world of great wealth is unsustainable and unjust – and must be ended through a moral renewal and innovative thinking. This is why the LDC Future Forum is such an important opportunity: to instill a new moral framework based on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and to propose new solutions to end extreme poverty and deprivation by 2030, as called for by SDG 1.”
The Forum will introduce bold and innovative solutions to preparations for the Fifth United Nations Conference on LDCs (LDC5), taking place in Doha in January 2022. It will tackle the structural challenges and emerging issues faced by LDCs and introduce policy recommendations to support their development goals, build competitiveness and converge with more developed economies.
“The development progress of these countries – the most marginal and vulnerable on the planet – has been thrown off course,” said the High Representative for the Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing States, Courtenay Rattray, whose office is organising the meeting. “We cannot solve new problems with old thinking – which is why the LDC Future Forum is such an exciting platform for big thinkers to come together to hash out big solutions to some very big problems.”
The LDC Future Forum will tackle big questions and themes around issues such as:
- Poverty eradication (how do we stop the growing concentration of global poverty in LDCs?);
- Quality education and health care (how can we ensure LDCs are more prepared for the next major shock?);
- Emerging technologies (how to deliver access without adverse effects on employment and the environment?); and
- Climate (how can LDCs be supported to not only respond to climate change but flourish in its wake?).
Over one billion people live in the Least Developed countries – one in seven people in the world. Their societies are no strangers to turmoil and disruption and the action plan agreed in Doha is vital to ensure they don’t get left behind.
“While significant progress has been made by many LDCs towards achieving the sustainable development goals, we have to acknowledge that incremental change is no longer enough,” Finland’s Minister for Development Cooperation and Foreign Trade, Mr. Ville Skinnari said in support of the meeting. “What is needed is a transformational change, driven by innovation and strong private sector participation.”
With support from the Government of Finland, the Forum is being organised by the United Nations Office of the High Representative for the Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing States (UN-OHRLLS) in collaboration with the United Nations University World Institute for Development Economics Research (UNU-WIDER) and the Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN).
“Scientific research is an important tool in bringing better life to all citizens of the world,” said Prof Kunal Sen, Director of the United Nations University World Institute for Development Economics Research (UNU-WIDER). “Only through data-driven research will truly actionable and scalable solutions for sustainable development be found.”
For more information or to request an interview, please contact Conor O’Loughlin, Head of Advocacy & Outreach for the UN Office of the High Representative for the Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing States on firstname.lastname@example.org or +1 (917) 328-8316.
- The LDC Future Forum takes place online and in Helsinki, Finland from Oct 5-7. More information, including the full list of speakers and papers under discussion, as well as the livestream, can be found at un.org/ldc5.
- The LDCs are: Afghanistan; Angola; Bangladesh; Benin; Bhutan; Burkina Faso; Burundi; Cambodia; Central African Republic; Chad; Comoros; Democratic Republic of the Congo; Djibouti; Eritrea; Ethiopia; Gambia; Guinea; Guinea-Bissau; Haiti; Kiribati; Lao People’s Democratic Republic; Lesotho; Liberia; Madagascar; Malawi; Mali; Mauritania; Mozambique; Myanmar; Nepal; Niger; Rwanda; Sao Tome and Principe; Senegal; Sierra Leone; Solomon Islands; Somalia; South Sudan; Sudan; Timor-Leste; Togo; Tuvalu; Uganda; United Republic of Tanzania; Yemen and Zambia. Vanuatu graduated from the category in late 2020.
The Fifth United Nations Conference on the Least Developed Countries will take place in Doha, Qatar, from 23 to 27 January 2022. The conference will assess progress made towards the Istanbul Programme of Action by the LDCs and their development partners as well as mobilising additional international support for the LDCs. Organised by the Office of the High Representative for the Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing States, the conference is also expected to agree on a renewed partnership for development between the LDCs and their development partners and relevant stakeholders including the private sector and civil society. More information can be found at un.org/ldc5.